A rare painted grey pottery figure of a kneeling Bactrian camel
Early Tang, late 6th century, China
初唐 6世紀晚期 中國
Length: 27.9 cm, 11 inches
The camel is heavily laden with a large pack tied on either side; a long cloth is folded over the projecting pack boards, and the pack is flanked by twists of cloth and suspended flasks. Shown in the process of either lowering itself to the ground or rising – the camel’s neck and head are turned slightly to the left, with the mouth partially open to expose its teeth. There are traces of red, black, white and ochre pigment, and deeply scored patches of hair on the head, neck, upper legs and humps.
Cf. an Eastern Wei dynasty camel, in similar naturalistic pose is illustrated in ‘Zhongguo Gudaishi Cankao Tulu: Sanguo Liang Ji Nanbeichao Shegi’ (A Pictorial Reference of Chinese Ancient History; Three Kingdoms, Two Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties), Shanghai, 1990, p. 184; another is illustrated in ‘Sekai toji zenshu’ vol. 8, Tokyo, 1955, p. 270, fig. 311. A Sui example is represented in ‘The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics I: Neolithic to Liao’, Hong Kong, 1993, no. 75 – and another, in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, is illustrated in the ‘Handbook of the Collection’, New York, 1993, p. 280.