Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Figure of a lady holding a bird

  • loan

Glossary (4)

earthenware, glaze, luted, slip

  • earthenware

    Ceramic material made of clay which is fired to a temperature of c.1000-1200⁰c. The resulting ceramic is non-vitreous and varies in colour from dark red to yellow.

  • glaze

    Vitreous coating applied to the surface of a ceramic to make it impermeable or for decorative effect.

  • luted

    The fusion of parts of ceramics using dilute clay slip.

  • slip

    A semi-fluid clay applied to a ceramic before glazing either to coat the surface or for decorative effect.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    The figure is composed of a Tang dynasty body with a modern replacement head. The head, which is that of a lady with rich coiffure, is overly large. The garments, shown with one sleeve undressed, to allow full freedom of movement for one arm, are male and are reminiscent of figures of falconers, and it is possible that the bird is meant to be a hunting bird rather than a pet. The shoes, however, are those of a lady, and the figure may represent a lady in male dress, an appearance well known from that period.

    The voluminous figure is dressed in rich robes, standing on a rounded plinth, both arms emerging from overlong sleeves which have been pushed back, one hand holding a small bird, the other a fruit. The elaborate green coat with over-long cuffs has white resist patches forming a floret and bright cobalt-blue borders and cuffs. It is held at the waist with a broad, thickly padded belt with impressed quatrefoil motifs. The front is folded open to reveal an voluminous amber-yellow lining. The right arm has been freed from its blue sleeve which hangs down at the side, showing a pale-yellowish-white jacket with short sleeves underneath, with deep blue borders and impressed flower motifs, perhaps indicating embroidery, and long amber-coloured sleeves underneath. A white skirt with mainly green splashes is loosely tied around the waist, forming rich folds, with one end hanging down, and the inside turned out at the front. The bent-up tips of green shoes are emerging from under the hem. The bird is glazed in green with an amber face, with feathers indicated by incising, the small fruit is yellowish-white. The pottery is of beige colour and covered with a white slip. The underside of the figure, which would originally have been hollow, is now closed and pierced with a hole.

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