A pair of sancai-glazed ceramic horses from China's Tang dynasty (AD 618-907) will provide the highlight of Sotheby's Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction, which will be held on September 17 in New York.
It is truly remarkable that the magnificent horses have survived the tests of time, each being well over 1,000 years old. An estimated sale price has not yet been given.
Sancai refers to a type of Chinese lead-glazed pottery that uses three intermingled colours for decoration. The polychrome effect is obtained by using copper (green), iron (brownish yellow) and manganese or cobalt (blue).
With the establishment of the Silk Road, the technique came to be used in Syrian, Cypriot and Italian pottery, as well as across Asia.
Also featuring in the sale is a rare celadon-grounded famille-rose vase bearing the Qianlong Emperor's (1711-1799) seal mark, which is expected to sell for between $500,000 and $800,000.
Also from the Qianlong Emperor, a renowned patron of the arts, is a jade screen with his inscription, which identifies it with the Hall of the Five Happiness' and Five Generations - a hall built to commemorate the emperor's first great-great grandson in 1784, the fifth generation to live under his roof.
In June, an impressive zitan wood cabinet that was once part of the Qianlong emperor's collection set the world record for Chinese furniture at $15.2m.
Elsewhere, a rare gilt-bronze statue of Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist bodhisattva that embodies the compassion of all Buddhists, will sell with a $100,000-150,000 estimate. It dates to the 12th century.
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