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Sold to a private collector at TEFAF Maastricht, the Netherlands
Pottery figure of a striding camel with foreign rider
Early Tang dynasty, 7th century
H. 30 1/4" (77 cm)
Courtesy of Priestley & Ferraro Chinese Art

This splendid figure of a striding camel with head raised and mouth open as if to roar is well matched in power by the diminutive but forceful figure of its foreign rider. With his hair swept back and features set in an expression of determination, the rider raises his right arm ready to strike a small drum by his side, perhaps to beat out the rhythm of the camel train as it progresses along the Silk Road.

Pottery camels with their riders were popular as funerary figures in China during the Tang dynasty, expressing the wealth and position of the deceased. It is rare to find an example embodying the spirit of the times with this degree of energy and artistry.

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