A Dingyao group of a boy leading a mule

北宋早期   定窯黑白釉兒童牽驢俑

The mule, with long ears pricked forwards and large eyes gazing down, stands four square on the right side of an almost square base with straight-cut vertical sides. The coat, including the mane and tail, is applied with a glossy dark-brown glaze, pooling in the recesses of the incised detailing. A saddle, glazed in greenish-blue tinted white, is thrown over the back of the animal, with detailing suggesting fur, and with simple toe-loops. The boy stands with the right leg forward, as if urging on his charge, holding a strap attached to a simple bridle. He wears a white-glazed short coat with a brown purse suspended from the belt. His face has crisply incised features, with the eyes picked out in brown, beneath a fringe of hair, also in brown. The brown and white glazed extend onto the top of the base, leaving the sides and underside unglazed , showing the fine-grained pale grey stoneware body. 

Priestley and Ferraro, 'Song Ceramics and Works of Art', November 2010,  no.13 

This rare figural group relates closely to a Dingyao brown-and-white glazed palanquin excavated from the "underground palace" of the Jingzhi Temple built in 977 in Ding County along with numerous other high-quality Ding wares and objects in other media. This find, in 1969, is of exceptional importance, not only for the quality of the pieces but for the certainty of the dating. For a detailed description of the find, see Treasures from the Underground Palaces - Excavated Treasures from Northern Song Pagodas, Dingzhou, Hebei Province, China where the palanquin is illustrated as no. 77. The current figural group shows several points of comparison: the style of incised work, the unglazed steep sides to the base, and the use of the similarly glossy dark-brown glazed to pick out particular features.



Dimensions: Height: 13cm, 5 ⅛ inches

Date: Early Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), 10th century

Stock No. 1676

Price: On Request