Dancing Maiden
Tang dynasty, China
Painted pottery with gilding, 8c

This lovely figure of a beautiful woman is vividly decorated with white slip on white clay, carefully applied polychrome, gold pigment, and cut leaf gold. The Emperor Xuanzong had a dream in which he played with the immortals in the palace of the moon, watching moon maidens dance beneath a gui tree (J: katsura) which is thought to grow on the moon. He then had this tale made into a dance tune. This vividly polychromed beauty with her fluttering drapery is clearly a rendition of a dancing maiden performing the Nichang-yuyi of the Moon Palace.