Many tomb sculptures from the Tang period (618-906) are coated with the vibrant lead glazes known as three-color or sancai. The abundant use of a glaze colored with cobalt blue in the dress worn by this seated figure of a court lady holding cymbals helps to distinguish this piece as a luxurious example of Tang sancai. Imported to China from Iran, cobalt was expensive and used sparingly.
Both the high-waisted dress worn by this figure and her youthful charm typify sculptures of women produced during the late 7th century, as fuller figured beauties became popular in the early 8th. The two-tone decoration of her dress was fashionable in the second half of the 7th century. In this case, both the amber and the blue parts of the gown are decorated with various-sized spots of unglazed clay created by a resist process. There are traces of pigment on her face and hair.