This pair of vintage Chinese ceramic bird bookends from the 1940s is made in the style of Tang dynasty san chai or san cai (three color) ceramics, with green, yellow-brown, and white glazes. The birds are two raptors with curved beaks and powerful talons. The head and chest of each bird are primarily treated with the yellow-brown glaze; eyes, beaks, and talons with the white glaze; and the back and wings with all three colors. The bases are unglazed.
There are no inscriptions or seals on the base. There are no cracks or broken parts on the birds, but there are some imperfections in the glaze and, up close, one can see some small white specks on the glaze. These specks appear to be particles of clay dust trapped on the surface of the glaze. Some can be felt; most cannot. The two bird figures are hollow inside with holes in the bases of the figures. We think the figurines had been buried because the figures and base were caked inside and out with reddish clay. There are still some traces of clay on the figures.
The lighter brown bird with green scales on its legs is approximately 9.5" H x 8.0” L x 5.5" W. The base is about 5.5” W x 6.25” L x 0.5” H. Weight = 2.94 lb. The darker brown bird with white scales on its legs is approximately 9.0" H x 8.0” L x 5.5" W. The base is about 5.75” W x 6.5” L x 0.5” H. Weight = 2.95 lb.