Marbling, known as jiao tai in Chinese, became a popular decorative technique on ceramics of the Tang dynasty, and was applied to a number of different forms, including pillows, jars, cups, bowls, dishes and censers. The marbled appearance could be achieved either by combining clays of different colors when making the pillow, or by using two contrasting slips on the surface of the pillow. In either case the piece was afterwards covered with a transparent glaze, the most popular of which was amber, as seen on the present lot.
Two amber-glazed marbled pillows of this type and of similar size in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are illustrated in The Charles B. Hoyt Collection, vol. I, Boston, 1964, pls. 19 and 120.