These three musicians illustrate the popularity not only of foreign dress during the Tang period, but of the taste for the music and instruments of Central Asia, particularly Sogdiana and Kucha, said to have been introduced to the court by the Turkic wife of Emperor Wudi (r. 561-78). Compare a group of dancers and musicians in the Royal Ontario Museum illustrated in Homage to Heaven, Homage to Earth, Toronto, 1992, p. 148, no. 85.
The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. C200d28 is consistent with the dating of this lot.