Tang sancai wares were northern wares made using white and buff-firing secondary kaolins and fireclays (Wood 1999) at kiln sites that include Tongchuan in Shaanxi, Neiqui county in Hebei and Gongxian in Henan (Wood 1999). The clays used for burial wares were similar to those used by Tang potters for the bodies of high-fired whitewares, but the burial wares were fired at a lower temperature than contemporaneous whitewares. Burial wares, such as the well-known representations of camels and horses, were cast in sections, in moulds, the parts being luted together with a clay slip. In some cases, a degree of individuality was imparted to the assembled figurines by hand-carving.
Sancai means three-colours. However, the colours of the glazes used to decorate the sancai wares of the Tang dynasty were not limited to three in number. In the West, Tang sancai wares were sometimes referred to as egg-and-spinach by dealers, not without reason, for three of the colours commonly used in its decoration were green, yellow and white (though the latter two colours might more properly be described as amber and off-white or cream).