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T'ang Cream-Glazed Sculpture of a Horse - H.696
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Dimensions: 19" (48.3cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Style: T'ang Dynasty
Medium: Terracotta

*CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE*

The great influence of the horse throughout the history of China cannot be underestimated. In fact, the ancient expansion of the Chinese Empire was due in large part to the horse. The rapid mobility of horse allowed for quick communication between far away provinces. Likewise, the military role of horses aided in the conquest and submission of distant lands. The need to import stronger, faster steeds from Central Asia (as opposed to the local Mongol pony) led to the creation of the Silk Road. The importance of the horse in the history and culture of China can be viewed, in part, through the artistic legacy of this great civilization. In sculpture, painting, and literature, horses were glorified and revered. Horses were believed to be related to mythological dragons, reflecting their sacred status within society. During the T’ang Dynasty, the adoration of the horse can be seen through their burial art. Horse models excavated from mausoleums of the period are among the most splendid and easily recognizable works of Chinese art. This elegant horse is a perfect example of the mastery of T’ang funerary art. Coated in a simplistic yet stunning crème/white glaze, with touches of amber highlighting the head and hooves, this horse stands on all fours with its head slightly turned and mouth ajar, two features highly desired by collectors. The refined molding of this sculpture captures the power and grace of this majestic creature, specifically noted in the musculature of his chest and face. This elegant sculpture attests both the revered status of the horse as well as the artistic skills of T’ang artists. - (H.696)

 

 

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