T'ang Crème-Glazed Sculpture of a Horse - H.722
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Dimensions: 20.25" (51.4cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Style: T'ang Dynasty
Medium: Glazed Terracotta


Horses--they are the military preparedness of the state. If heaven takes this preparedness away, the state will be imperiled.
- From an Official History of the Tang

The great influence of the horse throughout the history of China cannot be underestimated. In fact, the expansion of the Chinese Empire was in large part due to the rapid mobility of horses, providing 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 native Mongol pony) led to the establishment of the Silk Road. The importance of the horse can be seen, in part, through the artistic legacy of this great civilization. In sculpture, painting, and literature, horses were glorified and revered, thought to be relatives of mythological dragons. During the T’ang Dynasty, the adoration of the horse was materialized in 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 saddle, 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. This elegant sculpture attests to both the revered status of the horse as well as the artistic skills of T’ang artists. - (H.722)



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