TANG DYNASTY HORSE
Measurements: 39 cm - height
Description: The hollow moulded terracotta Tang horse. The horse is modelled in active pose with arched neck, mouth agape and ears pricked. The musculature well defined to the neck, as the horse turns it's head, chest and legs. One leg is raised, as though the horse is prancing. The majority of white slip remains, with additional pigments, such as red and black, used to pick out details of the features, such as the trappings, the alert pupils, the blanket and the mane. Red and yellow pigment has also been used to decorate the saddle and blanket. The tail is shown docked and bound, the horse is placed on a square base.
Horses were important during the Tang 'golden age' and were both the reward of successful military expeditions and the foundation of imperial stability. Horses were also a sign of wealth: with strict laws in place limiting the use of horses to people of a certain rank and even those serving in the military had to provide their own mount. The different colours of horses also appear to have been of particular importance to the Tang emperors, whose favourite horses are described by their colouration. The Tang Emperors Taizong and Xuanzong both commemorated their horses through artistic depiction, with the specific colouring of the horse of vital importance.
Period: Tang Dynasty, 618 – 906 AD
Condition: Very fine.