Tang Dynasty Horse

£ 4,250.00

An elegant Chinese Tang Dynasty hollow-moulded terracotta horse. The horse is modelled in active pose with arched neck, mouth agape and ears pricked. The musculature is well defined on the neck, as the horse turns its 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 squared base.

Date: Circa 618–906 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
Provenance: From the Beaven Equestrian Collection, 1980-200, exhibited at The Silk Road exhibition181, Piccadilly, London, December 2001.
Condition: Extremely fine, with original pigmentation visible to the surface.


Product Code: CS-09
Category: Tags: , , ,

Horses were important during the Tang ‘golden age’ and were both the reward of successful military expeditions and the foundation of imperial stability. Brought to China by means of the international Silk Road trade network, 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 depictions, with the specific colouring of the horse of vital importance. Prominent painters of the period, such as Han Gan, specialised in painting horses and thus, they appear as a popular artistic motif of the period.

To discover more about Tang tomb figurines, please visit our relevant post: Chinese Tang Dynasty: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Dimensions H 39 cm



East Asia (Far East)

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