Horses

A pivotal moment in history, the domestication of the horse is considered to have been first achieved in the Eurasian steppes around 3500 BC and brought an essential benefit to ancient cultures in terms of transport and labour, but mostly due to the advantages in warfare. The development of the mounted archer was one of the most important developments in ancient warfare leading to some of the most successful warriors of ancient times who largely owed their success in battle to their proficiency with the horse. As it follows, the horse became an extremely important symbol of power and the desirability for a fine horse was such that their image was highly regarded. This reverence and centrality of the horse made it become an extremely popular subject for many ancient artefacts. As well as art that depicts horses, practical artefacts relating to riding were also objects of such great importance that they were often used as funerary artefacts. It is also not uncommon for remains of real horses to be found in tombs and in China, predominantly during the Tang and Ming dynasties, a highly developed form of ceramic equestrian tomb statuettes was developed that were enclosed with the deceased so that they could be of use in the afterlife.


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