RARE NORTHERN WEI HORSE
Horse in orangey terra-cotta with amber covering obtained from ferrous powders. The horse is represented with its armour, made of a composition of rhinoceros leather cut in small rectangles stitched together. The saddle is characteristic of the time: set on the armour but not attached to the horse, and still made of wood. This style of representation is called Xianbei. Excellent state of preservation. Possible small ancient repairs.
This rare horse with a thick amber-covered glaze is caparisoned with armour to protect it in war. This one consists of several small leather rectangles sewn together, bearing in mind that rhinoceros leather was preferred, being light and very solid. The saddle is characteristic of the era, made of wood, placed over the armour and not attached to the horse, which seems dressed in a protective coat. This representation is that of the Xianbei, from the name of a proto-Mongol tribe from the upper Amur. The horse is static, the face stylised, and the legs not very detailed. Compared to pieces from the preceding Han period, it seems archaic, looking like a toy. However, it also has a primitive force particular to objects of the Northern nomads, and this quite naive looking depiction dates from before the capital’s shift to Luoyang in 493.