Collecting Masterpieces
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Archaic and Imperial Chinat
HORSE ON A TERRACE
Tang Dynasty (AD 618 ­- 906)

 

Object :
Nº 679
Medium :
Terracotta
Dimensions :
Height: 41 cm (16.1") - Length: 48 cm (18.8")

Horse moulded in dark beige clay covered with an ivory slip showing remains of painted colour around the saddle. The collected horse is at a halt, a posture favoured by the excellent Tang potters of that time. Beyond the apparent stasis we perceive a real naturalistic attention to volumes, assuming a good knowledge of thoroughbreds. The legs are attached to the terrace. Visible crack from firing in the rump, not restored. Good state of preservation.

The victorious military campaigns of the Tang would not have been achieved without the help of horses. It is thanks to the large number of horses they acquired that the Tang people were able to secure supremacy in their territories. From the beginning of the 7th century horses were systematically bred, resulting in the number of imperial studs counting over 700,000 in 650 AD. In 727 AD a horse market was established in Yinchuan at the edge of the Yellow River, permitting to Turkish merchants to trade their animals for silk and weapons of wrought iron.