Archaic and Imperial China
Wei / Six / Jin Dynasties (AD 220 ­- 589)


Object :
Nº 440bis
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 27.5 cm (10.8") – Length: 34 cm (13.3")

Description :

The horse is made of moulded terracotta covered with a brownish grey slip then decorated with polychromatic details. Standing with an attitude characteristic of the period, the animal looks solid on its legs although they are very thin, the head leaning, the trappings superbly detailed and the saddle richly decorated with two fins as mudguard on the sides. To be noted, the beauty of the head decorated with a crest and a crupper bearing cabochons made of trimmings, an habit of that time. Possible ancient repairs, but however good general state of preservation.

The heavily harnessed parade horse shows the preponderant place dedicated to the animal in ancient Chinese society. After the Han dynasty it evolved toward a sublimated image. The elegance of the silhouette became very important, the head stretching out, narrow and hooked with short ears. The back is arched with a sharp ridge. The tail and the hooves are nicely depicted. The Northern Wei unified the country from Mongolia to the central Chinese plains and reopened the Silk Road. This brought great prosperity to the country and the contact with Byzantine and Persian cultures permitted the introduction of Arab horses unknown until then.