Archaic and Imperial China


Object :
Nº 1627
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 30 cm (11.8’’) - Width: 50 cm (7.6’’)

Description :

Polo player on her horse’s back. The statue is moulded in a buff colour terracotta, covered with a slip and decorated with painting. The horse, in the act of jumping, presents a vigorous croup, flaring nostrils, bulging eyes, small pointed ears and a braided tail as was customary for horses owned by the nobility of the time. The woman wears a costume of barbarian origin composed of a tunic over pants and she has a chignon set high on her head in Uyghur fashion. The colours are bright and fresh and the horse is elongated in a formidable manner. Possible ancient repairs. Very fine condition.

Polo is believed to have originated in the beginning of our era in Central Asia. It was part of the entertainment at the Sassanid court and was also practiced on the Indian borders. In AD 630, the Tangs began their great expansion towards the west making Chang’an (Xian) on the Silk Road a cosmopolitan capital. The introduction of polo into China dates from this period. Under the Tang Dynasty, polo was a sport widely practiced by the aristocracy and notably women, despite its roughness.