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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Horse and Riders : Tang Polychrome Horse with Fat Lady
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Tang Polychrome Horse with Fat Lady - CK.0312
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 907 AD

Collection: Chinese Art
Medium: Terracotta


Location: UAE
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Description
During the Tang Dynasty, horses were revered, considered relatives of the mythical dragon. This veneration was well earned, for the speed and stamina of these majestic animals ensured the protection of the northern borders against barbarian invaders as well as enhancing communication capabilities between far away provinces, thereby aiding in the expansion of the empire. The need to import horses from Central Asia influenced the creation of the Silk Road. Thus, they were also prized for their rarity. Naturally then, horses became a status symbol for the aristocratic elite. Polo and other equestrian pastimes became popular. This sculpture, depicting a lady-in- waiting riding on the back of a horse, reveals this connection between nobility and the horse. A striking amount of the original polychrome still remains intact. We can imagine this lady prancing around on this horse, perhaps taking part in an important ceremony. Discovered buried inside a tomb, this work was supposed to accompany the deceased throughout the afterlife. The striking beauty of this work is even more impressive, considering that it was created specifically for interment and was not supposed to be seen by the living. Today, we marvel in the beauty of this sculpture as much as its tremendous history and intriguing legacy. - (CK.0312)

 

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