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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Masterpieces : Sassanid Bronze Sculpture of a Horse
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Sassanid Bronze Sculpture of a Horse - FZ.357
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 400 AD to 700 AD
Dimensions: 3.625" (9.2cm) high
Collection: Near Eastern
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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The term Sassanid or Sassanian refers to the Persian dynasty (A.D. 224-651) and last line of Persian kings before the Arab conquest. The Sassanian era was marked by wars against Romans, Armenians, and Huns and by the revival of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion founded in the 6th Century B.C. This bronze horse reveals the fine craftsmanship of Sassanian artisans whose work rivals the quality of the finest Greek or Roman bronzes. All four legs of the horse are bent inwardly with their round, flaring hooves as it gallops away in a furry of movement. The body is well modeled complete with a thick, curving tail. The horse has been bridled and wears a thickly cushioned saddle on its back. The saddle blanket has been decorated with a cross- hatched pattern and lozenge-shaped saddle bags fall on either side. Perhaps the most attentive detail is the fact that none of the horse’s feet touch the ground. Frozen in full stride, the horse gallops and appears as if flying. This fact was forgotten until 1877 when photographer Eadweard Muybridge demonstrated through his stop-motion technique that when a horse runs, there is a moment when all of the animal's feet are off the ground, and that the feet are tucked beneath the animal at that moment. How much more impressive that the Sassanian artist responsible for this horse was aware of a detail we know only know through the creation of the camera. - (FZ.357)


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