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HOME : Chinese Art : Tang Sancai-Glazed Works : Tang Sancai-Glazed Horse and Female Rider
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Tang Sancai-Glazed Horse and Female Rider - H.739
Origin: China
Circa: 618 AD to 906 AD
Dimensions: 16.25" (41.3cm) high
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Glazed Terracotta

Location: UAE
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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. Both the dress of the lady and the horse have been treated in a gorgeous Sancai-glaze. Although the word Sancai (literally meaning "three-colors") is widely known among collections, the production of Sancai-glazed wares is relatively scarce, spanning only two hundreds of the entire Chinese history. Such works are among the most highly prized examples of Chinese art, treasured as much for their rarity as their stunning beauty. This marvelous sculpture is no exception. We can imagine this lady prancing around on this horse, perhaps taking part in an important ceremony. The horse stands with his mouth partially open, another rare feature that collectors eagerly search out. 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. - (H.739)


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