The chunky body, movement, and style of the horse characterizes Sui dynasty representations of the horse. There is a tendency toward naturalistic portrayals of the horse's structure and pose. The mane, ears, and face are moulded in detail--even the muscular striations in the face are shown. The horse leans backward with rounded hindquarters and hind legs slightly bent. The lady rider is gently modelled holding reins in hand and extending legs into the foot harness. Her delicate facial features and the soft lines in her body and clothing indicate her privileged position among the elite of society. Both figures are moulded from one piece and are covered with "straw colored" glaze--the horse bearing traces of pigmentation in the hooves. The Sui and Tang era was one of enlightened religious tolerance, expanded foreign trade, peaceful political rule, and curiosity about and exchange of ideas with peoples beyond China's own borders. In this context, Chinese art and culture were receptive to change and innovation, which brought the already well-established foundations of their civilization to new levels of refinement and sophistication. The changes of sculptural form and style evident in this piece which was designed to fulfill a purpose in the ancient Chinese burial practice convey the dynamism of this persevering tradition.