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HOME : Chinese Art : Masterpieces of Chinese Art : A Pair of Tang Dynasty Red and White Painted Pottery Prancing Horses
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A Pair of Tang Dynasty Red and White Painted Pottery Prancing Horses - DL.2084
Origin: Shaanxi Province, Xi'an
Circa: 618 AD to 907 AD

Collection: Chinese
Medium: Terracotta
Condition: Extra Fine

Location: UAE
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The great influence of the horse throughout the history of China cannot be over-estimated. In fact, the ancient unification of the Chinese Empire was due in large part to the horse. Their rapid mobility allowed for quick communication between far away provinces. Likewise, the military role of horses aided in the conquest and submission of distant lands. The need to import stronger, faster steeds from Central Asia (as opposed to the native Mongol pony) led to the creation of the Silk Road. The importance of the horse in the history and culture of China can be viewed, in part, through the artistic legacy of this great civilization. In sculpture, painting, and literature, horses were glorified and revered, believed to be relatives of dragons, a theory reflecting their sacred status within society. During the Tang Dynasty, the adoration of the horse can be seen through their burial art. Horse models excavated from mausoleums of the period are among the most splendid and easily recognizable works of Chinese art.

This gorgeous pair of horses still retain much of their original polychromy. The colours complement each other beautifully. The red horse has a white saddle, and it is likely that the white horse once had a red saddle which has since been lost. Both of these majestic creatures raise one leg on the air as they turn their heads to the side. Both of these features are eagerly sought after by collectors. These elegant sculptures are a testament to the admiration and adoration the Chinese had for these marvelous creatures. Although they were an integral part in the expansion and defense of the empire, they were equally regarded for their beauty and grace as revealed by these sculptures. - (DL.2084)


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