A large glazed pottery horse
Tang dynasty, early 8th century, China
唐代, 8世紀早期, 中國
Length: 76 cm, Height: 66 cm - Length: 29.92 inches, Height: 25.98 inches
長: 76釐米, 高: 66釐米
Standing foursquare on its base, this well-proportioned and powerful horse is decorated in a bold combination of brown, green, yellow and clear glazes. The neck is strong and the head – with large eyes, open mouth and ears pricked forward – turns slightly to the left; the mane is striped and long, and the bridle is ornamented with green and yellow palmettes on the nose and cheeks. A long green-glazed saddle cloth – textured to imitate fur – is folded back on each side to reveal yellow lining, and elaborate trappings adorn the body: a chest strap decorated with ivory-tone tassels, and a harness with similar decoration to the bridle.
Because of the difficulty of controlling lead glazes – only a small number of horses with bi-colour manes exist. The strength portrayed through the overall modelling – together with the decorative trappings and the use of striking colours – result in a Tang horse of great presence and quality.
‘The Collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, Sotheby’s, London, 12th December 1989, lot 56; and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London – illustrted in Medley, 1976, figure 49, page 78 (single colour mane).