An unglazed terracotta horse with raised neck and head, together with a seated foreign groom

Tang dynasty, 8th century AD, China
唐代, 8世紀, 中國

Horse: Height: 47 cm, 18 ½ inches; Length: 37 cm, 14½ inches - Groom: Height 20 cm, 8 inches; Length: 22.5 cm, 8 7/8 inches
馬高: 47 釐米, 長: 37 釐米 - 馬伕高: 20 釐米, 長: 22.5 釐米

The horse strides forward with a powerful well modelled body and legs, the muscular neck is fully raised and twisted to its left side, the head also raised vertically with eyes wide open and lips pealed back revealing its teeth, the tail bound short and extended horizontally. The grey terracotta is covered with a white slip upon which remains dark grey paint high lighting the mane, tail, hooves and eyes.

The groom, who is a bearded foreigner, is modelled seated on the ground while attempting to control his horse, with one leg extended, and the other leg bent and tucked into his body, and covered by his tunic. He has both arms extended; the fists are clenched around what would be the reins, as he attempts to control the excitable horse. The grey terracotta has remains of the original paint, with the flesh areas painted pink, the tunic green, and the boots, beard and cap dark grey.


TL test Oxford No C114j89 and C114j88.

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