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HOME : Chinese Art : Archive : Han Terracotta Sculpture of a Horse
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Han Terracotta Sculpture of a Horse - H.505
Origin: China
Circa: 206 BC to 220 AD
Dimensions: 50" (127.0cm) high
Catalogue: V17
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Expressively modeled in a firm pose standing at attention with tail erect, this horse of the Han Dynasty depicts the power and grace of the new breed of horse from the west known as the "Heavenly Horse of China." This horse is tall and large, head bridled as if it were ready to engage in battle. It intimidates us with its open mouth, teeth showing, tongue sticking out and flared nostrils. This horse has a powerful rounded neck with hogged mane reaching up between the ears and head. Its torso, proportionately smaller than its chest and neck, is delicately sculptured, and its long legs appear to be mounted to block-like hooves. The exaggeration of the chest and neck area draw attention to the horse who is strenuously amassing energy to release a bellicose cry, while the shape of the hooves not only renders it a feeling of solidity, but indicates that it was created to maintain an upright position in the tomb of its master. During the reign of Emperor Wu, in order to improve the breed of horses in central China and strengthen the cavalry, the so-called "heavenly horse" was imported from the western region (present day Middle East). Most horse sculptures found in Han Dynasty tombs portray horses with great strength and vigor. It is no doubt this figurine embodies the same vitality and essence of yang, the male, positive principle of yin-yang. The way the horse is depicted speak of the great love the Chinese have for the mythology and form of the horse. This horse is an expression of that affection. - (H.505)


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