Chinese statuette of a horse


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ITEMStatuette of a horse
CULTUREChinese, Tang Dynasty
PERIOD618 – 907 A.D
DIMENSIONS560 mm x 530 mm x 200 mm
CONDITIONGood condition. Includes Thermoluminescence test by Laboratory Kotalla (Reference 02PR101220)
PROVENANCEEx Belgian private collection (2022), Ex English art gallery, Ex English private collection, D.R, acquired in 1990s

The Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from 618 to 907 AD, is often regarded as one of the most glorious periods in Chinese history, characterized by political stability, economic prosperity, and remarkable cultural achievements. Established by the Li family, the dynasty saw significant advancements in various fields, including poetry, painting, calligraphy, and technology. The Tang Dynasty was renowned for its cosmopolitanism, with influences from Central Asia, India, and the Middle East contributing to its vibrant cultural landscape. Under Tang rule, China experienced a golden age of literature and art, with figures like Li Bai and Du Fu flourishing in poetry and artists such as Wu Daozi making significant contributions to painting.

During the Tang Dynasty, the tradition of producing horse statuettes continued, reflecting the enduring significance of horses in Chinese society. These horse statuettes, often referred to as Minqi horse sculptures, maintained the artistic excellence established in earlier periods and further developed under Tang patronage. Crafted from various materials such as ceramic, metal, and stone, these sculptures depicted horses in various poses, showcasing their strength, elegance, and vitality. Some statuettes also featured intricate details such as ornamental trappings and saddlery, highlighting the craftsmanship of Tang artisans.

The Tang Dynasty’s Minqi horse statuettes not only served as decorative items but also held symbolic and cultural significance. Horses were not only essential for transportation and warfare but also symbolized wealth, power, and prestige. Therefore, these sculptures often adorned the tombs of the elite as burial goods, reflecting beliefs in the afterlife and serving as expressions of social status.