Equestrian

Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.)
Terra Cotta
13” h. 10” w. 4” d.

The horse is standing four-square on a platform. The rider is probably a polo player and could be an aristocratic lady. The figure is wearing a simple robe, with the bottom part of the attire looking more like part of a skirt than leggings. It also has the high upswept hair style of a court lady. She appears to be taking up a genteel resting pose between plays, with her hands folded underneath the sleeves. During Tang Dynasty, riding was the prerogative of the nobility. Polo was one of the favorite pastime of the noblemen as well as court ladies. An edict at that time actually prohibited merchants and artisans from riding. The horses use in the game were a cross between Arab steeds, which had been imported into China from the Han period, and Chinese horses. The red pigment on the terra cotta is stronger on the horse than on the human figure, probably because the two were separated during their time buried in the tomb and age differently.