Sancai horse and rider
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- Ming Dynasty, 16th - 17th century
- Sancai glazed pottery
- 29 cm
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Seated on a green glazed saddle, the rider holds the reins with his right hand, the left hand hidden in his robe. The brown glazed horse is standing four square on a rectangular base, with his head lifted in an energetic and strong pose, with an open mouth and eyes, his tail to the right. Beneath the saddle is a decorated and patterned saddle blanket with frills on both sides. The rider is wearing a green glazed dress, the same color as the bridle and the saddle. His high hat and head are painted with cold pigments.
Horses have long been a symbol of status, power and wealth in ancient China, reflecting the high rank and importance of its owner. The ownership of horses was an aristocratic privilege, and they were both used for leisure activities and for military campaigns.
This type of ceramics is named Sancai, literally ‘three colours’. A white body with the characteristic green, amber and white lead-glaze is fired in kilns up to 900℃. The lead-oxide in the glaze, and added copper and iron, influenced the striking colours.