Sancai glazed pottery figure of a horse

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€ 11000

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Tang Dynasty, 618 - 907 AD
Sancai glazed pottery
30 cm

H. Mingliang, The World of Ancient Chinese Lead-Glazed Wares: from the Warring States to Tang, Taipei 2014, pp. 85 - 118.

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The horse is shown standing foursquare on a rectangular base. The body of the horse is glazed in a beautiful rich amber, the mane covered in a cream glaze. The bridle is largely unglazed. The strength and power of the tamed horse are emphasized by the beautiful simplistic modelling. This horse is a naturalistic rendering of the fabled Ferghana horses, which were believed to sweat blood, and were famous for their power and speed. These ‘blood-sweating’ horses were introduced from Central Asia into China during the Han Dynasty. The Ferghana horse was immortalised as a celestial animal in the Chinese visual arts and literature.

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.


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