Pair of Chinese Tang Dynasty Statues of Horse and Rider

£ 3,250.00£ 6,000.00

A pair of finely modelled terracotta equestrian riders dating to the Tang period. The horses are portrayed standing, powerfully-posed and gazing forward, with their head held high and relaxed, mouths agape, and ears pricked. The musculature is well defined, and most of the original slip remains. Additional red and black pigments define the eyes and mouth, as well as a cropped mane, and details of the equipment; such as the decorated blanket, saddle, and trappings. The tails are shown docked and bound, and the horses stand on a rectangular base. The riders are depicted in differing riding stances, though they are similarly dressed in a cap and tunic, which covers their breaches and reaches to the top of their boots and trousers. Details are picked out and enhanced with paint; including the flesh in pink, their attire in green, brown, black and some orange.


Item A is accompanied by a positive Thermoluminescence Analysis Report, No. C122g68, completed on 22nd August 2022.

Date: Circa AD 618-906
Period: Tang Dynasty
Provenance: Acquired 1990s. West Country, UK, collection.
Condition: Excellent condition, with some earthy encrustation. A few chips consistent with age.
£ 3,250.00£ 6,000.00
Choice of item A B Pair
Clear selection
SKU: AG-38 Category: Tags: , , ,

Horses were important during the Tang Dynasty and were both the reward of successful military expeditions and the foundation of imperial stability. Brought to China by means of the international Silk Road trade network, horses were also a sign of wealth, with strict laws in place limiting the use of horses to people of a certain rank, and even those serving in the military had to provide their own mount.

The Tang Dynasty marked the resurge of elaborate tombs with the integration of new international influences. Horses from this period were often mass-produced using moulds, but showed individual personality through sancai (three-colour) glaze, a Tang novelty with strong influences from Central Asia. As a symbol of status and wealth in life, horses were also an indication of their owner’s importance in the afterlife, with horse mingqi reflecting the position and rank of the deceased through their forms and scale. The Tang Dynasty saw several developments, including the rise to popularity of female horse-riding, a social change that has been reflected in mingqi through the appearance of figurines of female riders.

For more information on Tang Statuettes, please see our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants and The Horse in Chinese Culture and Art. 

Weight N/A
Dimensions cm
Choice of item

, ,


Pottery and Porcelain


You may also like…