Han Polychrome Terracotta Horse Sculpture


A finely sculpted polychrome terracotta statuette depicting a naturalistically rendered horse in a standing pose. It features an elegant, curved outline that reflects its strong physique and anatomical features, linking to the traditional Han practices of portraying horses in terracotta. Its well-spaced and naturalistically presented legs are supported by a rectangular base, aesthetically balancing its figure and body weight. Facial features are picked out in black, pinkish-red pigments, and the nostrils are delicately engraved. A gaping mouth is sculpted with details, from which its teeth are well-depicted. On the top of its hip, a removable tail is attached.

Date: Circa 202 BC- 220 AD
Period: The Han Dynasty
Provenance: From the collection of a West Country gentleman, formed in 1970s
Condition: Very good condition, some original pigment visible to the surface. Detachable tail.


Ancient Chinese terracotta statuettes, naturalistically depicted as animals and human figures that displayed in tombs, are known as Mingqi, having been made to serve the decedents in their afterlife. Images of horses are among the most favoured repertoires that were sculpted in ancient China. Horses have been complimented as the symbol of strength, masculinity, and superiority within traditional Chinese culture.

To discover more about Chinese  statuettes of horse, please visit our relevant collection post: The Horse in Chinese Art and Culture 


Weight 6050 g
Dimensions L 45.5 x W 11.7 x H 45.6 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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