Chinese Qing Dynasty Horse Rider Statuette


A finely moulded and colourfully painted Chinese terracotta figurine depicting a court horseman, likely part of a larger group of a parade consisting of musicians and soldiers, dating to the Later Jin Dynasty – Qing Dynasty period. The figure is presented wearing a high, conical helmet painted with red pigment and featuring a yellow insignia to the front, and a collared, black-pigmented tunic, with short, tight sleeves. His left arm is raised while the right arm is lowered, suggesting that the figure might have been holding a weapon or a musical instrument. His face is covered in white pigment, on which facial features are carefully outlined in black and red pigments. The horse, rendered in dark brown pigment with details, such as the saddles and the bridles, emphasized in black pigment, is shown standing on a flat, rectangular platform.

N.B. This item will require additional postage charges after checkout due to weight and size.

Date: Circa 1616-1912 AD
Period: Later Jin Dynasty- Qing Dynasty
Condition: Very fine. High levels of pigment still visible.


Terracotta moulded figures of people and animals were meant to be used as grave goods, to be placed in tombs. It was believed that these figures would serve and assist the deceased in the afterlife. Figures of this type are called mingqi in Chinese, and usually depict servants, officials, soldiers, musicians, court attendants, dancers and, in the case of animals, horses and Bactrian camels. As in life, attendant figures are depicted standing nearby, waiting to fulfil the desires and needs of the deceased. The insignia on the horseman’s hat might qualify the figure as a member of the Eight Banners, also known as Baqi, a militarily and social hierarchical system used by the Manchu people after the foundation of their empire, the Later Jin Dynasty. The Eight Banners military system remained valid through the whole Qing period and was only abolished after the demise of the empire in 1912. The Eight Banners’ structure, as suggested by its name, comprised of eight banners decorated with the same dragon pattern, but in varying colours.

To discover more about Chinese terracotta statuettes, please visit our relevant blog post: Terracotta Tomb Attendants.

Weight 2200 g
Dimensions W 29.2 x H 39.2 cm


Pottery and Porcelain