Sui Dynasty-Tang Dynasty Statuette of a Female Horse Rider


A delicately rendered Sui Dynasty-Tang Dynasty moulded terracotta female figurine depicting a court lady riding a horse, which stands on a rectangular base. The female figure is portrayed holding a four-stringed musical instrument, known in Ancient China as pipa, and wearing a white-pigmented sleeveless coat, known as beizi. The long white coat reveals green-pigmented, flaring sleeves of her inner attire. Her hair is parted in the middle and drawn up into two knots fastened by a red-pigmented fillet. Facial features are emphasised by black and red pigments.

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

Date: Circa 581- 618 AD
Period: Sui Dynasty- Tang Dynasty
Condition: Very fine. High levels of pigment still visible.


Grave goods were an important status symbol in ancient China, so the affluent and important would be accompanied in their travels through the afterlife with numerous depictions of people, items and animals. Such terracotta figures were made for the service and entertainment of the owner, ensuring that their journey in the underworld was a happy one. Terracotta tomb attendants seemed to have first appeared during the Western Han Dynasty. However, it is during Tang China that the cultural tradition of displaying wealth in elite tombs reached its peak, with an increased production of terracotta statuettes, such as this fine example. Interestingly, the attire worn by the figure, known in Ancient China as beizi, was worn by both men and women during the Sui and Tang Dynasties, while the hairstyle is typical of court ladies.

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

Weight 1400 g
Dimensions W 28.6 x H 34.9 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: Christie’s, London, February 2005, Auction 5557, Lot 322.

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