Henan Museum
Polychrome Pottery Horse with a Turning Head
Edit: Acf
Time: 2024-01-15 11:20:42
Period: Tang dynasty (618-907)
Provenance: Acquired upon government notice
Measurements: H.48 cm, L.39 cm


The horse has a bridle on the head and a bit in the mouth. On its back, there is a saddle, a piece of mattress, dust-preventing cloth, and Anfu (covered on the saddle for decoration), with its corner flapping backward, seems to be windblown. The horse’s front legs stand straight, its hinder legs bend like a bow, its tail raised up. The muscles and the bones on the haunch and the legs are well proportioned, being round and animated. The horse was perfectly modelled, with realistic demeanor, thus it was well represented spiritually and physically.  


Horse breeding was attached a great importance in Tang dynasty, consequently the special agency was established to administrate the related business. And superior breeds were imported from the Western Regions to improve the domestic ones. At the time, horses were not only used for warfare and transportation, but also for ceremonies, entertainment and sports, thus they were extremely important in social development. The pottery horses of the Tang dynasty unearthed in Henan province are characterized by robust physiques and plump bodies, which are an artistic representation of the spirit of the Tang people.