Saturday, October 10, 2009

8th CenturyTang Dynasty Horse

This unglazed earthenware piece was created sometime in the 8th century during the Tang Dynasty. The artist is unknown. It is obvious that the horse depicted in the earthenware is not from China because of its long legs, slender head, and tall build and was most likely imported from the countries in the west. Western horses were called Celestial horses and were coveted by people in the Tang Dynasty as were arts depicting these muscular and swift beasts.

The elegant yet powerful curves form the arc in the neck. The long, stiff vertical lines of the front legs suggest a tension and energy so life-like that it appears that at any moment the horse may rear up on its back legs. The horse's head pulled of to the side with laid back ears and open mouth. The sculpted saddle is so well-made that it appears to drape and fall like an actual cloth and leather saddle. The unglazed earthenware is combined with horse hair for the tail creates a life-like multimedia project.

This piece can be found at the St. Louis Art Museum.

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