Tang-dynasty tomb chambers were filled with huge numbers of ceramic funerary wares, predominantly in the form of horses. Central Asian horses were much prized during the Tang dynasty, costing as much as forty bolts of silk. They were prominent status symbols and their presence in tombs was vital to accompany the deceased on their journey to the afterlife. This large glazed horse is realistically formed and carries a decorated harness, a feature that started to appear during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534). The use of three-colour sancai glaze is exemplified in the green of the saddle and bridle bleeding into the warm ochre and cream of the animal's body.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label