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Tang dynasty (618-907) China
Standing horse 8th century Place made: China
Materials & Technique: sculptures, earthenware, earthenware with three colour [sancai]; glaze
Dimensions: side view 73.7 h x 85.0 w x 25.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of TT Tsui, Hong Kong, through the National Gallery of Australia Foundation 1995
Accession No: NGA 95.587

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