Very good depiction, dynamically formed and clearly the expression of a high, advanced culture. The sport polo was probably introduced to China from Persia, with which China had lively relations during the Tang dynasty, and became (as Jacques Gernet puts it) a "sensation in Chang'an". The virtuosity with which horses' naturalistically compressed expressions were captured had achieved a unique highpoint in the world. The basis for this, however, was the immensely increased interest on studs and breeding in China at the time. It is estimated that, in the mid-7th century, there were more than 700,000 horses. Naturally, horseback riding was part of a blossoming culture of nobility. The polo players are ladies from the circles of courtly culture, as one can immediately recognize by their hairstyle as well as clothing. Here, she is depicted bending over slightly to the side, a very typical posture. Horse and rider still both bear some of the original painting. The shabrack and robe are inspired in their form, while the animal's head is a pleasure of its own - densely, expressively realistic and filled with a power of life.
Dimensions: HEIGHT 23 CM
Condition: the steed's legs (as with almost all of these terracottas) are fragile and, once broken, have been restored
Provenance: German private collection