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Male Figure Riding Horse, One of Pair

Asian Art

Images of mounted soldiers have formed the honor guard for Chinese tombs at least since the 3rd century B.C. Unglazed ceramic figures were often painted, and the Museum's Tang Dynasty Pair of Mounted Horsemen retain some of their original decoration. In the tombs of the Tang nobility, figures of attendants stood in small side chambers, symbolically waiting to serve the occupant of the tomb.

MEDIUM Earthenware, traces of pigment
  • Place Made: Northern, China
  • DATES 581-618
    DYNASTY Sui Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 10 x 3 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (25.4 x 9.5 x 21 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1991.247.2
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Lucile E. Selz
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Male Figure Riding Horse, One of Pair, 581-618. Earthenware, traces of pigment, 10 x 3 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (25.4 x 9.5 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lucile E. Selz, 1991.247.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.247.2_1991.247.3_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE group, 1991.247.2_1991.247.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One of a pair of terra cotta figurines in the form of mounted horsemen that were probably almost identical and are presumed to have belonged to a larger set of tomb figurines. One figurine (.2) is intact. The Rider is dressed in a robe that bears traces of orange pigment and wears a hood on his head. One arm is raised and its hand appears as if it originally had held a weapon or standard. The other hand is clenched tightly close to the horse's neck as if holding reins. The rider is seated on a saddle which lies on top of a hemmed blanket that hangs down almost to the rider’s foot. The horse beneath the rider is set on a rectangular base. Its head is slightly bowed, its front legs rigid and hind legs slightly bent. The underside of the horse's body is hollowed out. Very little pigment remains on the horse. The second figurine (.3 or B) is broken into three pieces: The horse with the rider, the rectangular base and a small piece of one of the horse's hooves. If the pieces were assembled this figurine would closely resemble the intact figure of .2. The figurine which is broken into pieces has more traces of pigment on its surface than the intact figurine. The garment of the rider has traces or orange pigment and the horse’s body has traces of brown. Condition: Basically intact. Horse's feet are reglued. Fingers on right hand and back corner of baseboard are broken.
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