The Tang nobility were legendary for their love of horses, so much so that the court passed a law in 667 that allowed only members of the elite to ride. Noble families might own literally thousands of horses, with different types for use in the cavalry, for hunting and polo. The figures of horses found in Tang dynasty tombs reflect not only how highly prized horses were in China, but also the diversity of type of horse as well as the diversity of trappings being copied. Horses similar to the present figure, made of red pottery and partially covered with an olive-green glaze appear to be quite rare. Compare the horse of slightly smaller size (43.2 cm. long), dated Sui dynasty, offered in these rooms, 27 November 1991, lot 266. The trappings seen on both of these horses are similar to those seen on a straw-glazed pottery horse, dated Sui dynasty, illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, no. 189.