The size and realistic modeling of this horse, as well as the perfect proportions of the body combined with the richness of the trappings, place this figure in a small group of horses that seems to exemplify how highly horses were prized by the Chinese. Except for a few minor differences this horse is very similar to one included in the exhibition, Early Chinese art: 8th century BC - 9th century AD, Eskenazi, London, 6 June - 8 July 1995, no. 43. The two figures share the same finely detailed bristly mane, molded trappings and green-glazed tufted fur blanket with swept-back front edge. As does the dark-brown glazed horse with skewbald markings included in the sale of Works of Art from the Collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, Sotheby's, London, 12 December 1989, lot 56.
Compare, also, the similar horse covered with a straw or pale yellow glaze, its cropped mane notched with three tufts known as sanhua, excavated from the tomb of the Tang general, Xianyu Tinghui, who died in A.D. 723, illustrated in the catalogue for the exhibition, Unearthing China's Past, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1973, p. 173, fig. 89 and again by Y. Mino and J. Robinson in the catalogue of the exhibition, Beauty and Tranquility: The Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1983, p. 174, Fig. B. On the same page two other finely modeled horses and a group of metal trappings are illustrated, the latter giving an indication of the richness of the real trappings.
The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. C97h91 is consistent with the dating of this lot.