It is very rare to find such an elaborately caparisoned sancai horse in this size. Generally such realistically-modelled manes and simulated-fur saddle blankets are found only in the larger 25 to 28 inch high examples.
The thick, textured blanket covering the saddle is a very unusual feature and can be seen on horses with a variety of trappings and different treatments of the long mane illustrated in Luoyang tang sancai, pl. 72, excavated in 1963 from tomb no. 2 at Guanlin, and pl. 67, excavated in 1964 from tomb no. 59 at Guanlin; in the revised Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 11, pl. 193, in the Eisei Bunko, Tokyo; in the Idemitsu Museum of Art 15th Anniversary Catalogue, 1981, no. 204; by M. Prodan, The Art of the T'ang Potter, New York, 1961, col. pl. I; and by E. Schloss, Ancient Chinese Ceramic Sculpture, Stamford, 1977, vol. II, col. pl. V. Another horse of exceptional quality from the tomb of Prince Yide, dated 706, was discovered in Qianxian, Shaanxi, and was included in the exhibition, The Quest for Eternity, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1987, no. 66. Compare, also, an important massive sancai Ferghana horse sold at Christie's, New York, 21 March 2002, lot 103.
The result of Oxford thermoluminescence test no. 566z47 is consistent with the dating of this lot.