A Chinese Sancai Glazed Pottery Horse, Tang Dynasty,
ca. 618 - 906 CE
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OUR HOLLYWOOD HORSE!
This large and powerfully modeled horse, with its well-preserved sancai glaze, captures the spirit and power of this celebrated animal and reveals the technical accomplishment and stylistic maturity of Chinese ceramic sculpture at the peak of the Tang dynasty. The most magnificent horses, immortalized in Chinese literature and the visual arts, were the Ferghana horses introduced into central China from the West during the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).
These horses were known for their speed, power, and stamina, and were sometimes referred to as ‘thousand li horses’, after the belief that they were able to cover a thousand li in a single day. Here, the horse is shown standing foursquare on a rectangular base with its head turned slightly to the left and mouth open. Its mane and central forelock between pricked ears are covered with a cream glaze, while the tail is comprised of later hair (preliminary tests suggest it is acrylic). The body is glazed in rich amber and cream glazes, and the brown glazed saddle is covered with a cloth pulled into pleats on either side, which is set on a green and amber glazed blanket draped over the horse’s back.
For related examples see: Mayuyama, Seventy Years, Volume One, Tokyo, 1976, p. 77, no. 207. Wu, Earth Transformed: Chinese Ceramics in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, 2001, pp. 40-41, from the John Gardner Coolidge Collection.
Condition: Some crazing and minor flaking to glaze. with professional restoration to the saddle, rejoining of legs and repair to the underside, later addition of tail. Overall, the sculpture is complete and in very good condition.
Dimensions: 18" H x 18.5" L x 5"
Provenance: Martin L. Bregman (May 18, 1926 – June 16, 2018) private collection, New York. Martin Bregman was an American film producer and personal manager, representing such stars as Al Pacino, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Alan Alda and Bette Midler. He produced many films, including Scarface, Sea of Love, Venom, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Four Seasons, Betsy's Wedding, Carlito's Way, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, The Bone Collector, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
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