Rare Chinese Northern Qi Dynasty Armoured Horse & Rider with Oxford TL Test (AD 550 - 577)
This very rare and interesting pottery model of a horse and rider was made during the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 550 - 577). Such models from this short-lived dynasty are much rarer and have a style quite different to the later Tang Dynasty equivalents. It has been made from a grey pottery that has been "cold painted" in a base coat of white pigment on top of which are traces of various coloured pigments.
Note that both the horse and its rider are wearing armour; the horse even has a protective shield over its head. Note also the detail to the rider's clothing, his helmet and facial features. The rider sits upright with his feet in stirrups; this must be one of the earliest examples showing stirrups being used. There are three purpose-made holes, two to the rider's hands, and one to the horse's back, behind the rider. In these, we surmise, were originally placed miniature weapons and/or banners, most likely made of wood and now long since rotted away and lost.
As with many of our finer and rarer items, we have had this model tested by Oxford Authentications, the only testers of ancient pottery accepted by all major dealers, auction houses and museums worldwide, and the Thermoluminescence Analysis Report that will accompany this item is shown with our images; this confirms the date of manufacture as "between 1000 and 1700 years ago".
Height 30.5 cm (12 inches). Some surface wear, loss of pigment, and probable repair; overall a fine and rare example in good presentable condition. Figures such as this serve as superb documentary pieces detailing equestrian styles and practices from the ancient past.
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