Saddled horse, Tang dynasty, 700s, earthenware with lead glaze, 26 x 27 in. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly. photo Indianaplis Museum of Art
Size indicates that this horse was made for someone from the highest ranks of society.
Horses were highly valued for the military and for activities such as polo. The most prized horses were the tall and powerful breeds, descendents of the "dragon seed" imported from the West.
The Tang dynasty began with 5,000 horses and 50 years later boasted herds numbering 706,000.