An Unusual Painted Grey Pottery Figure of a Caparisoned Horse, Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577)

Lot 248. An Unusual Painted Grey Pottery Figure of a Caparisoned Horse, Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577); 137/8in. (35.3cm.) high. Estimate USD 28,000 - USD 35,000. Price realised USD 30,550. © Christie's Image Limited

Standing foursquare on a rectangular base, well modeled with gracefully arched neck and ears alertly pricked either side of a bound and upswept forelock, the chest strap applied with fur tassels and the crupper strap with medallions and pendent bells alternating with unusual lion-mask medallions, the saddle draped with a striped cloth tied at the ends over the saddle pad, covered with a cream-colored slip, with red details and traces of gilding and orange and green pigment. 

NoteA very similar example with the same unusual lion-mask medallions, tasseled chest strap, and similar saddle cloth, this time painted with fur markings rather than striped, excavated from the Changxu tomb dated to 560 A.D., near Taiyuan, Shaanxi province, is illustrated by E. Capon, 'Chinese Tomb Figures of the Six Dynasties Period', T.O.C.S., vol. 41, 1975-77, pl. 119(b). Compare, also, the line drawing of a similar caparisoned horse excavated in 1978 from the Northern Wei tomb of Yuan Lian, Hebei, Ci county, illustrated in Kaogu, 1997:3, p. 37, fig. 8(2).

The result of Oxford Authentication Ltd. thermoluminescence test no. C100f65 is consistent with the dating of this lot. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics, Paintings and Works of Art, New York, 21 September 2000