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Relief

Tomb Sculpture

Object Number:
C395
Current Location:
Culture:
Chinese
Provenience:
China
Shaanxi
Xi'an
Zhaoling
Period:
Tang Dynasty
Date Made:
649 AD
Early Date:
649
Late Date:
649
Section:
Asian
Materials:
Limestone
Technique:
Carved
Bas Relief
Iconography:
Tang Taizong Horse
General Qiu Xinggong
Horse
Description:
After consolidating the Tang Empire, Emperor Taizong ordered six large stone panels to be carved with the portraits of his favorite horses. These were the horses he had ridden in overcoming his rivals and securing the borders of the country. From the laudatory poem he composed for each horse, we believe we can identify the two in our collection. The relief shown here depicts "Autumn Dew," also known as "Whirlwind Victory." Historical records say he was ridden in battle by the emperor during a great siege, when, after being stuck with an arrow, the emperor was forced to dismount and switch horses with his general, Qiu Xinggong. The general is shown here pulling the arrow out of Autumn Dew's chest while the horse stoically bears the pain.

The six horse reliefs were placed outside Taizong's tomb on an altar meant for memorial ceremonies. They stood there for over a thousand years worshipped by imperial and common people alike. Like their master, the horses had become divine in the minds of the Chinese people. They continue to hold a special place in their hearts to this day.
Height:
172.7cm
Length:
207cm
Width:
43.2cm
Credit Line:
Purchased from C. T. Loo; Subscription of Eldridge R. Johnson

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)
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Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)
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Silk Road Highlights Supplement (10 Feb 2011)
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Bibliography:

[Article] Zhou, Xiuqin. 2009. The Mausoleum of Emperor Tang Taizong. Sino-Platonic Papers. 187
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[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 94/95, Fig. 31
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[Article] Zhou, Xiuqin. 2005. Excavations at Zhaoling, Shaanxi, China: More Light on the Museum's Chinese Horse Reliefs. Expedition. 47 (2): 38-39.
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[Article] Zhou, Xiuqin. 2001. "Emperor Taizong and His Six Horses". Orientations. 32 (2): 40-46. : Page/Fig./Plate: 40
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[Book] Horne, Lee C. 1985. Introduction to the Collections of The University Museum. : Page/Fig./Plate: 61
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[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1941. The Chinese Collections of The University Museum: A Handbook of the Principal Objects. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (2-3) : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 48, Fig. 45
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[Article] Fernald, H. E. 1941. In Defense of the Horses of T'ang T'ai Tsung. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (4): 18-28. : Page/Fig./Plate: 18-28
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[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1936. The Sculpture. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. 68 (394): 22-30. : Page/Fig./Plate: 22-30
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[Article] Ferguson, John C. 1936. The Six Horses of T'ang T'ai Tsung. Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Volume 67 : Page/Fig./Plate: 1-6, pls. V-VI
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[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1935. The Museum's Loan to Burlington House ( for International Exhibition of Chinese Art held in London 1935-36). The University Museum Bulletin. 6 (1) : Page/Fig./Plate: 7-11, pl. 6.
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[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1935. The Horses of T'ang T'ai Tsung and the Stele of Yu. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Volume 55 (No. 4 Dec.): 420-428. : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 4
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[Catalogue] Royal Academy of Arts. 1935. Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 205, No. 2387, Pg. 218, 2387 (illustration)
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[Article] Springer, Anton. 1929. Die ostasiatische Kunst, in 1929. Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte. Volume 6. 43, 50, pl. 68. : Page/Fig./Plate: 49, 54.
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[Book] March, Benjamin. 1929. China and Japan in our Museums. : Page/Fig./Plate: 87
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[Book] Siren, Osvald. 1925. Chinese sculpture from the fifth to the fourteenth century; over 900 specimens in stone, bronze, lacquer and wood, principally from northern China. : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 426
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[Book] Ashton, Leigh. 1924. An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Sculpture. : Page/Fig./Plate: pl. 47
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[Book] Munsterberg, Oskar. 1924. Chinesische Kunstgeschichte. Volume 1. : Page/Fig./Plate: 162, abb. 123.
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[Book] Bushell, Stephen W. Chinese Art. : Page/Fig./Plate: 32, fig. 18.
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[Article] Waley, Arthur. 1923. T'ai Tsung's Six Chargers. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. Volume 43 (No. 246) : Page/Fig./Plate: 117-118
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[Article] Pelliot, Paul. 1923. Les statues en "laque seche" dans l'ancien art chinois. Journal Asiatique. (April - June): 181-207. : Page/Fig./Plate: 202
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[Article] Bishop, Charles W. 1918. Horses of T'ang T'ai Tsung. The Museum Journal. Volume IX (Nos. 3-4) : Page/Fig./Plate: 265-272, figs. 75, 76
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[Book] Chavannes, Edouard. 1909. Mission Archeologique dans la Chine Septentrionale. : Page/Fig./Plate: pl. 228, no. 440, pl. 289, no. 442.
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[Article] Reinach, Salomon. 1900. Le Representation du Galop dans l'Art Ancien et Moderne. Revue Archeologique. 3d ser. (XXXVI) : Page/Fig./Plate: 92
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