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Relief

Tomb Sculpture

Object Number:
C396
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
Horse
Description:
Emperor Taizong made his reputation as a great leader through military victories that extended China's borders beyond the empire he inherited from his father, who had founded the Tang dynasty in 618 CE. Of the thousands of horses who aided the Emperor in his quest for land and military supremacy only six were chosen to be enshrined at his Mausoleum, Zhaoling. Not only did each horse have its own name and unique set of attributes, they each received a laudatory poem composed by the Emperor himself. Their exploits come down to us through written accounts of the battles in which they played a defining role.

Each of the horses depicted on a relief was instrumental in one of his major victories. The horse depicted here is named Curly. Portrayed in paintings with a wavy coat of saffron-yellow hair, he was instrumental in suppressing a dangerous uprising. Although there are nine arrows, six in the front and three in the back sticking out of his body, the horse is shown walking briskly and with a spirit that defies his wounds.
Height:
166.4cm
Length:
207cm
Width:
44.4cm
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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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. 95, Fig. 32
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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: 41
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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. 46
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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: pp. 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: pp. 61-71
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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: pp. 1-6, pls. V-VI
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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. 2
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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: pp. 7-11, pl. 6
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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: pp. 49, 54
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[Book] March, Benjamin. 1929. China and Japan in our Museums. : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 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] Munsterberg, Oskar. 1924. Chinesische Kunstgeschichte. Volume 1. : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 162, abb. 123
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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] Bushell, Stephen W. Chinese Art. : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 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: pp. 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: pp. 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 and 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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