Location: On Display in the Asia Galleries

From: China | Shaanxi | Xi'an | Zhaoling

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Object Number C396
Current Location Asia Galleries - On Display
Culture Chinese
Provenience China | Shaanxi | Xi'an | Zhaoling
Period Tang Dynasty
Date Made 649 CE
Section Asian
Materials Limestone
Technique Carved | Bas Relief
Iconography Tang Taizong Horse | Horse | Quanmaogua | 拳毛騧

The Taizong Emperor made his reputation as a great military leader who, together with his father, founded the Tang dynasty in 618 CE. Of the thousands of horses who aided the Emperor in his quest for territory 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. Their exploits come down to us through written accounts of the battles in which they played a decisive role. Each of the horses depicted on a relief was instrumental in one of Taizong’s major victories. The horse depicted here is “Quanmaogua” whose name refers to his curly hair. The horse is shown wounded by nine arrows, six in the front and three in the back, but still walking briskly and with a spirit that defies his wounds.

Height 166.4 cm
Length 207 cm
Width 44.4 cm
Credit Line Purchased from C. T. Loo; Subscription of Eldridge R. Johnson, 1920

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