Among examples of similarly posed prancing horses, glazed examples are extremely rare. The application of the viscous, colorful glazes is more usually seen on horses in static poses which are often embellished with elaborate saddles and trappings, providing a texturally rich surface for decorative glaze patterns. The dynamic pose with its animated prancing and turned head imbue the figure with vitality and convey the high regard bestowed upon similarly well-bred and highly trained horses at the time. Horses during the Tang dynasty were symbols of wealth and power and horse breeding reached its apex during this period when most of the prestigious breeds from Central Asian countries such as Samarkand, Khotan and Gandhara were introduced to China. The Tang aristocracy’s love for horses is much exemplified by the present horse which is represented unencumbered by any trappings or saddle, allowing the artisan to draw focus to its powerful physicality and spirited nature. The naturalistic choice of an amber glaze enhances the strong linear contours of the modeling and harmonizes perfectly to form an elegant beast that is as much animated as it is poised.
Only three other glazed examples of similar form appear to be known; an amber-glazed horse that closely resembles the present figure is illustrated in Tang, Eskenazi, London, 1987, cat. no. 39; a smaller figure was offered in our London rooms, 9th June 1992, lot 97 and a straw-glazed prancing horse with amber-glazed splashes from the British Rail Pension Fund collection sold in our London rooms, 12th December 1989, lot 60 and again in these rooms, 20th March 2019, lot 650.