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Horse head

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    206 BC- 220 AD (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Nephrite jade, carved

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee

  • Museum number:

    A.16-1935

  • Gallery location:

    China, room 44, case 11

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Daoist faithfuls believed jade could preserve the body of the deceased. This jade horse was intended to carry the tomb-occupant into the heavens.

Physical description

Head, shoulers and the partial torso of a horse, grey-green with flocculent markings. Appears to have originally formed part of a whole jade horse formed of sections dowelled together.

Place of Origin

China (made)

Date

206 BC- 220 AD (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Nephrite jade, carved

Dimensions

Height: 14 cm, Width: 17.2 cm, Depth: 6.5 cm

Descriptive line

Head and the Partial Torso of a Horse, Nephrite jade, China, Han Dynasty

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Davis, Frank. Chinese Jade, 1935, pl. 5.
Nott, Stanley Charles, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, London, 1936, pl. LVI.2.
Baker, Malcolm and Richardson, Brenda, eds. A Grand Design : The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1997. 431 p., ill. ISBN 1851773088.
Rose Kerr (ed), TT Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art and Design, V&A, 1991, photo p. 45.

Exhibition History

Ayers and Rawson, Chinese Jade throughout the Ages (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1975-31/12/1975)
A Grand Design - The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum (Victoria and Albert Museum 12/10/1999-16/01/2000)
International Exhibition of Chinese Art (Royal Academy of Arts 01/01/1935-31/12/1936)

Labels and date

Head of horse
Han dynasty
206 BC-220 AD

Daoist faithfuls believed jade could preserve the body of the deceased. This jade horse was intended to carry the tomb-occupant into the heavens.

Carved nephrite jade

Museum no. A.16-1935 [2007]

Production Note

Mr Ayres opinion, Ceramics: Han, or somewhat later. The purpose for which the carving was made is not unclear, nor whether it was formerly part of a complete horse of the same material. During the Han and the succeeding Six Dynasties' periods, however, many pottery models of horses and of horses' heads were made for inclusion in the furniture of tombs, together with those of other animals and of humans. This head is evidently a rare example of such work a more precious material.

Subjects depicted

Horse

Categories

Sculpture

Collection code

EAS

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Qr_O14525
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