Rare Gilt Bronze, Imperial Horse and Rider Han dynasty (206BC -220 AD)
Masterfully etched and cast in bronze, Imperial Horse and Rider (206BC - 220AD) is an unparalleled example which translates the majestic nature of the Horse in China, into a detailed visual art form. There are no other close counterparts of museum quality figurines in this form being offered and none matching the present example in quality, clarity of decoration, balance or importance. Imperial Horse and Rider is an exquisite depiction of a caparisoned prized Arabic horse, cast in intaglio, exemplifying both creature and rider. The horse is modelled standing foursquare with a slightly lowered head facing forward: skilfully rendered to give the impression of both noble strength and quiet intelligence. A pair of large upright ears are flanked by a well-dressed mane extending to a broad arched neck, while a conical entwined horn (Zhi) sits atop the animal’s head. The Regal rider of the horse sits astride with hands stretched out as if holding the reins and is adorned with an elaborate top knot, fine jewellery and formal costume - portrayed in a style that conveys high esteem. This formerly richly gilded figure belongs to a small group of exquisitely modelled tomb treasures, deemed precious enough to be presented to Kings and High Nobles as tribute.
Scientific archaeological discoveries proved beyond a doubt that at the beginning of bronze production in ancient china, bronzes were produced by multi- mould casting. The fragments of moulds found at the excavation sites enabled archaeologist to establish with precision the different steps taken by the artisans in the production of a bronze vessel. The bronze Imperial Horse and Rider is covered by a green patina with a light malachite and azure surface encrustation and superficial overall oxidisation. Malachite is not in any way detrimental to the object, as this fibrous material forms on top of the surface of the object and therefore any local features are not disturbed. Once the artifact is excavated Malachite will not proceed under dry conditions.
See thumbnail images for similar items: Gilt Bronze Phoenix, Han Dynasty Sold Sothebys $162,500, Gilt Bronze Feline Form, Han Dynasty Sold Christies $118,00, Archaic Bronze Horses with carriage, Robert Hatfield Collection Sold Sothebys $750,000+
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