A Boeotian Terracotta Horse and Rider, Archaic Period, 600 - 400 BC

Hand-modelled, with traces of original black-painted details to the horse's mane, body and legs, the rider astride the back of the horse, clutching the neck.

Background:  Thousands of clay figurines like this one survive from the Archaic period, which lasted from 600 to 480 B.C. Clay was a common, inexpensive, and easily worked material, and these figurines--some highly finished and others very crude--must have appealed to a broad range of people.  Terracotta figurines were produced throughout Greece, but they were especially popular in certain areas like Boeotia, where this one was made. Horses, with or without riders, were favorite subjects for Boeotian artisans. The figurines were frequently left as burial offerings in graves. Horses were a sign of wealth for the Greeks of this period, and the terracotta horses were probably left to symbolize and to reinforce the high status of the deceased.

For related example see:  H. Bloesch, Das Tier in der Antike, (Ausstellung Archäologisches Institut der Universität Zürich, 1974), 164, pl. 27.

Dimensions: Length from head to tail: 5 inches (12.7 cm), Height: 3.78 inches (9.60 cm)

Condition:  three legs and the tail re-attached, front left leg probably not part of the original piece.  Otherwise, complete and in good condition overall.

Provenance: Private collection of Harry and Gertrude Lander, New Haven CT acquired when traveling between 1950 - 1965 and then by descent.


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