Greek, Boeotian, ca. 575 to 550 BCE. A wonderful hand-built terracotta horse and rider of a characteristically abstract style. Both the rider and the horse are decorated with black striations. The characteristic simplicity of this horse and rider is notable - legs and tail are comprised of simple tapering cylinders, as is the rider's body. This said, the artist succeeded in creating an immediately recognizable subject despite this minimalism - truly capturing the spirit of this horse and rider through very fundamental shapes and patterns, rather than a naturalistic representation. What's more, the stripes on the figure's and the horse's body, add interest and perhaps a sense of kinetic movement to the pair. Size: 5.75" H (14.6 cm)
Terracotta figurines were produced throughout Greece; however, they were particularly popular in certain areas like Boeotia. Horses, whether with or without riders, were endearing subjects for Boeotian artisans, and such figurines were oftentimes left as votive burial offerings in graves. Horses were popular because they indicated wealth for the Greeks of this period. Hence, such terracotta horses were most likely left to reinforce the elite status of the deceased.
Cf: Reynold Alleyne Higgins, Greek Terracottas (London: Methuen & Co 1967): 46, plate 19E; Hutton , C.A. 1899. Greek Terracotta Statuettes (London: Seeley and Co. Ltd. 1899): 1-13; Higgins, Greek Terracottas , xlix-l; Grace, Archaic Sculpture in Boeotia , Figs. 47, 49, and 51. Higgins, Catalogue of Terracottas in the British Museum no. 770.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1960s
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Repaired from about a half dozen pieces with restoration over the break lines. TL drill holes on the belly and bottom of one leg.