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Terracotta figure of a horseman

Terracotta horseman, Greek, 550 BC


Height: 13.500 cm

Gift of the Greek Government

GR 1912.6-26.271 (Terracotta 782)

Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC

    Terracotta figure of a horseman

    Greek, around 550 BC
    From Tanagra, Boeotia, Greece

    Horse and rider figures were popular grave offerings in sixth-century Boeotia. It is likely that the possession of a real horse was a mark of social and even political status. Laying a model in the grave might show the mourners' respect for the position the dead person had held in society. Similar figures have also been found in sanctuaries. This terracotta horse and rider might have been offered a god as a representative of the dedicator, thanking the god or requesting a favour.

    This figure is handmade, not moulded. The bold stripes are painted on in the same dilute clay solution used to cover the darker areas of contemporary pottery.

    R.A. Higgins, Catalogue of the terracottas i, vol. 1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1954)

    R.A. Higgins, Tanagra and the figurines (London, 1986)