Horse

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A terracotta figure of a horse from an ensemble made up originally of horse and rider. It is modelled based on simple geometric forms.

The horse is in a static pose with a cylindrical body and an arched neck. The muzzle is decorated with a noseband painted in a reddish-ochre tone. There are two unusually large painted circular eyes. From the painted decoration one can sense that the animal had a long crin. The tail, modelled out of all proportion, has a bent conical form. The surface of the animal is covered in decoration, perhaps imitating some type of protection or armour.

These figures, which show a Corinthian influence particularly in the shape of the rider, are contemporaneous with the flat female figurines known as “pappades” which were found in funerary contexts.

The Boecian tradition to use the horse as an iconographic motif in the making of terracotta figures goes back at least to the 7th Century, with the production of polychrome horses with matt finish or entirely glazed. Examples where legless riders seem to be “fused” with the back of the horse are the last ones to be documented. Their production ceased soon after 550 BC.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

- Greece in the Archaic Period. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Copenhagen. 1994.
- BESQUES S. Catalogue raisonné des figurines et reliefs en terre-cuite grecs, étrusques et romains, Vol. I, Epoques préhellénique, géométrique, archaïque et classique. Paris. 1954.
- HIGGINS R. Catalogue of the Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. British Museum. London. 1954.
- OSTERGAARD J.S. Terracotta Horses and Horsemen of Archaic Beotia in Acta Hyperborea 3. 1991.
- SZABO M. Archaic Terracottas of Beotia. Rome. 1994.

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