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Horses in China



Paul Simon rounds up horses again: "Horses have been around China for a long time as have saddles, but stirrups come from Europe and are fairly recent (but in time for the Mongol invasions, which were fairly recent --12th century) [My sources say stirrups were invented in China about 200 BC. RH.] T he Mongols ruled China as the Yuan dynsaty for a couple of centuries at that time. The terra cotta warriors in Xian date from the Chin dynasty (from which China gets its name). They are mostly standing soldiers. The most famous horse statuary would have to be the Tang pottery depicting horses and camels in that wonderful gold and green runny glaze--the Art Institute in Chicago has some fine examples, as does the Palace Museum in Taipei. Warlords on horseback? Maybe they had equestrian statues of themselves up in the 20's, but I've never seen one, even at Marshal Teng's mansion and Zhang Xue Liang's manor. I suspect that, if there were any such, they didn't survive the Cultural Revolution."

My question: We have not mentioned asses, of the horse family. They are the symbol of hardworking frugality and the beast of those who could not afford horses; the knight Don Quixote could, the peasant Sancho Panza could not. Christ rode an ass, the symbol of poverty and humility The ass existed as far east as Tibet. But China?

Ronald Hilton - 1/9/02


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