You are here > Home > Quick Navigation > Arts & Crafts

Silver Pot

The Leather Bag Style Silver Pot with Cup-in Mouth Dancing Horse Design was unearthed at the Chinese Village of Hejia in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province in 1970. It is the first of its kind that has ever been found among the gold and silver vessels of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and representative of the Khitan culture, which was a tribe of herdsmen that offered the special pot to Emperor Xuanzong (712-756) in the Tang Dynasty.

The pot is 18.5 cm in height and was made of silver. The spout of this pot is covered with a gilt lid and is held in place by a chain attached to the gilt handle. Stirrup pots derive their shape from leather bags used by the nomadic horse people to the north. Different materials, including leather, wood, earthenware, china, porcelain, and silver, have been used to fabricate pots. They were mainly carried on horseback or used in households. They have been found containing remnants of milk, wine, and water. Many of these pots have been excavated from tombs of the period.

This pot has a decorative design of a horse with a ribbon around its neck and its tail flowing in the air. The horse holds a drinking cup in its mouth -- an allusion to poetry from the period describing the "dancing horses." Dancing horses often performed at court. Without riders, they performed maneuvers to music. It is said that during the performance, they were given wine to drink in cups that they picked up and tilted into their mouths. Emperor Xuanzong had celebrated dancing horses. On his birthday, 100 horses were covered in rich embroideries fringed with gold and silver, their manes studded with precious stones. They danced in two troupes, with their heads tossing and tails beating to the music. They also stood on three-tiered benches as athletes lifted the benches into the air. Guards in golden armor, foreign acrobats, performing elephants, and palace girls playing the "thunder drums" joined the performance.

The grand scenes of the emperor's birthday celebration party shown on the pot expresses fully the Chinese culture as well as something of an exotic atmosphere. It was really an outstanding piece of workmanship from the Tang Dynasty and of great unique value to Chinese culture. This is truly a treasure worth collecting.

Page 1 of 0    

Page 1 of 0    

Quick Navigation

New Article