Terracotta figure of a horseman


British Museum

British Museum

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.

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  • Title: Terracotta figure of a horseman
  • Date Created: -580/-550
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 13.50cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: handmade; painted
  • Subject: equestrian
  • Registration number: 1912,0626.271
  • Production place: Made in Boeotia
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Tanagra
  • Period/culture: Boeotian
  • Material: terracotta
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Greece, Government of