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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1925.30.114
Title
Horse and Rider
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
575-550 BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Boeotia
Period
Archaic period
Culture
Greek
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/291036
Location
Level 3, Room 3600, University Research Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Terracotta
Dimensions
8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Joseph C. Hoppin
Accession Year
1925
Object Number
1925.30.114
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Commentary
This terracotta figurine of a horse and rider is one of many similar figurines deposited at cemeteries in Boeotia, central Greece. They are often hand-made and highly simplified in form, efficiently communicating their subjects. This particular figurine is highly stylized and abstract (the horse and the rider are both decorated with reddish-black stripes); some others feature greater detail in their portrayal of animal and human form. Here, the rider figure lacks articulated legs, as its body merges into that of the horse. Their significance is not entirely clear, though they were always popular in graves, an indication that they were meant to display the heroic character of the dead in relation to his occupation as a warrior or hunter.

Other horse and rider figurines are known from around the Mediterranean, including from Cyprus and Athens, where they have been attested earlier than those in Boeotia. Horses, whose ownership implied wealth on the part of their human owner, were status symbols in ancient Greek communities as well as important companions in human activities.
Publication History

Jan Stubbe Østergaard, "Terracotta horses and horsemen of Archaic Boeotia", Acta Hyperborea, Museum Tusculanum (Copenhagen, 1991), 3, 111-189, p.127, no. Da5, fig. 20

Exhibition History

A World Within Reach: Greek and Roman Art from the Loeb Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/28/2023 - 05/07/2023

Related Works

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu