Joueuse de polo
Terre cuite, Moulage, Glaçure sancai
H. 34.2 x L. 34.4 cm
Don manuel : Tsang, Jen-Tsié
Polo is thought to have developed in the early years of the 1st century in central Asia, perhaps in the ancient kingdom of Khotan, in the south-west of the Tarim basin. It is not known exactly when it was introduced into China, but during the Tang dynasty polo was a very popular sport among the aristocracy.
Numerous mingqi depicting male and female polo players have been found in Tang-period tombs. They are of various types, the most common of which show the horse in the “flying gallop” pose.
The Cernuschi Museum’s pair of riders are of a rarer type of model. The woman is dressed in a men’s clothing for comfort while riding, as was still the practice in central Asia.
Gilles Béguin, Le petit peuple des tombes, Paris Musées, 2010, p.65.