Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.)
Funerary Statuette: Polo Player
Mid-late 8th c. C.E.
Earthenware, traces of pigment
31.2 x 42.3 x 10.9 cm
Gift of Neil F. and Ivan E. Phillips, inv. 1978.Ed.2
Archeology and World Cultures
This tomb figure of a polo player provides a glimpse of the pastimes of the aristocracy. The game of polo was a popular sport among the Chinese elites during the Tang dynasty. Introduced from Persia by way of the Silk Road, it was played by men and women in two teams of sixteen. Riders and their mounts performed in elegant embroidered gear. Just like today, the object of the game was to hit the ball into the opposing team’s goal. From the earliest times, the Chinese elites had a keen interest in horsemanship, which perhaps explains their attraction to the foreign sport.