700s–800s, Tang dynasty (618–907)
Gift of Lennig Sweet
One of a pair in the Denver Art Museum's collection, this ceramic figures is among the finest examples of polo players on galloping horses from the Tang dynasty. Polo is believed to have originated in ancient Iran, Central Asia, or Tibet, and it reached China by the late 600s via the Silk Road. Both men and women played the game, which was a favorite sport of the Tang court. A large number of ceramic polo player sculptures have been found in elite tombs of the Tang dynasty.