The Tang Dynasty (618–907 A.D.) was the most glorious historical period in China’s history. It flourished culturally, reaching unparalleled prosperity, and is regarded as the “golden age” in China’s civilization. During the Tang Dynasty, the horse was second in importance only to the dragon and was the foundation of military power. Elegant statues of horses with powerful arched necks and an increased degree of naturalism were enjoyed by the upper classes.
In 1981, I visited China and witnessed the unearthing of over 7,000 life-sized terracotta sculptures of warriors and horses in the Tang capital of Xi’an. Discovered in 1974 and buried since the Han Dynasty over 2,000 years ago, I was stunned by the spectacle as I peered down from the scaffolding high above the pits. After that life-altering experience, I shifted gears from a career in original printmaking and returned to my early interest in sculpture. Chinese art and oriental sparseness of design continue to influence my work.