Molded Horse and Rider with Cheetah

Object Name: Figural vessel

Date: 12th–13th century

Geography: Iran

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Stonepaste; molded in sections, monochrome painted under transparent turquoise glaze

Dimensions: H. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm)
W. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
D. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Wt. 24 oz. (680.5 g)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1966

Accession Number: 66.23


This figurine represents the relatively rare sculptural tradition within Islamic art. Although the function of this and other such Seljuq equestrian figures is not entirely known, they appear to portray significant personages. Here the overall symbolism conveyed is that of a warrior or hunter: the rider holds a cup, carries a short staff, and bears what appears to be a shield. The small animal seated behind the rider may be a hunting cheetah, and the hollowness of the object's upper section suggests a container-like function.