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Horse in Chinese Culture

Horse is liked and admired by countless people all over the world because horses are strong, graceful, elegant, yet extremely powerful creatures. They lead soldiers into battle, pull the ploughs and served as people’s transportation prior to the invention of vehicles. Due to their natural companionship with man in both art and work, the Horse wins easily a special seat in history, ranking marks of honor, symbolism and reverence. You just would not be where you are today without these wonderful animals. Serving man in war, agriculture, productivity, mobility, development of all kinds, horse is considered to be one of the largest contributor to the enhancement of civilization.

As one of the symbols in the Chinese zodiac animals, the horse sign is equated with Gemini. Horse symbolizes energy in Buddhist religion. This strong animal also played a crucial role in the dominance and development of the Chinese Empire.


Chinese Horse SymbolIn China, the first evidence of horses comes from the “Longshan culture”. Several fire pits dating at about 5000 BCE were excavated in Miaodigou (Henan Province) and found to contain the remains of horses. It is believed that these horses were used for mystical sacrifices and domestic purposes. During the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1100 BCE), horses were entombed with thier owners to pass over with them into the afterlife. This practise was then replaced with a more humane way for an emperor to “protect or defend” his mausoleum. 1000 years ago, hunting, polo matches and horse performance were already popular activities in the Tang dynasty. Lifelike figures of saddled horses as well as the riders in the Terracotta Army unearthed from the mausoleum of Qinshihuang emperor (r.221 – 210 BC) clearIy indicate the contemporary features of the warhorses and their horsemen.

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China invented three of the most important innovations in equestrian history: the horse collar, the stirrup and a reliable and effective harnessing system based on the breast strap. The artistic efforts of Mongolian were channeled into portable works of art such as, bridles, saddles and personal jewellery. They were superb horsemen. Until today, the Mongols spend much of their lives on horseback.

Silk had been traded for horses during the Han Dynasty (157 – 87 BCE). However, China faced several periods where horses were of short supply. Tea was the commodity of trade during the Song Dynasty (681 – 907 CE), and so began the history of “Tea for Horses” markets. Tea production was controlled by China and they attempted to maintain the prices of tea at an artificially high level in order to acquire more horses. During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE), these markets were again used when horse populations were once again depleted.

Horse in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui, horse is used to symbolize movement and power. It is normally used by people who would like to travel. Special technique is used to place a horse in order to aid an application for visa or emigration. A horse sculpture or painting can be placed near, or on an executive’s desk to reinforce his image as a dynamic and powerful man, but it should not be headed toward the window or door.

Horses in full gallop represents the speedy arrival of your good fortune. Horse paintings contain the Yang energy and element of Fire. It is best placed in the living and family areas, (often placed in the south part of living room). Displaying a horse that is rearing up is not recommended, particularly if it’s directly behind or directly confronting you, as this may cause you accidents as well as physical problems related to the limbs.

Horse Dream Meaning

Dreaming yourself riding a horse may indicate that you are going to see a project or event to successful conclusion. Dreaming yourself falling off a horse indicates that your are nervous about the event or project you have scheduled. If you dream a horse with reins, tied with ropes, pulling a wagon, etc., indicates that you are feeling restricted in your life and desire more freedom. Dreaming a bucking horse indicates a need to break old habits.


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