Although contemporary cultures are no longer so dependent upon horses, in times past, horses were integral to the daily lives of many communities. Owning a horse gave you independence, allowed you to farm and therefore provide much of your own food; in many cultures’ mythologies – such as Egyptian, Greek and Norse – horses were thought to pull the Sun and the Moon across the sky to bring about Day and Night. No wonder then that horses have featured on much of the world’s artwork for thousands of years. Unsurprisingly, the many artists working with the West German Pottery factories looked to horses for inspiration too.
Judging by the glaze and design, I think this Scheurich 546 is a more modern vase. To my eye, it looks ’80s; I could imagine it surrounded by glass and chrome. Standing at a whopping 5ocms tall, it would certainly make an impact.
These rather more stylised horses are more to my taste. Something about their elongated legs and necks is more appealing than the gaudiness of the ’80s Scheurich. This style seems to be more popular with other designers too:
The stylised shapes are evident again in this wall piece by Schaffenacker, but there is also a suggestion of armed riders with spears. As well as providing a livelihood, horses traditionally were used in war time for transport and attack: sitting on a horse gives you a natural height advantage. The Greco-Roman edge style links these wall plates with these pieces:
These two are matching pots, possibly by Songden, but we’re not entirely sure. I love the top one’s design in particular, something about the shape and the horses’ chariots and headgear. The final horse-related pot looks very similar to these, but isn’t by the same factory.
One of the more interesting opinions I’ve read about horses is that more and more they seem like creatures of fantasy to children, as many will have only seen a horse on a film or as part of the folklore of an area. Personally, and despite this post, I’ve never been a massive fan of horses, but I agree that there is something majestic about them. The design of these pots seems to echo that idea: there’s a masculinity about these pieces, an almost regal, ancient feeling about them not in keeping with their relatively modern design and age. Perhaps this is why the motif of a horse recurs again and again. They are, if not truly immortal, then at least timeless.