This white terracotta double horse figure is a unique and charming find. Measuring 16cm in height, this Roman terracotta figurine of paired horses dates to 80 – 180 AD . There was originally a second horse on the base, however only its legs and tail remain. The end of a yoke on the surviving horse’s neck suggests that the two figures were joined together. As there is no indication of a vehicle being attached to the figures, it is likely that this is a standalone object, possibly a child’s toy or ornament.
Manufacturers in the Central Gaul and Rhine-Moselle regions often used this type of fine white clay. As well as being used for making toys, it was typically moulded into figures for the gods of the household shrine. Examples of these objects can be found in the museums of France & Germany. Unfortunately there is no indication on this figure of where it was manufactured, so its origins remain unclear.
Held in the Newstead Collections at National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh this figure is on public display in the Scotland Galleries on level 1 at the Chambers Street location.