Yuan dynasty
Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Mongol horde conquered and ruled China as the Yuan dynasty, part of an almost inconceivably vast empire that extended from Manchuria in the East to the borders of Europe in the west. Mongol riders in the field were self-sufficient, brutal, savage, and for one hundred years, unstoppable. Little of that ferocity is apparent in this statuette, which dates from the period of Mongol rule in China. The horseman wears a type of headgear that is much flatter and broader than the typical "Mongol helmet." A quiver of arrows can be glimpsed behind his right shoulder.