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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

The horse in China — its introduction, trade and breeding from the 1st millennium BCE into the 1st millennium CE


Susan Whitfield, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

Date and Time

11 May 2022, 15:00–16:00 CET

Location (online and on-site)

To attend online via Zoom, please register by submitting the registration form.

The lecture will also be held as an on-site event: University of Zurich, Room SOD-1-104, Schönberggasse 9, 8001 Zürich


Research project «Sino-Indo-Iranica rediviva», Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Chinese Studies


Horses were at the heart of the cultures of the steppe but did not, the evidence suggests, play an equivalent role among the peoples ruling in the first millennium BCE in the Yellow and Yangzi river valleys of China. However, they become increasingly important, especially for these peoples' military encounters with the steppe. This lecture considers what we know of the horses and breeding programmes introduced in the first millennium, and discusses why trade remained essential to meet growing needs, both of the military and the elites of the kingdoms of China.