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Appendix D: The Dancing Horses
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The Dancing Horses

"Thence, it was decreed that the horses be caparisoned with patterned embroidery, haltered with gold and silver, and their manes and forelocks dressed out with assorted pearls and jades. Their tune, which was called 'Music for the Upturned Cup,' had several tens of choruses, to which they shook their heads and drummed their tails, moving this way and that in response to the rhythm. Then wood-plank platforms of three tiers were displayed. The horses were driven to the top of these, where they turned and twirled 'round as if in flight. Sometimes it was ordered that a doughty fellow lift one of the scaffolds, and the horse would dance atop it. There were a number of musicians who stood to the left and right, before and behind; all were clothed in tunics of pale yellow, with patterned-jade belts, and all must be youths chosen for their handsome appearance and refined bearing. At every Thousand-Autumn Festival, beneath the Loft of Zealous Administration [the horses] danced by decree."
Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook
translated by Patricia Buckley Ebrey


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