Subject:Re: Metal Horse Statue Identification
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Oct 10, 2019
The script on the base for your bronze horse reads across from left to right in the Western style as "Gao Ding-nuo Xian-sheng Liu-nian Diao-yu-tai Guo-bin-guan" (髙鼎諾先生畄念 釣魚台國賓館), translatable as "A memento of Mr. Gao Dingnuo's stay at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse". According to Wikipedia, the Diaoyutai is a historic hotel and guesthouse complex in Beijing used to put up visiting foreign dignitaries and provincial government officials. The name "Diaoyutai" means "Angling Platform" and comes from the area having been a favorite fishing spot for one of the Jin Emperors.
Gao Dingnuo would seem to be the Chinese phonetic name for Donald Raymond Keough (September 4, 1926 – February 24, 2015), who according to Wikipedia and other sources, was an Irish-American businessman and a former Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Coca Cola Company until retiring in 1993. In various positions with Coke and other corporations, Keogh visited 140 foreign countries, but you may be able to track down when he visited China with a bit of patience.
The bronze horse is a replica of one unearthed in Gansu Province in 1969. A photo of it appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, and the artifact stirred a large amount of interest around the world at that time. If memory serves, this horse is a mythical steed called the "Qianli Ma" (千里馬), meaning a horse that can cover a thousand "li" in a single bound. (NOTE: One "li" is about half a kilometer, meaning about 500 kilometers per bound for the Heavenly Horse, I think. However, the MDBG online English-Chinese dictionary calls the Qianli Ma a "ten thousand mile horse. But who's counting!?) Some of the current Qianli Ma repros are going for wild prices. In the late 1970s, these repros could be purchased direct from the Kamtin Brass Factory in Hong Kong's New Territories for about US$20, including wooden stand. A few years later, I found one at the Stanley Market on Hong Kong Island for US$30 with stand. With provenance to the Late Coke Chairman, yours should have some sort of premium attached to its value, but I'm more into dishes than bronzes.
Below, a shot of the Kamtin Brass Factory horse with a gaudy false color background (only shot I could find of this critter on short notice).