Archaeology Daily closes in on the real story behind ancient China’s legendary blood-sweating horses:
The bones of 80 horses unearthed from the mausoleum of a Chinese emperor who lived more than 2,000 years ago have rekindled an ancient legend about blood sweating “heavenly” horses from central Asia.
“The legend goes that Emperor Wudi offered a hefty reward for anyone who could find him a mysterious ‘blood-sweating’ purebred horse that was said to have roamed central Asia, but was rarely seen in China,” he said.
Today, the horse is identified as the Akhal-Teke, one of the world’s oldest and most unique breeds.
Wudi left China’s earliest written record of the breed, in a poem he composed for his Akhal-Teke mount, describing it as a “heavenly horse”.
The horse is known for its speed, endurance and perspiration of a blood-like fluid as it gallops along. It was also believed to be the mount of Genghis Khan (1167-1227).