The characteristics of horses can be found in the pictographic character of "马" (Ma, meaning horse), including a caprioling body, upward head, drooping tail and mane in the middle. It resembles a running horse leaping into the air. China is one of the earliest countries engaging in domestication of horses and the character "马" has always been a symbol of talents in Chinese. What's more, the images of horses are usually seen in unearthed cultural relics. The Six Steeds of Zhaoling Mausoleum, the black marble relief carvings of six steeds at the mausoleum of Li Shimin, the Emperor Taizong of Tang, vividly represented the heroic bearing of the warhorses and is regarded as a gem of stone carving art in ancient China.
"马" is also a character favored by many calligraphers because the idiom "Ma Dao Cheng Gong" refers to a smooth course of work and immediate success at the beginning. A running horse and the characters of “Ma Dao Cheng Gong” have been a traditional theme in Chinese painting and works of art.