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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tang Dynasty Horses

Earlier this week I enjoyed spending the morning at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with my oldest grandson, Nehemiah. On the way home he declared that he and I were "museum buddies," which truly warmed his Nana's heart! When I asked what his favorite work had been, he said he liked the Tang horses best. He's almost 5 and doesn't understand much about time and ancient history, but is able to connect with certain works, which greatly pleased me. I was particularly surprised when, unable to find a certain painting by Millet shown in his book, he pointed to another work by Millet on display and said, "There's another one of his paintings." Good eye, my boy! It will be interesting to see how his interest develops.

The Tang Dynasty horses, from the early 8th Century AD, have been popular with a number of children I've brought to the MFA over the years. This may be partially due to their resemblance to several famous "Disney" horses. Since I first saw them I have been convinced that the Disney artists were often inspired by ancient Chinese drawings and ceramics. The Chinese camel ceramics also have a familiar look about them.

I thought you might enjoy taking a look at these magnificent creatures. They are quite large, almost 2 feet tall and, as Nehemiah noticed from his low vantage point, they are hollowed out. (Take a look under their stomachs if you happen to see any at a museum.)

You can take a little self tour of some of the images of horses from the MFA in various mediums by clicking here. Enjoy!
If this area interests you, I'd recommend looking for a copy of "Imperial China: The Art of the Horse in Chinese History". Amazon has reasonably priced used copies. (Click on a photo for a closer look.)

Look familiar?

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