Galloping Through Dynasties
October 7, 2022–January 1, 2023
Cleveland Museum of Art
Schiff Gallery Gallery 234
Galloping Through Dynasties explores the evolution of Chinese horse painting in both its symbolic and its stylistic aspects throughout Chinese history. The approximately sixty art works drawn from the collections of leading U.S. museums and one from Japan will decode the symbolic language of Chinese horse painting to reveal rich information about Chinese history and culture.[CAM]
The horse is one of the oldest and most interesting painting subjects in China. From the ancient Zhou dynasty (ca. 1045–771 BC) to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the horse has formed an engaging symbolic language through which many political and social aspects of Chinese history are represented. The emperors’ passion for fine horses and the evolution of the animal’s political and social messages, from the tokens of a ruler’s military achievements to the idiosyncrasies of a talented scholar, further enhanced the subject’s prominent status in Chinese painting. Over time, the rich symbolic content of horse painting was matched by the increasingly diversified styles and personal expressions of the artists.
This exhibition will be the first of its kind to present to museum audiences the many recent research findings on Chinese horse painting. Through the carefully selected examples and structured display, the exhibition will illustrate how the horse played an important role in shaping the sociopolitical world of China and provide viewers with a firsthand interaction with Chinese concepts of horses as well as new insights into unique aspects of Chinese art and culture.