Horse Training

Details

Horse Training

Paintings / Azuchi/Momoyama

By Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610)

Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

Color on paper

156.6×342.5

6曲1双

Inscriptions:かつて「信春」朱文袋形印が両隻にあったが除去されたと伝えられ、その痕跡が残る。

Important Cultural Property

This pair of right and left screens depicts several horses within a confined space. Each horse has a distinct color and shape, and they are all very impressive. Some gallop along the waterside while others twist their necks or kick their hind legs ups. Some are even resting on the ground, yet all are depicted in vivid fashion. We can also see some samurai riding or training the horses. These kinds of resplendent, beautiful horses were viewed less as animals and more as a kind of cherished steed, almost like how luxury cars are viewed today. Someone was judged to be a true samurai if he rose a horse with a fiery temperament, with horses also painted in an extremely dynamic way.

Various trees and flowering plants are carefully painted around the scene. The screen to the viewer’s right portrays a spring scene with verdant wisterias and willows, while the left screen features reddening leaves and other autumnal flowers such as eulalia grass, chrysanthemums and bush clovers.

Horses were originally a popular theme in Chinese paintings, but they also became beloved motifs in Japan, particularly among the samurai. This work is characterized by the way Japanese flowers and plants are depicted among this Chinese-style setting. The work was painted by Hasegawa Tohaku, an influential artist active from the 16th to the 17th century.

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