Night-Shining White

Night-Shining White




唐 韓幹 照夜白圖 卷

Han Gan (act. 742–56)
Night-Shining White
Handscroll; ink on paper; 12 1/8 x 13 3/8 in. (30.8 x 34 cm)


My favorite horse of all time… The NY Metropolitan Museum of Art is showing this painting as part of Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings, May 1 – August 10, 2008:

Han Gan, a leading horse painter of the Tang dynasty (618–907), was known for portraying not only the physical likeness of a horse but also its spirit. This painting, the most famous of the works attributed to the artist, is a portrait of Night-Shining White, a favorite charger of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–56). The fiery-tempered steed, with its burning eye, flaring nostrils, and dancing hooves, epitomizes Chinese myths about imported “celestial steeds” that “sweated blood” and were actually dragons in disguise.

Han Gan is also said to have preferred to live in the stables rather than in the Emperor’s household.

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