Heavenly Horse and Groom
Possibly Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Ink and color on paper
Exchange for Charles Bayly Jr. Collection
Horses have long been a popular subject in Chinese paintings. Here, the large animal is accompanied by a groom who can be identified as a foreigner by his appearance, specifically his dense, curly beard and hair and his unusual apparel. His conical hat and equestrian-friendly pointed boots would have seemed exotic to Chinese viewers. Although possibly painted by an artist during the Ming dynasty, this painting imitates the earlier style of Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322), a Yuan dynasty master known for his allegorical paintings of horses and other animals. This painting and an accompanying colophon (not pictured) have been removed from their original context as a handscroll.