Tartars on Horseback

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Artist: Formerly attributed to Chen Juzhong (late 12th-early 13th century)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 15th century
Ink on silk
H x W: 25.2 x 100 cm (9 15/16 x 39 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


baimiao style, China, horse, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), warrior
Provenance research underway.

The subject matter of this painting traditionally has been thought to represent Khitan nomads bringing a tribute horse to China. Recent studies now indicate that, while all the figures are probably of Central Asian origin, their horses are a type of Mongolian pony. Archaeological discoveries point to the possibility of a cultural link between Manchuria and Central Asia and a closer relationship between the seminomadic Khitan in northeastern China and the Turkic Uigurs in the northwest. This Freer version is among several later copies of an original composition that dates to the twelfth century. 

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Jeremy Tredinnick. An Illustrated History of Kazakhstan. .
  • Thomas Lawton. Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Memorial Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 22, pp. 44-47.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 46, pp. 182-185.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. pp. 222-223.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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