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Saddle Up and Gallop Through Dynasties at the Cincinnati Art Museum Oct. 7, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023

9/15/2022 12:00:00 AM

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CINCINNATI — September 15, 2022 — Explore the evolution of Chinese horse painting and sculpture from the past 3,000 years in Galloping Through Dynasties at the Cincinnati Art Museum from Oct. 7, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023. In this special exhibition, the first of its kind, the curator will present her many recent findings about the history of the horse in Chinese art to museum audiences.

“Many of the political or social messages conveyed in these horse paintings were gradually lost or forgotten,” shared Hou-mei Sung, the exhibition’s curator and the museum’s curator of East Asian Art. “I hope my reconstruction of this symbolic language and the decoded messages will not only help us understand how the Chinese define horses, but also gain deeper insights into Chinese history and culture.”

The exhibition highlights more than 60 paintings and objects from the collections of leading museums in both the U.S. and Asia, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, as well as objects from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s own collection.

Galloping Through Dynasties is generously supported and made possible by the Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and Elizabeth Hoffman Huddleston and Frazier Huddleston. It will be on view to the public for free in the Thomas R. Schiff Galleries (234 and 235). No tickets are required. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. Photography is permitted, but no flash. On social media, use the hashtag #CAMChineseHorses. Museum members are invited to view the exhibition from 5 – 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6.


Exhibition overview:

The horse is one of the oldest and most fascinating subjects in Chinese painting and sculpture. From the ancient Zhou dynasty (circa 1045–771 BCE) to the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the image of the horse has formed an allegorical language through which many political and social aspects of Chinese history are reflected. The Chinese emperors’ passion for fine horses further enhanced its prominent status in Chinese art. Over time, the rich symbolic content of Chinese horse imagery was matched by the increasingly diversified styles and personal expressions of the artists who painted this iconic animal.

Through carefully selected examples and structured displays, the exhibition will illustrate how the horse played an important role in shaping the sociopolitical world of China throughout the centuries. In addition, the exhibition will provide viewers with a firsthand encounter with Chinese concepts involving horses as well as new insights into unique aspects of Chinese art and culture.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full color, illustrated Galloping Through Dynasties catalogue to provide additional historical context.


Upcoming, related events:

Seventh Annual Asian Art Lecture: 2 – 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16, Fath Auditorium (Cincinnati Art Museum): Dr. Sung will share many of her recent findings about Chinese horse painting and decode its symbolic language. The lecture is free, and seating is first come, first served. A reception will follow. Reservations are required and will soon be available to book on the exhibition webpage. The lecture is sponsored by the Cincinnati Asian Art Society.

Art After Dark: 5 – 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28: This month’s event will celebrate the exhibition and feature live entertainment, food, and drink for purchase and docent-led tours. The event, held monthly, is free. All ages are welcome to attend. Reservations are not required.

CAM Kids Day: Four Legged Friends: 11 a.m. – noon, Nov. 5: Preschool-age kids will enjoy hands-on preschool art making in the Rosenthal Education Center (REC) followed by a family-friendly performance at 1:30 p.m. The program is free. Reservations are not required.


About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Special exhibition pricing may vary. Parking is free.

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