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Subject:Help with an inscription
Posted By: John R Fri, Nov 10, 2017 IP: 2601:443:c102:2a10:4

I've been researching this painting of 8 horses for
the last 10 years. The long inscription was added by
Ke Jiusi [1271-1368]. I would love to know what he wrote. At the time he wrote it, he was the Imperial
painting connoisseur under the very young Yuan Emperor Wenzhong. I have been told that it refers to
a poem from Huang Tingjian. I can share much more of
my research if there is any interest.

Subject:Re: Help with an inscription
Posted By: I.Nagy Wed, Nov 15, 2017

In my rough translation the poem sounds:
There are thousand of miles (to record) at the end of
my brush
Four hooves thunder and lighten in my chest
A horse herd passes by in the air
Who can ride on a thing like this, free from worldly concerns
The wild wind is so talented to take bridle and rein
(However) the time is doing the same slowly

With regards,

Subject:Re: Help with an inscription
Posted By: rat Wed, Nov 15, 2017

John, the two foreground horses in the Wei Yan painting also appear by a tree in Castiglione's "100 Horses" painting in the NPM. The images at this URL allow you to enlarge details enough to confirm the similarity by rolling your mouse over the relevant section of the "Original Work of Art" photos:

I would think though that because the Wei Yan horses match the shape and proportions (but not nearly the level of detail) of Castiglione's horses rather than what we know of painted representations of Tang horses, that the Wei Yan painting postdates the Castiglione picture. Does the Ke Jiusi inscription on the Wei Yan picture therefore also come from some earlier source? I'm not following.

The poem is indeed by Huang Tingjian, but Google doesn't give me an instance of Ke Jiusi inscribing it. Do you know where the painting is located?



Subject:Re: Help with an inscription
Posted By: John R Thu, Nov 16, 2017

Thank you, I. Nagy and rat.
I appreciate your help,
All 8 of the horses appear in Castiglione's painting.
Castiglione's 100 Horses were not from his imagination, but were copied from existing
Chinese paintings:
"Emperor Yung-Cheng requested Castiglione, who had proved his talents as a
painter, to execute" ... "a scroll depicting a hundred horses. Castiglione, who was well
acquainted with Chinese tastes, represented the animals rolling on the ground,
gambolling, and frolicking two by two in the fresh, calm atmosphere of the countryside,
just as he had seen them in the paintings suggested to him as models.”
[Giusseppe Castiglione: A Jesuit Painter at the Court of the Chinese Emperors
Cecile and Michel Beurdely 1971].
The differences between Castiglione's version of the
8 horses are very interesting. In the case of the 2
horse groups he has changed the placid attitude into
an aggressive behavior. In the case of the downward
walking horse Castiglione has positioned him on flat
land. I am attaching some more images.

Subject:Re: Help with an inscription
Posted By: John R Thu, Nov 16, 2017

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