National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased NGV Foundation, 2008
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Horses have been regarded as auspicious symbols since ancient times, when actual horses, or votive paintings of horses, were offered to shrines by those who believed in their protective power. Horses were of prime importance to the samurai in military engagement, travel and ceremonial parades. In this folding screen we see noble horses striking energetic poses in spacious and spotlessly clean stables set against a background of bamboo and golden clouds. The group of immaculately groomed horses display powerful physiques, beautiful markings and pedigree patterns that symbolise their great prestige, as well as the social status of their owners.