Three Horses

Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 26.6 x 21.8 cm (10 1/2 x 8 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf

China, horse, WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)

To 1944
Tonying and Company, Inc. New York to 1944

From 1944
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, Inc., New York in 1944 [1]


[1] See note 1 on folder sheet. For additional information, see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Tonying and Company established 1902


The unusual size of this album leaf suggests that it might once have been part of a much larger work, perhaps a handscroll. The painter's skill in drawing the foreshortened horse seen from the back, the delicate depiction of the animals, and the subtle coloration are all undoubtedly of high artistic quality. Depicting scenes of nomadic pasturing was a special genre established by eminent painters of both the Liao (907-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties. The subject was then pursued by later Chinese painters, such as the unknown artist whose work is seen here.

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 240.
  • Exhibition of Chinese Bronzes and Paintings, May 1 through May 31, 1943. vol. 3, no. 18, May 1943. pp. 8, 17, ill. no. 5.
  • Mabel Irene Huggins. The Year of the Horse. vol. 21, no. 7 Uniontown, PA, July 1966. pp. 12-17.
  • James Cahill. Chinese Album Leaves in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Japan, 1961-1962. p. 32, pl. 16.
  • Sherman Lee. A Probable Sung Buffalo Painting. vol. 12 Washington and Zurich, 1949. p. 294.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
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