Hundred Horses


Hundred Horses
This is an early painting by Giuseppe Castiglione, one of the most famous Europeans in the service of the Ch’ing dynasty court. This handscroll more than seven meters long depicts a scene of taking a herd of horses out to pasture in autumn. The hundred steeds are shown in a variety of poses and activities as they leisurely make their way around the pastures and trees. Castiglione, using refined gradations of light and shadow, has rendered an exceptionally realistic scene. Although the painting compositionally represents a continuation of traditional arrangements of herding horses in Chinese art, the placement and depiction of the trees and landscape elements clearly reveal the deep atmospheric effect often found in Western art. Even the sizes of the horses vary with the distance and are shown in relative proportion. Likewise, the painting method for the distant mountain rocks is distinct from that seen in traditional Chinese brushwork, with layered pigments also seen among the trees.
Castiglione, Chinese painting, empirical collection, horse
National Palace Museum
Date Created
ca. 1728
album leaf, ink, and colors on silk, height: 94.5 cm; width: 776.2 cm