gunba-zu 群馬図
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. pictures of herds of horses. One of several horse themes popular in 16c and 17c screen painting. Unlike other horse themes such as *bokuba-zu 牧馬図 and *chouba-zu 調馬図 which show horses tamed and ridden, gunba-zu depict only wild horses in natural settings. The pictures include a variety of horses galloping, bucking, playing, grazing, and even sleeping in fields or amidst mountain scenery. The pair of six-panel screens by Hasegawa Sakon 長谷川左近 (fl.17c, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and several pairs of screens attributed to Unkoku Tougan 雲谷等顔 (1547-1618, Kyoto National Museum and private collections) are representative of the genre. The theme of wild horses in nature was painted by Chinese artists beginning in the Five Dynasties, and Ming dynasty horse paintings certainly influenced both Momoyama painting as well as later renditions of the theme in the 18c and 19c. Yosa Buson's 与謝蕪村 (1716-83) pair of six-panel screens Kyoto National Museum is particularly well known.


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