Three Horses

Title: Three Horses
Artist: Liu Dan-zhai
Location: New London, Connecticut
Culture: Chinese
Medium: Scroll
Dimensions: 38 x 22 in 
Repository: Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection, Shain Library, Connecticut College, New London
Donated by Chu-Griffis Art Fund

In his late, great masterpiece, Three Horses, Liu Dan-zhai wields ink and color to create a dazzling image on scroll. The 38 x 22 inch portrait, illustrates a trio of horses frolicking harminously in a grey meadow. Dan-zhai utilizes powerful brush strokes to portray a sense of vitality between, what appears to be, a vibrant mare, a white foal, and a black stallion. A sense of depth is portrayed through their varying heights. In the foreground, middle-ground and background, the artist leaves white, unpainted space: a distinctive characteristic of traditional literati paintings. In choosing to outline the white horse’s body with strokes of blank ink, without coloring it in, Dan-zhai incorporates his subject matter into the unpainted space as well. The three horses merge as an interplay between light and dark colors, subtle hints of green appear in the meadow surrounding them. It is important to note that the horses are wild and unconfined, they symbolize freedom. The mare nuzzles between its mother and father who encircle their child in an affectionate and protective way. 

Liu Dan-zhai, Chinese, 1931-. Three Horses. Artstor,

Author: Nefertari Pierre-Louis

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