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Horse Head

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)

Japanese burial practice in the Kōfun period was marked by the use of fired earthenware cylinders such as this, called haniwa (literally, "clay circles"), that were placed in rows around tomb mounds. Representational haniwa depict persons, ritual objects, weapons, or animals, like this one in the form of a horse head with a bridle of applied and strip decoration. The donor of this piece, the famous artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), was introduced to haniwa during his first trip back to Japan in 1931, when they became influential in his own work.

MEDIUM Low fired earthenware pottery, reassembled from fragments
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 5th-6th century
    PERIOD Kofun Period
    DIMENSIONS 6 x 5 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (15.2 x 14 x 31.1 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Isamu Noguchi
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Horse Head, 5th-6th century. Low fired earthenware pottery, reassembled from fragments, 6 x 5 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (15.2 x 14 x 31.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Isamu Noguchi, 61.233. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 61.233_PS9.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 61.233_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Low fired pottery horse head (haniwa) Earthenware haniwa in the form of a horse head with bridle of applied boss and strip decoration. Condition: Left ear void, right ear chipped. Back of head and most of left side is badly worn. Some repair to bridle straps at right side.
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