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An Emaciated Horse

Asian Art

In Sufi poetry, the ego is often represented by the metaphor of a horse (as seen here) that is starved and humiliated, suggesting the training necessary to transport its rider (the soul) to the desired destination. This theme, which was meant to remind viewers that the physical world is transient while the soul is eternal, was a popular subject in sixteenth-century Iran and seems to have spread to India in the seventeenth century. It may have been inspired by similar depictions in China, where the image of the horse was often used to represent humans and their behavior. Such images probably reached the Islamic world after the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century.
MEDIUM Ink and light color wash on paper
DATES mid 17th century
DIMENSIONS sheet: 2 13/16 x 4 9/16 in. (7.1 x 11.6 cm) image: 2 7/8 x 3 15/16 in. (7.3 x 10.0 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. George Dupont Pratt
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Indian. An Emaciated Horse, mid 17th century. Ink and light color wash on paper, sheet: 2 13/16 x 4 9/16 in. (7.1 x 11.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. George Dupont Pratt, 40.372 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 40.372_acetate_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 40.372_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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