Painted in ink and natural color pigments on gold leaf, the decor of grazing horses is quite rare and the few existing examples from this period are difficult to find in such remarkable condition, in particular in 8 panels.
Horses were particularly appreciated at the end of the Muromachi (1336-1573) and Momoyama (1573-1603) period because of numerous military campaigns which required a rapid deployment of troops.
The demand for representation of horses is very popular, frolicking in a landscape imagined by the new class of warriors, powerful, and who sought to celebrate their wealth and way of life is evident in these screens.
The best known works are of the Unkaku and Hasegawa schools, mastery of the representation of horses, are illustrated by a number of existing examples of artists also of the Kano school such as Kano Motonobu (1476-1559) and Kano Hideyori ( nc-1576/7).
The present screen of grazing horses illustrates Momoyama's penchant for experimentation, the subject and composition of which combine disparate stylistic traditions. The connection to the kano school is evident in the defined outline of the faceted rocks and the very clear texture features as well as the use of very marked malachite for the foliage.
The "prehistoric" and somewhat naive stylistic representation of horses is also quite surprising.
Period: late Momoyama (1573-1603) or early Edo (1603-1868).
Circa 1580/1600. Kano School.