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Student artwork celebrates ‘Year of the Horse’ at Kentucky Horse Park

It is 2014 and we are celebrating the Year of the Horse along with the Far East and the international community of horse lovers. At the Kentucky Horse Park, the Year of the Horse is being observed, beginning on Jan. 22 and continuing through April 18, by Lexington's Wellington Elementary School and the International Museum of the Horse with a special exhibit. The schools third, fourth and fifth grade students are displaying the honored tradition of Shodo [The Art of Japanese Brush Painting] which features calligraphy.

Shodo at the Kentucky Horse Park exhibited by 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
KY Horse Park

Using rice paper, each student is painting the character for the word uma, meaning horse. Each uses black Japanese sumi [ink] and fude [bamboo brushes] for painting the word uma. They use the same procedure to paint their names.

Calligraphy has always been lauded as high art in the Orient and each character is given its specific stroke order and ink weight.

In 1912 China adopted the Gregorian calendar but up until then and continuing to the present, it had used the lunar calendar. The Chinese calendar is cyclical, using 12 cycles, each one year long. This cycle begins on the second new moon after winter solstice. In this way, each single year of the 12-year-cycle calendar is represented by an animal, and this animal’s characteristics correspond with the mood of the year and those born during that year.

People born during the Year of the Horse –in 2014 and each 12th year before – are generally thought of as fun with a sense of humor, audacious, full of adventure and carefree.

The calligraphy exhibit by the students of Wellington Elementary School will remain on display in the International Museum of the Horse until April 18.

Information is available on the Kentucky Horse Park site.

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