Its the Year of the Monkey so lets look at some art featuring monkeys !
After some considerable searching and scrolling past dozens of copies of Mori Sosen works and weird sumi-e gibbons and monkeys clearly painted by people who need a trip to the zoo urgently ... I found this image.
Horses and gibbons seem an odd juxtaposition.
Gibbons are creatures of the far south in modern China and while it may be the painter was indulging his imagination given this is a very old work its not impossible the painter might have seen such a scene.
The habitat for gibbons was very more extensive in the Tang dynasty and there are many poems mentioning gibbons being seen in areas where they are never seen today.
While Chinese has several words for monkey and gibbon they seem to have NOT distinguished between monkeys and apes with words used to describe species shifting over the centuries. In most Tang poems however its gibbons that are mentioned yuan not hou ...that however is a topic for another post ...and there are several more in this series!
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