Galloping Nambu breed horse

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This work was produced during an on-site residency for my solo exhibition atTowada Art Center. In the past, Towada City in the Aomori Prefecture was one of Japan’s leading horse breeding regions. The Nambu breed Horse, a Japanese stallion raised at that time, is now extinct despite having been a key presence that supported the lives of the local people. Although there are a few references to date that present an accurate physical description of the Nambu breed horse, a skeleton specimen of “Mori-go,” the last great stallion of its kind, remains preserved at Morioka Agricultural High School. I restored the legendary horse based on the reference documents I found, and made an animation work of it running across the snowfi elds of Towada.
Back in the 19th century, it was very common for people and horses to live together under one roof in Japan. These traditional L-shaped houses were known as “Nambu Magariya” (Nambu Bent House). Here, the residence (main house) where people lived, were connected to the horse stables. Such houses still remain in various parts of Japan, especially in the former provinces of the Nambu clan (the region that spans eastern Aomori., northern and central Iwate, and northeast Akita). There were indeed times when humans had used horses to cultivate fi elds, as well as carry and transport heavy loads. Perhaps in these days there was a perceptive world of sorts that existed through a communication with horses.
* Reprinted from AKI INOMATA, Significant Otherness, tr. Kei Benger, Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, 2020, p.133

  • Galloping Nambu breed horse
  • Galloping Nambu breed horsePhoto: Kuniya Oyamada
  • Galloping Nambu breed horsePhoto: Kuniya Oyamada
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