“Mares of Diomedes” by Gutzon Borglum at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina.
Horses race forward, bodies pressed together. All are wildly excited, ears laid back, nostrils distended, and mouths open gasping for breath. The bodies are truthfully modeled without insistent detail to give a dynamic sense of rushing movement, enhanced by the rhythmic play of muscles and the backward flow of loose masses in the manes and tails.
“In Memory of the Work Horse” by Anna Hyatt Huntington at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina.
A farmer wearing a coat and a cap pulled down tightly, walking on an incline beside a large bridled horse, is braced against a stiff wind. The man hangs onto a plow harness around the horse’s neck while his coat is blown up and over its back. The animal’s head is down, as man and horse both lean into the wind.
“The End of the Trail” by James Earle Fraser at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
A Native American man on horseback, wrapped in an animal skin; a lowered spear held loosely in the bend of his arm is bowed on the horse’s back. The horse shrinks before the wind, head hanging, mane and tail blown forward.
“Riders of the Dawn” by Adolph Alexander Weinman at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet.
The horses plunge forward, half rearing, with forelegs doubled and heads tossing. One rider leans back to draw a bow while the other turns sidewise, blowing a conch. Beneath the horses is the rayed disc of the rising sun, with water curling in scrolls around it and rising beneath the horses in plumes of spray.
Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, located just south of Murrells Inlet, in South Carolina. Though the gardens were somewhat dormant during our visit, the sculptures were fabulous.
“Fighting Stallions” by Anna Hyatt Huntington at the entrance to Brookgreen Gardens. Two horses, rearing on their hind legs, are striking each other with their front hooves and biting. One has sunk his teeth into the other’s neck as it throws back its head in pain. Their muscles are taut with struggle, and manes and tails disordered in combat. One nude rider clings desperately to a horse’s back, while the other, thrown on the ground, protects his head with an upthrown arm.
Poshina, a small town situated in Gujarat, India, is home to Adivasi shrines acclaimed for their votive terracotta horses. A growing army of more than 2000 horses surrounds the petite Adivasi shrines. The horses are offered in anticipation of achieving a particular wish or upon fulfillment of a desire, such as childbirth, curing of an illness, sick animals, timely rain, aid in a difficult harvest, and so on.
The term Adivasi means “original inhabitants” and there are a number of Adivasi communities (such as the Garasia, Bhil, Koli, and Rathva) residing in the northern, central and southern part of Gujarat. Most Adivasi communities believe that their gods cannot be represented by images. Instead, they install wooden posts or clay pots as focuses for their prayers.