Lang Shih-ning is the Chinese name used by the Italian, Giuseppe Castiglione. At the age of 19, Castiglione entered the Jesuit order in Italy as a novitiate, and his early training included painting and architecture. He was subsequently sent to China and arrived in 1715. His artistic skills came to the attention of the emperor, and he served in the inner court during the K’ang-hsi (1662-1722), Yung-cheng (1723-1735), and Ch’ien-lung (1736-1795) reigns as a painter. He combined his pervious training with studies of Chinese painting techniques to create a style fusing the best of both traditions. He excelled at depicting figures, birds-and-flowers, and especially dogs and horses. In this painting, three of the eight steeds are shown in positions almost identical to three in his One hundred Horses handscroll of 1728 also in this Museum. Perhaps these horses are composed of studies originally derived from the same sketchbook. Although the style of this work has been influenced by Western techniques, it is much in the Chinese tradition. Compared with Castiglione’s Eight Prized Steeds, the hooves of the horses are rendered without shadows, and the hills, tree, and slopes in the background have not been shaded. An imperially composed poem of 1759 indicates that this painting is dated to the same year, when Castiglione was 71.