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Rocking Horse with Yellow Halter

ca. 1900 Unidentified carved and painted wood, leather, glass, metal, and straw 24 1/2 x 29 3/4 x 14 5/8 in. (62.2 x 75.6 x 37.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.89 Not currently on view


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Rocking horses have been around for centuries, but they took the form we recognize in the early nineteenth century. The earliest ones were hand-carved with leather saddles and reigns, real hair manes and tails, and metal stirrups. After the Civil War, many companies mass-produced wooden horses with new “rocking” mechanisms, which stopped the toy from moving across the room. Demand fell for rocking horses by the mid-twentieth century, but they have recently enjoyed a revival in interest.

Keywords

Animal - horse

sculpture

folk art

animal parts - leather

glass

metal - iron

wood