Level III-Art Lesson 3: The Chinese Horse: Drawing the Horse’s Head
Learn to draw the head of a horse that tells us something about Chinese history
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 5 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
In 221 BC the Emperor Qin Shi Huang built the first centralized empire in Chinese history. However, what he is most remembered for is constructing the forerunner of the Great Wall of China, and for the enormous army of terra cotta warriors and horses that were buried with him. The horse used in this lesson is a copy of one of those buried horses that decorates the front of a P.F. Chang restaurant. The stylized form of the horse simplifies the task of drawing the horse’s complex form.
The lesson uses a colored background to make an elegant, regal-looking horse. Using simple drawing tools like the charcoal white pencil and the gold paint pen enhance the effect.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the horse's head.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 Chinese horse head warm-up (this is included with the lesson)
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- 1 sheet of 8 ½” x 11” red or other regal colored paper (make sure the color is light enough to contrast with the black marker)
- 1 gold paint pen
- 1 charcoal white pencil
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Social Studies: Learn an elementary version of the history of the Qin Dynasty by clicking here. For more in-depth details, see
The Forbidden City:
- The horse we are drawing in this lesson is a copy of a statue from the Ming Dynasty, which built the Forbidden City in Beijing. Enjoy pictures and a history of the Forbidden City.
Terra Cotta Army:
- Learn about Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi and how his terra cotta army was created
- Details about the terra cotta army
- 5 facts about the army and the emperor
- A good picture of the terra cotta army
- A brief video telling about the terra cotta army and how it was created.
- Another video about the army, how it was created, and what we can learn from the army.
- A Smithsonian video about the army and its discovery
- Writing: Find out about the history of the Great Wall of China or the terra cotta army and write about what you learn.
- Art and Music:
Travel Information: If you travel to China, you cannot use Gmail or Facebook in China without a VPN.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 25 minutes
- Finishing the drawing: 25 minutes
- Total time: 50 minutes