Level III-Art Lesson 3: The Chinese 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:
- A Dynasty map.
- A Dynasty history.
- Learn about life in ancient China.
- The Qin Dynast lasted from 221-206 BCE. Find out what was happening in the rest of the world at that time.
- Learn how the horse was important to Chinese history.
- Play a game to learn more about China.
- The Forbidden City: The horse we are drawing in this lesson is a copy of a statue from the Ming Dynasty, the builders of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Enjoy pictures and a history of the Forbidden City.
- Watch a video about the Great Wall of China.
- Learn brief facts about the Great Wall.
- See Activity Village's educational site about the Great Wall.
- UNESCO has several brief videos showing spectacular views of the wall--just pictures and music, no commentary.
Terra Cotta Army:
- Learn about Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi and how his terra cotta army was created.
- Learn details about the terra cotta army.
- Learn 5 facts about the army and the emperor.
- Find a good picture of the terra cotta army.
- Watch 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.
- Watch 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:
- Color has symbolic meaning in China. What to advertisers need to know about color in order to advertise in China?
- Listen to music from the Qing Dynasty.
- Watch a dance from the Qing Dynasty. What does it tell you about the people of that time?
- Find a good source for finding Chinese folktales.
- Read the Chinese folktale, “The Seven Chinese Brothers.”
- Learn to make some Chinese letters.
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