Happy New Year !
Mongolians celebrate the new year, Tsagaan Sar, on the second new moon after winter solstice. This year the 31st of January is the first day of the Year of the Wooden horse. In turn, this wonderful symbol became the basis of my takhi illustration for a greeting card, which the prototype is featured above.
The takhi (Mongolian) is also known in English as the dzungarian or Przewalski’s horse. It is an endangered species of wild horse, which was native to the steppes of Central Asia but died out last century. The only remaining takhi were found in captivity around the world. The takhi has been recently reintroduced to Mongolia from herds derived from a breeding programme involving zoo animals.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a rock art site in Central Kazakhstan (Terekty Aulie) which has countless takhi-like equids carved into the natural rock. Kazakh archaeologists date these images to the Bronze Age of Central Kazakhstan, circa 1500 bce.
More information about the rock art site of Terekty Aulie is found at http://basr.ac.uk/diskus_old/diskus11/lymer.html