Flowers and Birds Motif Paintings of Ming and Qing Dynasty from Suzhou Museum
While the nature is full of mysteries, everything in the universe keeps constant change. Every year when winter comes to an end and spring comes to a start, wind blows east, and flora and fauna all come to life again. Varieties of flowers bloom one after another, with glorious colors or subtle fragrance. Birds sing to each other, some hovering overhead and some shuttling through at their own will. Either their vitality or serenity is able to arouse poets’ interest and fix philosophers’ attention on dynamics of nature.
As the old saying goes, the scholar would like to depict the graceful flowers and luxuriant leaves swaying in sunshine, wind or rain, either in blooming or fading, against the window of the studio. When he sets the writing brush to paper, he feels it intriguing beyond words. If we turn our eyes to the history of painting, it turns out that before the Tang dynasty, flowers and birds motif merely played an insignificant role in painting. After the Five Dynasties and Song dynasty, it became one of the mainstream painting schools, with various styles and schools taking shape within itself. To summarize, the Song dynasty scholars were good at colored paintings, while the Yuan dynasty scholars ink paintings. The Ming dynasty scholars represented by the Wu School masters were innovative in strokes, while in the mid-Ming dynasty, scholars turned their attention to more impressionistic style. When it came to the Qing dynasty, different painting schools made their respective achievements that some established their name with a delicate style while some unconstrained style.
Suzhou Museum has a rich collection of selected Ming and Qing dynasty paintings of flowers and birds motif. This special exhibition selects about 40 objects completed by great masters with different styles and painting techniques. The painters depicted flowers and birds in various postures and states, either in extremely details or in bold but elegant manner. We hope that this exhibition will give the visitors an opportunity to appreciate the charm of flowers and birds motif paintings and have a pleasant experience.