Flowers and Birds Motif Paintings of Ming and Qing Dynasties from the Suzhou Museum
Starting with plum blossom,
Ending with chinaberry flower,
There are altogether twenty-four florescence winds
in Chinese lunar calendar.
Things grow and die as time goes by. During the life cycle, it is hard to take count of the exuberance of nature. Every year when winter comes to an end and spring comes to a start, wind blows east out of the blue. Varieties of flowers bloom one after another, and birds sing to each other. Their vigor and vitality 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 the 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.
There were two major branches of flowers and birds motif paintings during the Five Dynasties period, one led by Huang Quan featuring extravagant colors and the other led by Xu Xi featuring the simplicity of nature. After the Five Dynasties and Northern Song dynasty, flowers and birds motif paintings became one of the mainstream painting schools, with various styles and schools taking shape within itself later. 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.
We have selected 34 pieces of flowers and birds motif paintings for this exhibition. The painters depicted flowers and birds in various postures and states, either in extremely details or in bold but elegant manner. The audiences would be able to appreciate the charm of flowers while feeling as pleasant as in the spring forest.
骆绮兰 仿文俶荷花图 轴 纸本 设色
马荃 石榴绶带图 轴
缪嘉惠 桂菊鹦鹉图 轴
陈书 芙蓉桂石图 轴
李因 杏花双鸭图 轴
吴湖帆、潘静淑 花卉图 册