3. Flowers and bird
The Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 A.D.)
Color on paper
128 x 64 cm
Very few flowers and bird paintings made before the 10th century have been handed down to this very day.
Flower and bird painting entered into a stage of great innovation and rapid development during the Five Dynasties (907-960) with the technique of drawing gradually attaining perfection.
Meanwhile, various schools with distinctive styles and features appeared. One was represented by Huang Quan (903-965), another by Xu Xi (937-975).
Huang has served as an imperial painter for many years. Drawing materials from exotic flowers and herbs, rare birds and animals that were planted and raised in the imperial gardens and palaces, his paintings were characterized by meticulous depiction and bright colors, and acclaimed as Huang jia fu gui (the Huang school’s characteristic magnificence).
Though coming from a prominent family, Xu had never entered into officialdom. Actually, either flowers, plants, vegetables, fruits and insects in gardens or water birds and fish in brooks were worthy of his brush. His paintings full of idyllic taste thus produced a fresh artistic conception, and his style was called Xu Xi ye yi (Xu Xi’s unconventional original charm).
The two schools have had an immense influence upon flower-and-bird painting of later ages. The drawing technique of Huang Quan was inherited by his sons Huang Jucai (933-?) and Huang Jubao (whose dates of birth and death are unknown), and developed into the well-known “Huang Style”. Xu Xi’s followers included his grandsons Xu Chongsi and Xu Chongju.
-The painting has been remounted during the Qing Dynasties and the external characters added at that time.
The above text is from:
Flower-and-bird Painting in Ancient China
Writer: Liu Fengwen
Formerly in an Italian collection.
Detail: close-up view of scroll
Detail: close-up view of bottom half