Autumnal Egrets and Hibiscus (秋鷺芙蓉)
Lü Ji (呂紀, fl. ca. 1439-1505), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
Hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk, 192.6 x 111.9 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei
Pink hibiscuses in full bloom on an autumn day appear on the bank of a lily pond as a willow sways in the breeze. With the white egrets, the scene expresses a radiantly beautiful and colorful autumn. In terms of composition, a large waterfowl (white egret) stands on the foreground slope, while the main tree (willow) extends diagonally into the scenery. Perched in the tree are smaller birds (tits), thereby completing a compositional format frequently seen in Lü Ji's paintings. The bird-and-flower motifs in this work are all done with brushwork of even and fluid lines without any stiffness. The brushwork in the tree and rock motifs rises and falls with variation, having both interruption and continuity. The hues are bright and beautifully straightforward, making this a representative example of Lü Ji’s sumptuous court style.