Plum Blossoms and Wild Bird

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Plum Blossoms and Wild Bird (梅花山鳥)

Chen Hongshou (陳洪綬, 1599-1652), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk, 124.3 x 49.6 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       A gnarled plum tree, its angular branches covered with blossoms and buds, spirals around a large ornamental Lake Tai rock, providing a fitting perch for a wild bird. This unusual bird is perhaps more reflective of the artist's own peculiar style than that found in nature. Strong, calligraphic strokes define the trunk of the tree, and the full, rounded shapes of the blossoms were done first with delicate yet firm lines of ink and then filled with colors. The details of the blossoms were delineated with white to give them a sense of fullness and volume. The texture strokes of the rocks are also animated, making this work seem both reserved and animated.

Chen Hongshou: Plum Blossoms and Wild Bird