Of a Feather Flocking Together: Birds, Flowers, and Fruits in Melodic Harmony
Happy New Year!
A new exhibition on bird-and-flower painting just started today at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Birds have been an intimate part of people’s lives throughout history. Whether found in mountain forests or remote wetlands, encountered on walks in urban parks or along the road, or even seen around the home, birds appear almost everywhere we look. For this and other reasons, an appreciation of our feathered friends naturally became a popular leisure activity among many people.
In ancient times, painters frequently referred to birds by one of their most distinctive features—feathers. The National Palace Museum, as it turns out, has more than two thousand paintings in its collection on the subject of birds done in various styles and formats. As seen in those and the present display, many famous painters through the ages, such as Huang Quan (fl. 903–965), Xu Chongsi (10th c.), the monk Huichong (ca. 965–1017), Cui Bai (11th c.), Cui Que (11th c.), Li Anzhong (fl. 1119–1162), Li Di (12–13th c.), Ma Lin (ca. 1180–after 1256), and Wu Bing (12th c.), specialized in depicting birds and left behind masterpieces capturing the spirit and appearance of these marvelous animals, serving as most fitting reminders of their marvelous variety.
This special exhibition presents a selection of 31 works/sets of birds. The works, which date from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties up to modern times, can be divided into the two categories of “Ripe Fruit Beckon Birds” and “Birds Sing of Floral Fragrance”. Also on display with the artworks are photographs of the birds depicted therein, allowing audiences to closely compare images of the brush and camera to see how artists over the centuries observed the world of birds with great detail. In their quest to overcome the constraints of formal likeness, artists used brush and ink to engage in a dialogue with their myriad surroundings to express the emotions and creativity of heart and mind.
This exhibition is through March 25, 2019. The National Palace Museum in Taipei is open all year round from 8:30 to 18:30, or 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Address: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhishan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan
Source: National Palace Museum
Photo Credits: Wang Jiande, Wang Jiaxiong, Deng Guangyu, Su Chuanhuai, Lin Shenghui