Brocade of Spring (錦春圖)
Lang Shining (郎世寧, 1688-1766), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, 169.2 x 95.2 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei
This scroll portrays Chinese flowering crab apple in full bloom with a pair of golden pheasants (one male and the other female) perched on garden lake rocks by flowing water. The flowers form a brocade with exotic birds, auspicious spirit fungus, and bamboo all being metaphors to convey good fortune and longevity. The golden pheasant cock is shown with its bright and beautiful plumage, Giuseppe Castiglione using white lines to highlight the shine on its feathers for rich luster but without shadows for its form. The crab apple blossoms and spirit fungus are painstakingly colored with variations of light and dark as well. The landscape is rendered more with the Chinese use of brush and ink, but with exceptional attention paid to the detail. Even overlapping crab apple blossoms and bamboo in the background can be distinguished through the holes in the rock.