Old Plum Tree 
Ch'en Hung-shou (1599-1652), Ming dynasty
Album leaf, ink and colors on paper, 24.3 x 31.1 cm

Old Plum Tree         Ch'en Hung-shou, a native of Chu-chi in Chekiang Province, was a ?left-over citizen?? (loyalist) of the Ming dynasty. His works are noted for their highly personal and often exaggerated manner, which is why he is known as one of the Transformational Masters of the late Ming.

        This is the second leaf from Ch'en's ?Album of Assorted Paintings?? depicting the unusual form of an old plum tree that differs from that normally seen in nature. What is seen here, rather, appears to derive in part from the imagination of the artist. The trunk of the plum tree is contorted and rendered using mature brushwork, while moss dots in black and ochre were added to impart a sense of hardiness and age. The plum blossoms were painted in the ?circular-petal??manner using ?pai-miao??outlines, to which a background of light green was added to bring out the lofty purity of the blossoms.