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Manual of Birds

  • Anonymous, Qing dynasty (1644-1911)


The original title of this album is "Collaborative Copy of Jiang Tingxi's 'Manual of Birds' " by Yu Sheng (1692-after 1767) and Zhang Weibang. On exhibit here are the first to thirteenth leaves.

On the right side of each folding leaf is a depiction in fine-line brushwork and Western painting methods for a different kind of bird, including some of legend and myth. On the left is a text written in Chinese and Manchu for the name of the bird, its habits, and environs, making it similar to a modern illustrated almanac of birds. This album employs the compositional forms and artistic methods of bird-and-flower painting to record the features and habitats of birds. The leaves, moreover, can be regarded as individual works of art. The unique ideas and contents in this album make it a rarity in the history of Chinese bird-and-flower painting, bestowing upon it exceptional artistic value.