Birds are an intimate part of people's lives. Whether found in mountain forests or remote wetlands, encountered on walks in urban parks or along the road, or seen around people's homes, birds appear almost everywhere we look. As a result, an appreciation of our feathered friends naturally becomes 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 (NPM) houses more than two thousand paintings in its collection on the subject of birds done in various styles and formats. In the past, the NPM has hosted several special exhibitions focusing on birds, including Song Dynasty Bird-and-Flower Album Leaves in 1984, A Treasured Aviary: Birds in Chinese Paintings Through the Ages in 2001, and The Sound of Many Birds, the Moving Nature of Each: Bian Wenjin's 'Three Friends and a Hundred Birds' in 2010. 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.), 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 exhibition catalogue was published based on the special exhibition Of a Feather Flocking Together: Birds, Flowers, and Fruit in Melodic Harmony and 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 categories of "Ripe Fruit Beckon Birds" and "Birds Sing of Floral Fragrance." Also on display in the exhibition catalogue are photographs of the birds, 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.
Languages: Chinese and English
Related network resources: Of a Feather Flocking Together: Birds, Flowers, and Fruit in Melodic Harmony