Measurements: W.74 cm, H. 138 cm
Period: Qianlong period of Qing dynasty (1736--1796)
Provenance: Transferred from the Cultural Relics Team of Henan province in 1954
Zhao Jiuding, courtesy name Lan Chi, a native of Xinghua, Jiangsu province, was a famous royal court painter in the Qing Dynasty.He was famous for his paintings of orchids and bamboos. Often, his art appeared on hanging scrolls, and the artworks often featured painted orchids in ink, in a free handed style (xieyi). The painter’s signature was signed on the upper part. Zhao Juding, who had taken masters such as Zhao Mengfu, Zheng Banqiao, etc., as his mentors, painted orchid exclusively in all his life. The orchids he painted were simple and slender, but retained the elements of elegance and gracefulness.
Cymbidium sinense, one of the important genres of the orchid, also known as the New Year-Heralding Orchid, is one of the national orchids of China. In traditional Chinese culture, the orchid is often used as a metaphor for "the way of the gentleman", so later it earned its nickname as "the gentleman’s orchid". The orchid is also a symbol of nobility and loyalty, so "writing orchids" became a compulsory course for literati and painters. Through "writing orchids", painters boosted their aspirations, cultivated their moral quality, and improved themselves.