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Bird and Flowers Handscroll by Zhou Zhimian
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.07.07 16:04:36

Period: Wanli reign era of Ming dynasty (1573-1620)
Measurements:H.32 cm, W.700 cm
Provenance: Acquired upon a Government Notice

Zhou Zhimian, flower and bird painter of the middle to late Ming dynasty, courtesy name Fuqing, and Ru’nan, style name Shaogu, a native of Changzhou (modern day Suzhou). He domesticated various birds at his home, living with them day and night for observing them closely, which led to his well acquaintance with their poses, actions, thus he was adept at ink painting of flower and birds, the brushwork was known as “Manner of linking flowers and doting leaves”,the combination of gongbi (meticulous brush strokes) and xieyi (sketching thoughts), that is, painting boldly by outlining the contours of the flower with lines, followed by inking the leaves, and coloring, linking the flowers and doting the leaves, in the manner of boneless freestyle.

This ink xieyi flower and bird painting bears two seals in relief and intaglio respectively, Fuqing and Zhoushi Zhimian. The birds in diverse postures in the painting show that the character of underlining the sketching of the painter, epitomizing the painting concept of “sticking to lifelikeness in Xieyi style, keeping to exquisiteness in simplicity”, which resulted in the imposing flowers, grasses, plants, and birds in his painting.