Lily, rock, and dragonfly

A garden rock takes up the key role in the composition of this fan painting. The four aesthetic qualities of rocks – thinness, openness, perforations, and wrinkling – are highly regarded among Chinese scholars, who have collected, appreciated, and painted rocks for over 1000 years. A rock is not only a garden miniature to the grand peaks in nature, but also an expression of the owner’s personality. As a balance to the ‘bony’ texture of the rock, the lily and the red dragonfly are painted in the renowned ‘boneless’ style (see also [EA1964.234]), in which the soft touch of a brush lends an almost transparent effect to the fragile petals and wings.


Further reading

Vainker, Shelagh, Chinese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2000), no. 2.26 on p. 230, illus. p. 231 fig. 2.26

Reference URL

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