Birds on a branch

Born in Fujian, Hua Yan (1682-1756) spent most of his life in Yangzhou, eastern China. He has been regarded as an important member of the group of eccentric artists associated with the Yangzhou School. Like other eccentric artists, Hua Yan is known for rejecting orthodox ideas about painting in favour of an expressive and individualist style. In this painting, Hua Yan abadoned the conventional method of depicting birds' static profile and instead focused on capturing the birds' different positions, as well as branches moving in a gentle breeze. The inscription reads 'In the wind above the field, groups of birds are twittering in the rain.'

Details

Further reading

Vainker, Shelagh, Chinese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2000), no. 30 on p. 54, p. 42, illus. p. 54 fig. 30

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