Pien Wen-chin was named Ching-chao but used his style name Wen-chin as his personal name. He was a native of Sha-hsien, Fukien province, though his ancestral home was in Lung-hsi, Kansu province. He was the most famous bird-and-flower painter at the early Ming court, and his paintings are truly exquisite. During the Yung-lo period (1403-1424), Pien Wen-chin served in the Crafts Institute of the Ministry of Works, and then became a Painter-in-Attendance in the Ching-shen Hall. During the Hsuan-te period (1426-1435), he was appointed Painter-in-Attendance in the Wu-ying Hall. Birds and Flowers, completed in 1427, is one of Pien Wen-chin’s masterpieces in detailed, meticulous brushwork (kung-pi). In this composition which he painted from life (hsieh-sheng), Pien Wen-chin has depicted bamboo, plums, and sparrows which are full of vitality and emotionally-charged. For brushwork, he adopted the Sung dynasty court style of outlining the forms and filling in colors which are exquisitely beautiful and moving. Plums, bamboo, and one hundred sparrows are auspicious symbols.