Lu Chi (fl. ca. 1439-1505)
Lu Chi, style name T’ing-chen sobriquet Yao-yu, was a native of Yin County, Chekiang. In the genre of flower and bird painting, Lu initially studied the works of the early Ming dynasty painter, Pien Wen-chin. He later emulated the works of the T’ang (618-907) and the Sung (960-1279) masters. He eventually became one of the greatest painters of birds and flowers of the Ming dynasty. During the Hung-chih era (1488-1505), he was summoned to serve in the Hall of Benevolent Wisdom (Jen-chih Tien) in the imperial court. Lu served as a commander in the Imperial Bodyguard, a military unit that also provided sinecures for court painters.
Duckweed and fallen flowers float in the water. On the rocky bank two mandarin ducks are perched, one dozing while the other keeps watch. The brushwork is firm and orderly. However, compared to Lu Chi’s usual brushwork, the various endings of strokes are over-emphasized in this painting. Although the scenery appears to have been drawn casually, it is actually very thoughtfully handled.