Mandarin Ducks at Peach Blossom Time
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.
This painting is a neatly executed work, although the brushwork lacks strength. There is a peach tree in full bloom and a willow swaying in the wind. A pair of mandarin ducks swim amidst this scene of blossoming flowers and spring warmth, creating an air of tranquil harmony.