Flowers and Birds
Lu Chi (fl. ca. 1477-1497)
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 pinater, 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.
Mynahs and a pair of crows flit about the apricot and willow trees which sway in the wind. A school of fish in the stream swim together, and two pairs of mandarin ducks rest on the bank. It is the season of spring when flowers bloom and the air is filled with warmth. The signature and seals of the artist are not on this painting, but the composition and the brushwork seem to capture Lu Chi’s spirit. However, this painting is probably a work painted in Lu Chi’s style.