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.
On the bank of a stream, day lilies bloom under a willow tree. Two ducks rest by the willow while a pair of swallows fly around above. The texture strokes on the trunk of the willow as well as the outlining method and brushwork in the lilies, willow leaves, and ducks all seem to have the feel of Lu Chi’s brush method but lack his grace and spirit.