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Two Birds on a Flowering Prunus Branch

Chen Shu

Asian Art

Chen Shu was a female artist who mastered a variety of subjects through the traditional approach of copying historic masterpieces. The inscription on this bird-and-flower painting identifies it as a copy of an original by Huang Jucai (933–993 or later), a distinguished Song dynasty court painter. Chen received prominent social status when her son, Qian Chenqun (1686–1774), served as a high official specializing in poetry for the Qianlong emperor (ruled 1735–1796). The imperial family adored Chen's elegant paintings, and her works were widely collected in the court.

MEDIUM Ink and color on silk
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 1706
    DYNASTY Qing Dynasty
    PERIOD Kangxi Period
    DIMENSIONS With mount: 63 1/2 x 20 in. (161.3 x 50.8 cm) Image: 24 3/4 x 15 in. (62.9 x 38.1 cm)
    MARKINGS Seals on lower right: Pair of square, intaglio seals: Chen Shi Qian Shu One square, relief seal: Shangyuan dizi
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscription on lower right: "Kangxi bingxu lin Huang Juzhai zhenji Chen shu" (Kangxi era, year of bingxu, after Huang Juzhai's genuine work, by Chen.)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. Ralph C. Marcove
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Painted in the Song bird and flower style, with two small song birds in tones of white and black with red highlights, perched on a flowering prunus branch in tones of white, red, brown and green with black details. Condition: Painting silk has minor mildew stains throughout. 4 1/2 in. repaired tear in silk at upper right.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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