11 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object

Copyright
All Rights Reserved ()

Bird of Longevity on Pine Branch

Accession Number
1983/2.154

Title
Bird of Longevity on Pine Branch

Artist(s)
Ding Yanyong

Object Creation Date
Mid-19th century

Medium & Support
ink on paper

Dimensions
59 1/2 in x 17 3/8 in (151.13 cm x 44.13 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
Ding Yanyong
Chinese, 1902–1978
Bird of Longevity on Pine Branch
China, Modern period (1912–present)
Mid 19th century
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection
Fund, 1983/2.154

Longevity is a popular theme in the Chinese ink painting tradition. An old and twisted pine tree is often used as a metaphor for a long life, and it was cherished by Chinese scholars as a symbol of independence and integrity of character.

Ding Yanyong’s painting is a highly idiosyncratic exploration of this theme, apparent in the ambiguity of the figure-ground relationship (it is difficult, for example, to decide which is closer, the hanging branch or the main trunk of the tree), the sketchy depiction of the tree and bird, and the sense that the bird has been pasted onto the tree trunk. The bird’s odd facial expression would have evoked for a knowledgeable viewer the work of the painter Bada Shanren (1626–1705), an eccentric early Qing dynasty (1644–1912) painter who was acclaimed for his originality.

Subject matter
Ding Yangyong's painting is a highly idiosyncratic exploration of the theme of longevity, in which an old and twisted pine tree is used as a metaphor for a long life. There is an ambiguity in the figure-ground relationship through the sketchy depiction of the tree and bird, and the sense that the bird has been pasted onto the tree trunk. The bird's odd facial expression is also evocative of the work of the Qing Dynasty painter Bada Shanren. 

Physical Description
A bird is perched on a branch on the upper right with its tail extending to the left of the painting. The bottom right has a branch with a knot in the middle and a signature to the left of the knot. Coming down from the top of the print on the left is a pine branch. 

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Birds
bird-and-flower paintings
calligraphy
calligraphy (process)
hanging scrolls
pine (wood)
pines

5 Related Resources

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)
Docent Materials for Unrecorded: Imagining Artist Identities in Africa
(Part of: Docent Information From Training Continuing Education Sessions)
Chinese Calligraphy and Ink painting 
(Part of: Chinese calligraphy and ink painting)

& Author Notes

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