Bird of Longevity on Pine BranchArtist(s)Ding Yanyong Object Creation DateMid-19th centuryMedium & Supportink on paperDimensions
59 1/2 in x 17 3/8 in (151.13 cm x 44.13 cm)Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundLabel copy
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
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 Typehanging scrollCollection AreaAsianRights
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