Ten Paintings of Prized Dogs—Frost Flower Hawk Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglioni), Qing dynasty
Lang Shining (1688-1766), born Giuseppe Castiglioni, was an Italian who became a Jesuit priest at the age of nineteen. When he was twenty-seven years old he traveled to China, where he offered his services as a painter to the Qing court. He served as a court painter during the reigns of emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong.
This painting depicts a xiquan (a breed of hunting dog) standing before a white-blossomed plum tree. The painting gets its name because of the dog’s frost colored fur and the way its vigorous posture evokes a hawk in flight. Lang Shining was adept at using Chinese painting tools and media. He combined these with occidental techniques for painting perspective and realistic shading, in order to capture the spirits of his subjects. His works thus feature rich coloration and highly lifelike forms.
Flowers and Plants [Bogu/Assorted Antiques] Painting Chen Zhaofeng, Qing dynasty
Chen Zhaofeng (dates unknown), who had the style name Mengqi, was a painter skilled in the flowers-and-birds genre. In the seventh year of the Guangxu reign period (1881), he was granted a seventh degree cap badge (a symbol of rank). He served in the imperial court or over twenty years, until he retired in old age.
Wisteria, peach blossoms, and other plants are tucked into the large, wide-mouthed porcelain vase on the left. The vase’s neck is decorated with a gemstone and lotus flower design, while its shoulders are festooned with a banana leaf pattern. Its body features cartouche openings filled with ink landscape paintings. Butterfly telescope goldfish are painted swimming among aquatic grasses in the glass fishbowl on the right. Wisteria, treasure vases, and goldfish symbolize auspiciousness, peace, and abundant wealth. This painting would have been hung in a palace during Chinese New Year celebrations.