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     Birds have been an intimate part of people's lives throughout history. Whether found in mountain forests or remote wetlands, encountered on walks in urban parks or along the road, or even seen around the home, birds appear almost everywhere we look. For this and other reasons, an appreciation of our feathered friends naturally became a popular leisure activity among many people.

     In ancient times, painters frequently referred to birds by one of their most distinctive features--feathers. The National Palace Museum, as it turns out, has more than two thousand paintings in its collection on the subject of birds done in various styles and formats. In the past, the Museum presented several special exhibitions focusing on birds, including "Song Dynasty Bird-and-Flower Album Leaves" from 1984, "A Treasured Aviary: Birds in Chinese Paintings Through the Ages" of 2001, and "The Sound of Many Birds, the Moving Nature of Each: Bian Wenjin's ‘Three Friends and a Hundred Birds'" from 2010. As seen in those and the present display, many famous painters through the ages, such as Huang Quan (fl. 903-965), Xu Chongsi (10th c.), the monk Huichong (ca. 965-1017), Cui Bai (11th c.), Cui Que (11th c.), Li Anzhong (fl. 1119-1162), Li Di (12-13th c.), Ma Lin (ca. 1180-after 1256), and Wu Bing (12th c.), specialized in depicting birds and left behind masterpieces capturing the spirit and appearance of these marvelous animals, serving as most fitting reminders of their marvelous variety.

     This special exhibition presents a selection of 31 works/sets of birds in Galleries 202 and 212. The works, which date from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties up to modern times, can be divided into the two categories of "Ripe Fruit Beckon Birds" and "Birds Sing of Floral Fragrance." Also on display with the artworks are photographs of the birds depicted therein, allowing audiences to closely compare images of the brush and camera to see how artists over the centuries observed the world of birds with great detail. In their quest to overcome the constraints of formal likeness, artists used brush and ink to engage in a dialogue with their myriad surroundings to express the emotions and creativity of heart and mind. In this age when conservation is increasingly important, we encourage all to come to the National Palace Museum at springtime and appreciate paintings and birds to experience a beautiful melody of birds, flowers, and fruit in harmony.


Exhibit List

Title Artist Period
Apples and a Wild Bird Huang Quan (ca. 903-965) Five Dynasties period
Precious Birds and Auspicious Grain Huang Quan (ca. 903-965) Five Dynasties period
Bamboo, Rocks, and Lace-necked Doves Huang Jucai (933-after 993) Song dynasty
Pair of Mandarin Ducks on an Autumn Bank Huichong (ca. 965-1017) Song dynasty
Flycatcher and Loquats Xu Chongsi (10th c.) Song dynasty
Peacocks and a Loquat tree Cui Bai (fl. 11th c.) Song dynasty
Lycium Berries and a Quail Cui Que (11th c.) Song dynasty
Wintry Birds in a Snowy Scene Wang Dingguo (11th c.) Song dynasty
Bamboo and Shrike Li Anzhong (fl. 1119-1162) Song dynasty
Wild Flowers and Autumn Quail Li Anzhong (fl. 1119-1162) Song dynasty
Contentment and Delight of an Abundant Harvest Li Di (12th-13th c.) Song dynasty
Seeds Visible in an Open Pomegranate Wu Bing (12th c.) Song dynasty
Late Snow and Wintry Birds Ma Lin (fl. 1195-1264) Song dynasty
Sunbirds on a Gingko Branch Ma Shichang Song dynasty
Cherries and Yellow Titmice Ma Shichang Song dynasty
Sketches from Life Fachang (13th c.) Song dynasty
Sparrows, Bamboo, and a tree Anonymous Song dynasty
Duckling Anonymous Song dynasty
Yellow Bird on a Mulberry Branch Anonymous Song dynasty
Two Pines with Birds and Flowers Anonymous Song dynasty
Withered Lotuses and Mandarin Ducks Zhang Zhong (fl. 1336-1360) Yuan dynasty
Flowers and Birds Lü Ji (ca. 1429-1505) Ming dynasty
Flowers, Grasses, and Wild Birds Lü Ji (ca. 1429-1505) Ming dynasty
Sketches from Life Sun Long (15th c.) Ming dynasty
Pair of Birds on a Flowering Apricot tree Wu Bin (mid-16th c.) Ming dynasty
Plum Blossoms and Wild Bird Chen Hongshou (1598-1652) Ming dynasty
Wintry Sparrow on a Withered tree Zhu Da (1626-1705) Qing dynasty
Flycatchers and Waxberry tree Jiang Tingxi (1669-1732) Qing dynasty
Pair of Cranes in the Shade of Flowers Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688-1766) Qing dynasty
Two Bird-and-Flower Paintings Kakei Joshi (1840-1926) Meiji period, Japan
Pair of Quails Lin Yu-shan (1907-2004) Republican period