Description Paintings of flowers, vegetables, and insects were produced in China as early as the Song dynasty (960-1279), and a school of painters in Pi-ling, not far from Nanjing, kept alive the tradition for centuries thereafter, turning out meticulously drawn and colored scenes. The variety of garbage, the interest in decay, and--especially--the inclusion of ants make this handscroll exceptional. It is possible to interpret it in different ways. Perhaps the painting was presented to an elderly man who is to be identified with the butterflies, soaring over the memories of a banquet that brings to mind a feast of the Immortals. Here the banquet is the man's long and successful life--his many children (the pomegranate), his good marriage (the lotus root), and his official position (the pink).
Provenance Dr. John C. Ferguson [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John C. Ferguson Collection Sale, American Art Association, New York, April 7, 1916, no. 231 [as Sung Dynasty]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, April 7, 1916, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] 此卷余展閱未得一二便欲絕倒因其運筆入神酷?形肖似非?于墨而得; [Seal] At end on separate mount.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1916
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