Flowers, Birds, and Insects

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Artist: Formerly attributed to Qian Xuan 錢選 (late 13th century)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 15th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 33.8 x 272.6 cm (13 5/16 x 107 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


bird, China, flower, insect, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)

To 1909
Riu Cheng Chai, Beijing, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Riu Cheng Chai, Beijing, in 1909 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 689, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Riu Cheng Chai (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Bamboo and a variety of flowers, including squash flowers, daisies, camellias, and dandelions, grow in a natural setting. Butterflies, bees, and beetles appear throughout the scroll. A warbler and a pair of finches cling to the flower and berry braches searching for small insects. This well-composed and executed painting, which is based on a Sung work, bears a spurious signature of Ch'ien Hsuan (c. 1235-1300).

Published References
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Paintings in American Collections. Annales du Musee Guimet. Bibliotheque d'art. Nouvelle serie. II Paris and Brussels, 1927-1928. pl. 128.
  • Dagny Carter. China Magnificent: 5000 Years of Chinese Art. New York. p. 154.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. pp. 192-193.
  • Helen Comstock. A Flower and Insect Scroll by Ch'ien Hsuan. vol. 100,no. 436 London, December 1937. p. 329.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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