Crane and Pine

Artist: Formerly attributed to Zhao Yong 趙雍 (1291-1361)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, ca. 1500
Zhe School
Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 153.5 x 94.2 cm (60 7/16 x 37 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

bamboo, China, crane, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), pine tree, plum blossom
Provenance research underway.

Manchurian cranes, with their elegant and dignified carriage, were treasured and raised as pets in China and often associated with mythical beings; eventually they became known as "immortal birds." Images of cranes and pines are immediately recognizable symbols of longevity, and, when presented together, convey wishes for a happy marriage.  As a group, the pine, plum blossoms, and bamboo form the "Three Friends of Winter," a collective symbol of the lofty scholar's moral character. This finely detailed ornamental painting typifies the professional Ming paintings that decorated reception halls in the houses of the elite.

Published References
  • Louise Allison Cort, Jan Stuart, Laurence Chi-Sing Tam. Joined Colors: Decoration and Meaning in Chinese Porcelain : Ceramics from Collectors in the Min Chiu Society, Hong Kong. Exh. cat. Washington and Hong Kong, 1993. p. 52, fig. 6.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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