Album of flowers, birds, insects, and fish

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Artist: Bada Shanren 八大山人 (朱耷) (1626-1705)
Calligrapher: Fayi (late 17th century)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1688-89
Ink on paper
H x W (each leaf): 25.5 x 23 cm (10 1/16 x 9 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting


bird, China, fish, insect, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Provenance research underway.

In the early years of his secular life, Bada Shanren painted mainly for pleasure and often gave his works away as gifts. By the mid-1680s, however, his need for recognition and income drove him to become a professional artist working for hire. In addition to landscapes, Bada's favorite themes during this period cover subjects such as birds, fish, insects, flowers, bamboo, lotus, and other small plants and creatures. Throughout the decade, flat, angular brushwork utilizing the side hairs of the brush continued to characterize Bada's paintings and calligraphy. He also perfected his technique of layering ink by allowing the first application to almost dry before adding the next, creating a subtle texturing, tonal variation, and visual depth to his deceptively simple works.

Published References
  • Joseph Chang, Quianshen Bai, (Catalogue) Stephen Allee. In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren from the Bequest of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai. Exh. cat. Washington. p. 5, fig. 6.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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