Mynah Birds and Leaping Squirrel

Maker(s)
Artist: Hua Yan (1682-1756)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1730s-40s
Medium
Ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 134.5 x 60.3 cm (52 15/16 x 23 3/4 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1958.8
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll

Keywords
China, mynah bird, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), squirrel, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

Hua Yan apprenticed in the family business of papermaking, but ultimately became a well-known painter. He specialized in depictions of amusing, animated birds and animals, and developed a personal style of dry, light brushwork. Some of Hua Yan's paintings can be read as social commentary. This scroll may have been created as political satire, since a squirrel can symbolize a small-minded, greedy man who nonetheless achieves high position.

Most of Hua Yan's paintings incorporate a brief inscription. This combination of pictorial imagery and calligraphy is typical of eighteenth-century Qing dynasty style and is seen in both paintings and porcelain design. Artists in these two media also found common ground in the use of similar motifs.

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 251.
  • Ka Bo Tsang. Squirrels in Garden: A Painting by Hua Yen. vol. 14.2, Summer 1981. p. 10.
  • Howard Rogers, Sherman Lee. Masterworks of Ming and Qing Painting from the Forbidden City. Exh. cat. Lansdale, PA. pp. 94, 187-9, pl. 60.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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