A Pair of Peafowl

A Pair of Peafowl


late 1400s-early 1500s

Lin Liang 林良

(Chinese, 1416-1480)

Hanging scroll, ink on silk

Painting: 160 x 106 cm (63 x 41 3/4 in.); Overall with knobs: 256.5 x 133.3 cm (101 x 52 1/2 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Collection 1964.242



A peacock and a peahen provide the focal point for this work that not only serves a decorative function but may also be a symbolic language to suggest officialdom. The detailed depictions of the birds, especially the feathers, are consistent with the Ming academic style, but Lin Liang transformed the customary colored images into ink monochrome. The swift brushstrokes of the bamboos and reeds and the "axe-cut" texture strokes in the rocks lend the work vigor and freedom.

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