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


The peacock, identified by the flamboyant tail, is paired with a female peahen to its right. In lowering her head, the hen seems to show respect to the male peacock.

With his articulate brushstrokes and strong contrasting tones, Lin Liang’s representation in black ink appears as vivid as Yin Hong’s colorful peacock (1974.31). The painter skillfully uses wet and dry ink as well as broad and thin washes to represent the plumage of the bird. The surface of the rocks, depicted in powerful sweeping strokes, recalls the landscape painting style of the Zhe School, which specialized in expressive brushwork.

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