A Prunus in the Moonlight

A Prunus in the Moonlight

月下梅花圖

1300s

Wang Mian 王冕

(Chinese, 1287-1359)

Hanging scroll, ink on silk

Painting: 164.6 x 94.6 cm (64 13/16 x 37 1/4 in.); Overall: 260.6 x 116 cm (102 5/8 x 45 11/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1974.26

Description

This magnificent plum tree under the full moon is a masterwork of powerful brushwork and composition. The artist’s sweeping brushstrokes left traces of so-called flying-white (feibai 飛白) on the branches that, together with the delicately rendered white plum blossoms, appear as reflections of the bright moonlight.The large dimensions of the scroll suggest that it was originally hung in the great hall of a stately home, perhaps during the spring festival. Plum blossoms that bloom in early spring and resist the harsh frosts symbolize endurance in adverse times.

See also
Department: 
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 
Painting

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