Squirrel on a Pine Branch

Squirrel on a Pine Branch


Song Tian

(Chinese, active 1300s)

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

Overall: 119.7 x 66.4 cm (47 1/8 x 26 1/8 in.)

Gift from the Collection of George Gund III 2015.498


The squirrel on this pine tree branch glances toward a flying insect, the animal’s curiosity giving the scene an almost humorous note. Although the painting is executed in monochrome ink and the evergreen pine does not indicate a season, the activity of the squirrel and the insect suggest a warm season, other than winter. Squirrels do not hibernate, but leave their nests as soon as temperatures rise and the snow melts. Paintings by Song Tian are rare; the museum is thus in a fortunate position to collect one of the artist’s few extant works.

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