VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Lotus and Mandarin Duck
Lotus and Mandarin Duck
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The painting adopts the subject of lotus, the plant "emerging unstained from the filth". The graceful flowers are in bud, half or full bloom; the dew is on the swaying branches and unfolding leaves; the eroded limestone is sharp, solid and grotesque; two colorful butterflies are dancing in the sky; a pair of mandarin ducks are swimming on the water and breaking the tranquility of the green pond; a frog is crouching on a lotus leaf behind the rock, casting its greedy eyes on a beetle. All these details add vitality and taste to the painting and reveal the painter's keen observation and exquisite ingenuity. The strokes are elaborate but not stiff; the colors are thick but not vulgar. Marked with the good grounding in sketch from life and the method of varied and appropriate exaggeration, the clear and bright painting reaches a harmonious union of the contrasting changes like complexity and simplicity, sparseness and denseness, strength and subtlety. From the inscription and painting style, we could infer that it is Chen's work painted in his middle age.

History of the Object
Its inscription is "Xishan Laolian Chen Hongshou Xie Yu Qingyi Tang" (painted in the Qingyi Hall by Chen Hongshou, also known by his literary name Xishan Laolian). Under the painting are the seals of "Chen Houshou" and "Zhanghou", his style.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Ink and color on silk 
Measurements
183 × 98.3 cm 
Creator name
Chen Hongshou 
Creator date
1598-1652 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 
Function
Painting 
Acquisition
Acquired in 1953 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Palace Museum, Beijing 
Museum
The Palace Museum 
Credit line
Palace Museum, Beijing 

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