瑞鶴 (Auspicious Cranes) by Emperor Huizong of Song (宋徽宗). 1112.
Born Zhao Ji (趙佶), Emperor Huizong was the eighth ruler of the Song dynasty in China. Since Huizong was the eleventh son of the former emperor, he spent most of his time in artistic pursuits rather than in political ones, so his ascension to the throne was with reluctance after the death of his ten older brothers. Although his political reputation was marred by inadequacy in state affairs and abdication among foreign invasion, he is still remembered as a talented calligrapher, painter, poet, musician, and patron of the arts.
瑞鶴, also known as Auspicious Cranes, is a brush painting accompanied by an inscription and poem on a silk handscroll. According to Emperor Huizong’s inscription, the image of a flock of twenty Manchurian cranes above his Kaifeng palace actually records a true event that was interpreted to be a good omen in a time of political turbulence.
For the last couple of weeks in my Chinese brush painting class we’ve been doing studies of rabbits. For some reason, all my rabbits look like they’re about to commit crimes, which means they’re either a) nefarious or b) in Queensland, where it’s illegal to be a rabbit.
Technical details: These are all done with ink and water and slightly firm mixed-hair brushes, no paint except for the mushrooms. The two compositions are done on a non-absorbent rice paper, and the three studies were done on a 50-50 rice paper.