Image: 13 1/4 × 21 13/16 in. (33.7 × 55.4 cm)
Overall with mounting: 13 3/4 in. × 27 ft. 6 5/16 in. (34.9 × 839 cm)
John M. Crawford Jr. Collection, Purchase, Douglas Dillon Gift, 1981
Not on view
Huizong was the eighth emperor of the Song dynasty and the most artistically accomplished of his imperial line. Finches and Bamboo exemplifies the realistic style of flower-and-bird painting practiced at Huizong’s academy. Whether making a study from nature or illustrating a line of poetry, however, the emperor valued capturing the spirit of a subject over literal representation. Here the minutely observed finches are imbued with the vitality of their living counterparts. Drops of lacquer added to the birds’eyes impart a final lifelike touch.
The prince of the Dao was gifted and wise by nature. In the art of painting he attained the ultimate in subtlety. With an ability almost beyond anything human, he could depict the essential character of plants and animals so that they were as though created by nature. In this scroll he has not labored much with ink and colors, yet all is spontaneous and right. It is proper that generations have treasured it. What good fortune for these insignificant birds to have been painted by this sage. Mengfu wrote this colophon with respect.
Gu Luofu 顧洛阜 (John M. Crawford Jr., 1913–1988) Hanguang Ge zhu Gu Luofu jiancang Zhongguo gudai shuhua zhi zhang 漢光閣主顧洛阜鋻藏中國古代書畫之章
Unidentified Xiashan Lou cang shuhua ji 夏山樓藏書畫記 Weixiao Caotang hua ji 緯蕭草堂畫記 Guansheng Tang tushu ji 觀生堂圖書記 Zhang zi Zhi An miji zhi yin 張子止菴秘笈之印 Yantian Zhang Xingjin jia zhencang 硯田張行津家珍藏 Yantian Zhang shi zhencang 硯田張氏珍藏 Yantian shending 硯田審定 Deshou 德壽 Deshou siyin 德壽私印 Wushan shending 午山審定 Ding 定 Zizisunsun qi yongbao zhi 子子孫孫其永寶之 Yi yi yongchang 貽翼永昌 Zhenmi 珍秘 Xishi zhi bao 希世之寶 Zisun baozhi 子孫寶之
 Translation by Shujiro Shimada from Department records.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peach Blossom Spring," November 21, 1983–June 3, 1984.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.
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New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 10, 2008.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection II," May 7, 2016–October 11, 2016.