Tapestry-woven (kesi) silk
38 1/2 x 24 1/2 in. (97.8 x 62.2 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913 (13.220.101)
While at first glance this picture of pheasants and a distant landscape looks like a painting, it is actually silk tapestry (kesi). Beginning in the Southern Song dynasty (11271279) and continuing into the late Qing, faithful reproductions of paintings were made in kesi. By contrast, tapestry-woven silks with decorative patterns were produced for clothing and furnishings. By the nineteenth century, kesi pictures show a change in technique: large areas are tapestry-woven in a single color and then details painted in. Here, for example, the river is a single area with painted waves and ripples.