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Rong Jiang [Jung Chiang] 蓉江
(19th century)

“Flying Geese” 飛翔鵞鳥圖

Fan, ink and color on paper
17.3 x 53.2 cm. (6 3/4 x 21 in.)

Incription: “They rise straight through blue (sky) and clouds. Done in emulation of the brush idea of Bian Yigong at the Hall of Ying[?]. The above was copied by Rong Jiang.”

Artist’s seal: Jiang

A flock of geese rises from wind-tossed grass and reeds into the cloudy sky above. Touches of light color on the beaks and feet of the nine geese and sensitive strokes of ink to articulate the structure of their bodies set the birds off from the amorphous background sky and clouds and the giant moon behind them. The birds are varied in orientation and placement so as to suggest their movement and graceful passage through space.

The inscription mentions Bian Shoumin (1684-1752), one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, who was a famous specialist in painting ducks and geese. One can easily see the paintings of Bian Shoumin as a foundation for a present but Rong brings a sensitivity and softness to the subject that are all his own.

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