The lady stands against a bright green background with only a hint of physical setting. There are some ground lines at her feet with springs of red flowers and a simple stylized willow tree that curves around the figure. She stands with her body turning towards her right with her head in profile. She lifts a flower up in her right hand and hangs her left arms down past her waste. She wears tight lavender colored trousers with a diaphanous skirt covering them with a gold and colored brocaded scarf hanging down the center. Her breasts appear bare, but actually the blouse is also sheer, with a darker color at the shoulders and below her breasts. She wears gold brocade slippers and wide bracelets with black pompoms and rings, necklaces, earrings and a scarf hangs from her shoulders. A gold turban with a black aigrette crowns her. The portrait is framed with some gold and black lines and placed on a simple, buff colored border. An inscription in nastaliq‘ script is above the painting.
The high plateau of south central India, known as the Deccan, was under the rule of Muslim courts from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. Painters were summoned from both Persia and the Mughal court to serve local rulers, but once ensconced in the Deccan, they worked in tandem with local artists to develop a distinctive regional style. This profile portrait of a young woman with a flower in her hand adheres to a composition frequently found in Mughal painting, but the surprising contrast of colors—the play of lavender trousers against a lime-green background—is fresh and appealing, and completely Deccani in taste. The stylized sprigs of flowers scattered in the foreground create both a shallow space cell for the figure and a decorative pattern, while the arching willow branches frame her proud visage.
30.7 cm x 39.7 cm x 2.3 cm (12 1/16 in. x 15 5/8 in. x 7/8 in.)
A view of a village by the river. Two pine trees and several cherry blossom trees are standing by the river. Several travelers are walking across the bridge, carrying parcels and goods. The river meanders and leads to the mountains in the distance.
This landscape painting shows rounded green mountains receding into the distance and soft sunlight streaming through billowy white clouds. In the foreground, painted in tones of dark brown and green, there is a rocky formation and a small waterfall formed by a stream passing over the rocks. One tall tree with lush greenery stands on the far left and a smaller tree frames the scene on the right. In the central part of the painting there is a stone house and pond. A few figures are scattered in this grassy area and someone stands in the open doorway of the house. The background shows a wide valley extending into the distance. Spots of sunlight highlight areas of the landscape such as the waterfall, the house, tree formations and the hillside above the house.
Thomas Doughty was a well-known American landscape painter during the first half of the 19th century. This scene is an example of his evocative approach to landscape painting. Rather than showing a specific location, he constructed a scene of domestic tranquility within the natural beauty of the American wilderness. However, the cultivated land, with house, pond and human figures, is seen through the dark and wild vegetation of the forest surrounding it. Trees frame the composition on each side and lead the viewer's eye into the painting.
Vertically oriented. Ink on silk with silk edging. Three figures at a stream in a wooded area.
The two gentlemen seated beneath the tall pines are the famous Tang dynasty (618–907) tea connoisseur Lu Yu (? – 804) and his guest relaxing on lush grass under pine trees. Nearby, a young attendant dips a jug into the clear stream to fetch water for brewing tea. The environment depicted in this painting—the distant mountains, beautiful trees, green, soft grass, and a surging creek—altogether offers the viewer a sense of utopia.
This painting, attributed to the professional painter Zhou Chen of Suzhou, elegantly illustrates the popularity of tea drinking in sixteenth-century China. This painting is like an allusion to a poem on tea drinking by Xu Chao (? – 1211), a Southern Sung dynasty (1127–1278) poet:
Sweeping the ground and relaxing in the cool cleaning, the sun shines gently through the pines.
In order to abate my fatigue, tea is brewed from the fresh water in the rocky spring.
People are appreciating the beauty of the cherry blossoms and some are having picnics under the trees. Below the highland where the cherry trees and the people are, the land leads to the fields and hills in the distance. The sky appears to be red along the edge of the hill, suggesting the time as early evening.
These panels represent six of the twelve months. The panels each have calligraphy and a red seal in one corner. In each panel there is a bird and a type of plant, which are suggestive of particular months. On the top left panel there is bamboo, the bow of the boat with a small lamp attached to it, and a type of water fowl. In the bottom middle panel is a blooming sakura tree and a pheasant. In the bottom left panel is blue and white wisteria ans small sparrows. In the bottom right panel there is a willow slowly coming back to life after winter over a thatched building.
Depictions of the seasons have a prominent place in the tradition of the Kano School (the official school of painting of the Tokugawa shogunate) and Japanese art. Six-fold screens such as this, probably one of a pair, are meant to represent six of the twelve months of the year, with keen attention paid to the birds and flowers associated with each month. Although this screen bears Kano Tan'yu's signature, it was probably created by his studio or by followers working in this famous artist's style.
Painters were not alone in their masterful use of seasonal references—poetry also drew heavily on such motifs and exchange often took place between these genres, with poems inspiring painted scenes and paintings finding representation in poetic verse. The following late Heian (794—1185) and early Kamakura (1185—1333) period poems would have been part of the artistic dialogue that informs the motifs on these screens:
Spring is the cherry blossom
Summer is the cuckoo
Autumn is the moon
And in winter,
the shimmering snow is fresh to the eye.
Eihei Do-gen (1200—1253)
In the evening, the biting autumn wind blows through the field