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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Hawk Pursuing a Pheasant

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Hawk Pursuing a Pheasant


Li Anzhong

Chinese, active mid-12th century

A white hawk swoops down but misses his quarry. It fixes a fierce gaze on the startled pheasant that cries out, trying to evade a second attack. The action in this tense moment unfolds against open plains that offer the hapless target no shelter. The signature at lower left is attributed to a painter active at court during the Southern Song dynasty, a specialist in “birds, flowers, and beasts.” Records also note that he was especially good at depicting predators hunting prey. This is the oldest Chinese painting in SAM’s collection.
Ink and color on silk
Overall: 43 1/2 x 16 in. (110.5 x 40.6cm)
Image: 10 3/16 x 10 9/16 in. (25.9 x 26.8cm)
Gift of Mrs. Donald E. Frederick
Provenance: Kuroda (Toyko); Kamakura, Saito (dealer)
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryBoston, Massachusetts, Fogg Museum, Masterpieces of Chinese Bird and Flower Painting, 1951.

San Francisco, California, San Francisco Museum of Art, Art in Asia and the West, 1957.

Munich, Germany, 1000 Years of Chinese Painting, 1959 (Zurich, Switzerland, 1960; The Hague, The Netherlands, 1960; Cleveland Museum of Art, 1960).

London, England, Arts Council of Great Britain, Arts of the Sung Dynasty, 1960.

Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo National Museum, Art in Tea Ceremony, Oct. - Nov., 1980.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Luminous: The Art of Asia, Oct. 13, 2011 - Jan. 8, 2012.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing [on view July 16 - Dec. 5, 2021].
Published ReferencesEnciclopedia universale dell'arte. Venezia: Istituto per la collaborazione culturale, pl. 304.

Tupper, E. H. "Birthplace: China." (Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1950).

Seattle Art Museum. Handbook, Seattle Art Museum: selected works from the permanent collections. ([Seattle]: Seattle Art Museum. 1951), p. 66

Benjamin Rowland. Masterpieces of Chinese Bird and Flower Painting: A Loan Exhibition. (Cambridge: Fogg Museum, 1951), p. 16, pl. V (a).

Lee, Sherman E and Wen Fong. Streams and Mountains Without End. (Ascona, Switzerland: Artibus Asiae Publishers, 1955: 2).

Sirén, Osvald, Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles, (New York: Ronald Press, 1956), vol.II: 87; vol. III, pl. 229.

San Francisco Museum of Art, Art in Asia & the West, (San Francisco, Calif.: The Museum, 1957]: fig. p. 23.

Myers, Bernard Samuel. Encyclopedia of World Art. (New York: McGraw-Hill., 1959): vol. 3, pl. 266.

Munich, Haus der Kunst, 1000 Jahre Chinesische Malerei, cat., 1959, #12: 20, 21.
Art digest Inc. Arts, December 1959:42, pl. 43.

Pallottino, Massimo, Guilio Carlo Argan, and Michelangelo Cagiano de Azevedo. Enciclopedia Universale Dell'arte, 1960.

Loehr, Max. "Chinese Paintings with Sung Dated Inscriptions," Ars Orientalis: The Arts of Islam and the East, vol. IV, 1961: 247.

Lee, Sherman E. "Chinese Landscape Painting," (2nd ed.). Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1962. Color plate 1, p. 137

Thwaites, J. A., “Ch. Looking Glass,” The Best in Arts, Arts Yearbook 6, New York, Art Digest, 1962: 46; ill.:47.

Goepper, Roger, The Essence of Chinese Painting, Boston, Boston Book and Art Shop, 1963, pl. 17: 108, 109, 113.

H. Trubner, William. Jay. Rathbun, Catherine A. Kaputa, Asiatic Art in the Seattle Art Museum: A Selection and Catalogue, (Seattle: The Museum, 1973): 172 #129; color plate: 58.

Loehr, Max. "The Great Painters of China." New York: Harper & Row, 1980: 158, fig. 77

"Eight Dynasties of Chinese Painting." Cleveland Museum of Art, 1980. Plate 19 ("Cottages in a Misty Grove in Autumn")

Tokyo National Museum, Art of the Tea Ceremony, Oct.–Nov., 1980: 47.

Cahill, James. An Index of Early Chinese Painters and Paintings: T’ang, Sung and Yuan. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980): 110-111.

She, Cheng 佘城. Zhongguo Shuhua中國書畫 = Chinese Painting. (Taibei: Guangfu shuju, 1981):vol.4, cat. # 15.

Suzuki, Kei. "Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings." Tokyo: Tokyo University Press, 1983. Volume 5 (indexes), p. 508. JM12-006, bird painting by Li Anzhong

"Calligraphy and Painting," Vol. 9 of 11, The Varied Brocade of the World of Tea (Chado Shukin). Shogakkan, Tokyo: 1984

Sung, Hou-mei. "Eagle Painting Themes of the Ming Court," in Archives of Asian Art, Vol. 48 (1995), pp. 48-63, fig. 4 p. 51

Toda, Teisuke and Hiromitsu Ogawa. "Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings: Second Series". (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. 1998): I-362 and I-261, A55-021.

Haiwai cang Zhongguo lidai minghua bianji weiyuanhui 海外藏中国历代名画编辑委员会. Haiwai Cang Zhongguo Lidai Minghua海外藏中国历代名画. (Changsha 長沙: Hunan meishu chubanshe, 1998), vol. 3: 93.

Fried, Michael. "A Hawk Chasing a Pheasant," in The American Poetry Review, Vol. 31, No. 3 (May/June 2002), p. 35

Fried, Michael. The Next Bend in the Road. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004): 17.

Deng, Ming. The Art Book of Chinese Paintings. (South San Francisco, CA: Long River Press. 2006): 72.

Sung, Hou-mei. Decoded Messages: the Symbolic Language of Chinese Animal Painting. (New Haven: Yale University Press. 2009): cat. # 1, illus.:10.

Waugh, Daniel C. "The Arts of China in Seattle." The Silk Road, vol. 12 (2014): pp. 137-152, reproduced p. 141, fig. 11.

Giuffrida, Noelle. Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E. Lee's Chinese Art Collecting in Postwar America. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018; p. 63, reproduced fig. 34.

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