White Hawk

Photo: Beth Mann

White Hawk

Xuande emperor

Chinese, reign 1426 - 35

The Xuande emperor was an accomplished painter of animals whose refined brushwork and colors reflect the polished manner of the Painting Academy. This inscription notes that he emulated the style of Song-dynasty artist-emperor, Huizong (1082–1135) and that he bequeathed the work to his Grand Secretary Yang Shiqi. Although these attributions are unlikely, the image engages us with its mysterious subject: a white hawk has spotted a moth that remains alighted on a flower even though it is falling and losing petals. Straining against the bronze perch and chain—artfully disguised within a flower bough—this beloved pet is thwarted in its instinct to give chase.
Ink and color on silk
Overall: 32 x 13 1/2 in. (81.28 x 34.29 cm)
Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund
Provenance: Howard C. Hollis
Photo: Beth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective, Dec. 22, 2007 - July 26, 2009.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing [on view Dec. 10, 2021 - July 24, 2022].

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