Song Rozhi’s Sparrows in a Basket

reminded today of this beautiful painting, from a gazillion years ago –

Song Rozhi: Young Sparrows in a Basket: Tokyo National Museum

Image from the Tokyo National Museum — a great website and fantastic museum.

It is attributed to Song Rozhi, who was a legendary painter on the 13th Century, during the Northern Song Dynasty. At the time, the Emperor, Hui Tsung, was also a skilled painter and began a famous art school that was dedicated to careful painting from direct observation of nature. I’d wager that Song Rozhi actually was looking at a basket of young sparrows in order to create this image. But the emperor’s reign soon ended, as did the art school, and painting transitioned away from direct observation towards more fantastical subjects.

Those young sparrows certainly do have that fluffy juvenile look, feathering, and eyes. Whenever I see this image I wonder if it depicts the moment right after the basket was dropped on the ground?

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