Plum Blossoms by Li Jishou, hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; Qing Dynasty


Chongshan Village of Guilin, established in the Wanli reign of the Ming Dynasty, had a Li's family that "cultivated three Jinshis and five provincial graduates", which was honored as "a family of ingenious artists". Among all members of the family, Li Jishou was honored as "the divine artist of plum blossoms" for his plum blossoms painting.  

Li Jishou acknowledged Jin Nong as his master of painting art at the age of eight. He planted several hundred plum trees in his yard in order to observe, sketch and paint plum blossoms well. Li Jishou firstly simulated Jin Nong in painting plum blossoms and established a style of his own later. This painting scroll of Plum Blossoms was created by Li Jishou at the age of 73. Vigorous, luxuriant branches of white and red plum blossoms twine with one another. The strokes are dignified, heavy, forceful and graceful; tree branches wind up and weave with each other. The ink color is graceful and mellow. The mottles of flowers and pistils seem like pearl and jewelry. The move in strokes is refreshing, vigorous and pure, which is filled with energy and vitality.