Zhao Zhiqian Chinese

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Zhao Zhiqian focused his commitment to calligraphic brushwork upon the genre of flower painting. Such images, with their sumptuous colors and symbolic associations with beauty, prosperity, and good fortune, appealed to the tastes of the new urban consumer. Zhao often painted on folding fans, a format popular during the later Ming and Qing dynasties, when fans became fashionable accoutrements for gentlemen.

Peony, an image that connotes material prosperity and good fortune, introduces the boldness and simplicity of seal carving and early stone-carved scripts to painting. The forms of the blossom, leaves, and stem are artfully integrated with the curving shape of the fan.

Peony, Zhao Zhiqian (Chinese, 1829–1884), Folding fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on gold-flecked paper, China

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