White Peony and Rocks

Hua Yan Chinese

Not on view

Hua Yan worked in the prosperous city of Yangzhou at the time of the "Eight Eccentrics," a group whose bold idiosyncratic style extended beyond painting to personal attitudes and behavior. In developing the style of the early Qing masters Shitao (1642–1707), Zhu Da (1626–1705), and Yun Shouping (1633–1690), Hua made daring use of color, fresh realism in representation, and an unabashed display of brush virtuosity that made him a favorite model of late Qing and modern Chinese painters.
Hua Yan favored unorthodox juxtapositions such as the one seen here: suffused ink washes for the garden rocks contrasted with lyrical and perfectly controlled color tints for the delicate blossoms and leaves. In his inscription at upper left, he gives the Song dynasty sources for these two dissimilar techniques:
I follow Ma Yuan [act. ca. 1190–1225] in chopping lean rocks,
And imitate Xu Xi [act. 10th century] in plucking delicate blossoms.
The two masters' styles have their bitter and
sweet aspects;
Together they enhance the taste of my tea on the first
chilly day of autumn.

White Peony and Rocks, Hua Yan (Chinese, 1682–1756), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.