Qiu Ying , (Chinese, ca. 1494-1552)
Ink and color on paper
H: 29.9 W: 729.8 cm
One of the most eye-catching structures is a typical Ming dynasty scholar's garden located to the left of a small wooden bridge, which a scholar crosses on his way from visiting the garden proprietor. The property is surrounded by a wall, a quintessential feature of Chinese garden architecture; bamboo, drawn in ink and colored with blue wash, grows inside the courtyard. Chinese scholars referred to bamboo as a "gentleman" and symbol of moral integrity, since its stalks always return upright, even after bending in a violent wind.
Beyond the scholar's garden (to the left), Qiu Ying depicted a tavern, with customers inside eating a meal. Farther to the left, a second garden is depicted with two scholars sitting on a terrace overlooking water. The red lacquer table visible inside one pavillion suggests the fine furnishings that most Ming garden owners enjoyed; its portrayal here is unusual, as many Ming artists downplayed the luxury of garden villas.
Best known for his precise, jewel-like landscapes, here Qiu Ying mostly used free, lively brushwork and soft colors. Later collectors who admired this painting noted the rarity of seeing a landscape by Qiu Ying with such a spontaneous style of brushwork.