Flowers and Insects

A work made of handscroll; ink and color on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of handscroll; ink and color on paper.


Qing dynasty (1644–1911), reign of Kangxi (1662–1722)


Chai Zhenyi and Chai Jingyi
Chinese, 17th century

About this artwork

This sensitively idyllic glimpse of nature is the collaborative work of two sisters, who resided in east coastal Hangzhou. The city’s mild climate and beautiful scenery attracted generations of intellectual elite. Fostered by that cultural ambience, both sisters became renowned as poets and painters, but their painting styles were quite distinct. Whereas Chai Jingyi specialized in semi-abstract images of nature that affirmed ideals of self-expression, Chai Zhengyi was most renowned for closely observant studies such as this. Depicted together with asters and Asiatic dayflowers, the fruiting wild rose (dog rose) places this scene in the autumn. Inhabiting this vegetation is a variety of graceful insects— the butterfly, mantis, locust, and other grasshoppers. Such creatures denoted the annual passage of seasons in early poetry, and from that literary tradition, became elegant and often allusive subjects of painting.

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Asian Art


Chai Zhenyi


Flowers and Insects






Handscroll; ink and color on paper


Artists' inscription: The ladies of Hangjun (Hangzhou) Chai Zhenyi and (Chai) Jingyi copied this together in the Frozen Fragrance Chamber


27.9 × 430.6 cm (169 1/2 × 10 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Samuel M. Nickerson Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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