two birds fighting on a plum tree branch, Sotheby's, NY Lot 27

Magpies with Plum Blossom, 17th century

Not on Viewexpand_more

Birds could convey good wishes and greetings through the puns on their names, which conjure up verbal associations with lucky ideas. Xique (magpie), for instance, is an auspicious bird whose caw heralds the approach of good fortune. Its name in Chinese forms a pun on the word xie ("happiness" and "joy."). Together with the plum blossom, a flower blooming in late winter and representing renewal and heralding spring, the composition expresses a good wish: "Magpies herald the arrival of the spring" (xique baochun).

Magpies with Plum Blossom
Artist Life
active 1628-after 1668
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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two birds fighting on a plum tree branch, Sotheby's, NY Lot 27