Only Chinese version is available
Chicks searching for food
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper
104.3 x 34 cm
The paintings of artist Qi Baishi are distinguished by subject matters that come from everyday life, and he often incorporated analogies from vernacular literature or popular belief. For example, the Chinese believe that chickens possess five virtues: literary merit, martial arts skills, courage, benevolence and trust, so chickens and roosters were thus one of the artist’s favourite themes. In this painting, Qi Baishi brings out the benevolent side of the bird. That is to say, the chicken that is created by the artist’s brush is not just an ordinary bird, but the embodiment of traditional virtues for the Chinese.
The focus of the painting is a rooster, looking bright-eyed and alert, surrounded by five chicks that seem to be at its beck and call. The painting is executed in a carefree style, yet the few strokes for the tail of the rooster and the chicks reveal the dexterity and great imagination of the brushwork.
—Xubaizhai Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art