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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Culture: Chinese
Title: Swallow on a Hibiscus Branch
Date: 19th century
Medium: Fan; ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: Image: 6 7/8 x 20 1/4 inches (17.5 x 51.4 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund
Object Number: 81.081.001
Label Text: Four painters from the Ren family were active in Shanghai in the nineteenth century. Ren Xun was the younger brother of Ren Xiong, and uncle of Ren Bonian. He specialized in flower and figure paintings.

Brushed without outlines, in the "boneless" style, Ren depicted a swallow sitting on a branch of blossoming hibiscus. Swallows symbolize happiness, success and children. Hibiscus is associated with riches, fame and splendor. At the time of the summer solstice, a period associated with drought and intense heat, fever and disease, hibiscus is displayed to ward off evil.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.