The Five Purities

Yun Shouping (1633-1690)AD 1644-AD 1911

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan

Yun Shouping (sobriquet Nantian), a native of Wujin in Jiangsu, was gifted at poetry and prose, painting, and calligraphy. Especially noted for painting, he became known along with the Four Wangs and Wu Li as one of the Six Early Qing Masters. He originally excelled at landscape painting but later felt he could not compete with Wang Hui, one of the Four Wangs specializing in landscapes. He thereafter turned to the bird-and-flower theme, becoming one of the most renowned masters of flower painting in the Qing dynasty. This painting is a combination of plum blossoms, pine, bamboo, water, and the moon, representing the Five Purities symbolizing the pure and uncommon sentiments of a gentleman-scholar. The composition is divided into three levels; in the upper one is an old pine that crosses into view with a full moon behind it. In the central area are plum branches and bamboo luxuriantly mingling together, and finally below are rushing waters. The brushwork throughout the painting is mellow and peaceful, the ink tones tranquil as well. Together, they convey an incomparably harmonious atmosphere, making this a masterpiece by Yun Shouping in ink flower painting.


  • Title: The Five Purities
  • Creator: Yun Shouping (1633-1690)
  • Date Created: AD 1644-AD 1911
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: National Palace Museum
  • Dynasty: Qing dynasty

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