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Ming herbal (painting): Pigeons
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About this work
Painting of pigeons in the meticulous (gongbi) style, in colour on silk, from Bencao tupu (Illustrated Herbal). The painted illustrations in Bencao tupu were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period). The explanatory texts were provided by Zhou Rongqi. The book was not completed: each volume was to have contained 14-15 paintings, but only 29 are extant. Zhou Rongqi writes: The pigeon/dove (ge) is also known as feinu (lit. flying servant). It is often kept domestically. The plumage can be of a great many different colours, but white pigeons (doves) are chiefly used for medicine. The flesh is salty in sapor, neutral in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It has the medicinal effects of dispelling wind, removing poisons and promoting the healing of wounds and lesions. The ancients used it to treat malign sores, mange (jiexuan), various types of drug poisoning, vitiligo (baidianfeng), liyangfeng (a skin condition), etc.