Lang Shih-ning is the Chinese name used by the Italian, Giuseppe Castiglione. At age of 19, Castiglione entered the Jesuit order in Italy as a novitiate, and his early training included painting and architecture. He was subsequently sent to China and arrived in 1715. His artistic skills came to the attention of the emperor, and he served in the inner court during the K'ang-hsi (1662–1722), Yung-cheng (1723–1735), and Ch'ien-lung (1736–1795) reigns as a painter. He combined his previous training with studies of Chinese painting techniques to create a style fusing the best of both traditions. He excelled at depicting figures, birds-and-flowers, and especially dogs and horses. In this painting is a mountain stream flowing down to where pheasants and decorative rocks are seen. By and on the rocks are various flowers, bamboo, and spirit fungi. The subject matter is auspicious for the start of a prosperous New Year and an allusion to the expression "A Brocade of Spring Radiance" –hence, the title of this painting.
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