This painting depicts the ‘Three Friends of Winter’ (pine, bamboo, and plum), symbols of perseverance and the ideal Confucian gentleman. Each of the five inscriptions extolls the qualities of the Three Friends. The composition by Lu Shilian, in the upper right corner, compares the plants to virtuous and patriotic officials of prior dynasties while lamenting the lack of recognition they historically
received. Jin Junming and Zheng Fujiao inscribed, respectively, the poems “On the Twin Purities of Plum and Bamboo” by Ming-dynasty poet Jin Xibai and “Pines” by Tang-dynasty poet Li Jiao.
Born in Wuxian, Jiangsu province, Jin Junming (1602-1675) was a member of the Restoration Society at the twilight of the Ming dynasty. He was well regarded as a calligrapher and scholar in a variety of subjects, including Chinese classics, philosophy and astronomy. He also painted in his spare time and was known for his paintings of plum blossoms.
Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, Zheng Fujiao (1596-1675) was an educator, who participated in the Restoration Society, studied the classics, and passed the county-level examination in 1630.
Born in Suzhou, Gao Jian (1634-1708) was an able poet and a skilled artist known for his landscapes and archaistic calligraphic style.
Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, Gu Yin (1612-?) painted in the style of the ancients. During his life, he collaborated with contemporary artists such as Zhang Daxu and Wan Shouqi.
Born in Wuxian, Jiangsu province, Zhou Bangding (17th century) obtained official rank in 1664 during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor.
Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, Lu Shilian (c. 1636) served as Chief Minister of Imperial Entertainments in the final year of Ming dynasty. Lu withdrew from officialdom at the beginning of the Qing.
Born in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, Chen Mai (Qing dynasty) was skilled in poetry and painting, particularly ink orchids.