|Hens by Zhang Xihua is a heartwarming scene of domesticity. The fowls are painted with sensitivity so that both the feminine nature of the animals as well as the softness of their feathered forms are emphasised. The setting of this painting is a detail from rustic village life - a pebbled yard where the hens are nesting in a timber enclosure. Chickens have often been agrarian symbols of family life and these ones are content within their safe space, looking out onto a sunny place. Zhang displays the strength of his skill as an artist in this apparently simple work. Using both palette knife and brush, the textures and colours of the elements of his composition are rich with detail. Although the painting is not large, it provides continual visual interest and a warmth of feeling for the viewer.