A finch, intensely focused on a moth, readies to strike its prey. It is perched on a plum branch whose fruit and leaves, like the bird and insect, have been rendered with naturalistic colors and impeccable detail. This style of painting, based on direct observation, is credited to the bird and flower painters of the Northern Sung Academy, especially as it developed under the leadership of emperor Hui Tsung (r. 1100-1125). These artists' small fan and album paintings demonstrate a balance of form, description, and decorative charm. Their technique rejects the use of ink outline and relies on the use of color alone (mu-ku or "boneless method"). The exact portrayal of neatly observed objects drawn from life persisted in bird and flower painting into the early Ming period.