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Title: Chinese Painters - A Critical Study
Author: Petrucci, Raphael
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:  1. There is one instance each of
                        Huang Yin-Piau and Huang Yin-Piao, and
                        Yün Shou-p'ing and Yün Chou-p'ing
                        so they have been left as printed.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHINESE PAINTERS



CHINESE PAINTERS
A CRITICAL STUDY

BY
RAPHAEL PETRUCCI

TRANSLATED BY
FRANCES SEAVER

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE BY
LAURENCE BINYON
OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

AND WITH TWENTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS IN DUOTONE

NEW YORK
BRENTANO'S
PUBLISHERS



COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
BRENTANO'S

_All rights reserved_

THE · PLIMPTON · PRESS
NORWOOD · MASS · U·S·A


       *       *       *       *       *


PREFACE


A translator can have but one aim--to present the thought of the author
faithfully. In this case an added responsibility is involved, since one
who had so much to give to the world has been taken in his prime. M.
Petrucci has written at length of art in the Far East in his exhaustive
work _La Philosophie de la Nature dans l'Art d'Extrême Orient_ and
elsewhere, and has demonstrated the wide scope of his thought and
learning. The form and style in _Peintres Chinois_ are the result of much
condensation of material and have thus presented problems in translation,
to which earnest thought has been given.

In deference to the author's wish the margin has not been overladen and
only a short tribute, by one able to speak of him from personal knowledge,
has been included, together with a few footnotes and a short bibliography
of works of reference indispensable to the student who will pursue this
absorbing study. The translator takes this opportunity to make grateful
acknowledgement of her debt to the authors named, who have made such
valuable information available, and to those friends who have read the
manuscript and made many helpful suggestions.

                                              FRANCES SEAVER


       *       *       *       *       *


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE


In Raphael Petrucci, who died early in 1917, the world has lost one of the
ablest and most devoted students and interpreters of the art of the Far
East. He was only forty-five years of age, in the prime of his powers,
brimming with energy and full of enterprises that promised richly. Though
he did not die in the field, he was none the less a victim of the war. He
had exhausted himself by his labours with the Belgian ambulances at La
Panne, for Belgium was his adopted country. He had a house in Brussels,
filled with a collection of Chinese and Japanese art, and a little cottage
near the coast just over the borders of Holland. He came of the great and
ancient Sienese family of the Petrucci, but his mother was French and he
spent much of his earlier life in Paris, before settling in Brussels and
marrying one of the daughters of the painter Verwée. He had also spent
some time in Russia. In Brussels he was attached to the Institut Solvay.

He was a man of science, a student of and writer on sociology and biology.
He lectured on art and had a knowledge of the art of the world which few
men in Europe rivalled. He wrote a philosophic novel, _La Porte de l'Amour
et de la Mort_, which has run through several editions. He published a
book on Michelangelo's poetry. At the same time he was a scientific
engineer. When war broke out Petrucci was on his way home from Italy,
where he had been engaged, I believe, on some large engineering project
and he only got out of Switzerland into France by the last train which
left Basle. He came to England for a time, looking after a number of
Belgian refugees, including some very distinguished artists. At the end of
1914 he was engaged by the India office to do some valuable work in London
on the collection of Chinese and Tibetan paintings brought back from
Tun-huang by Sir Aurel Stein. He then worked at La Panne for the Belgian
army hospital (he had had a medical training in his youth), went to
Provence for a rest, fell ill and died in Paris after an operation.

Raphael Petrucci was a man who seemed to reincarnate the boundless
curiosity and the various ability of the men of the Italian Renaissance.
But for some years before his death he had concentrated his powers chiefly
on the study of Oriental art, of the Chinese language, and of Buddhist
iconography. His most important work in this line is _La Philosophie de la
Nature dans l'Art d'Extrême Orient_, a sumptuously printed folio published
by Laurens in Paris, with illustrations by the _Kokka_ Company, and
written with as much charm as insight. Petrucci's knowledge of Chinese
gave him an authority in interpreting Chinese art which writers on the
subject have rarely combined with so much understanding of art in
general, though as a connoisseur he was sometimes over-sanguine. His
translation from a classic of Chinese art-criticism, originally published
in a learned magazine, has lately appeared in book form. With his friend,
Professor Chavannes, whose death, also in the prime of life, we have had
to deplore still more recently, Petrucci edited the first volume of the
splendid series _Ars Asiatica_. The present work, intended for the general
reader and lover of art, illustrates his gift for luminous condensation
and the happy treatment of a large theme.

A man of winning manners, a most generous and loyal friend, Petrucci wore
his manifold learning lightly; with immense energy and force of character,
he was simple and warm-hearted and interested in the small things as well
as the great things of life.

                                              LAURENCE BINYON

BRITISH MUSEUM
October, 1919


       *       *       *       *       *


CONTENTS
                                                             PAGE

PREFACE BY THE TRANSLATOR                                       5

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE BY LAURENCE BINYON                            7

INTRODUCTION                                                   15


PART ONE. TECHNIQUE

   I. EQUIPMENT OF THE PAINTER                                 21

  II. REPRESENTATION OF FORMS                                  26

 III. DIVISION OF SUBJECTS                                     33

  IV. INSPIRATION                                              38


PART TWO. THE EVOLUTION OF CHINESE PAINTING

   I. ORIGINS                                                  45

  II. BEFORE THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM                      46

 III. THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM                             54

  IV. THE T'ANG PERIOD--7TH TO 10TH CENTURIES                  58

   V. THE SUNG PERIOD--10TH TO 13TH CENTURIES                  72

  VI. THE YÜAN PERIOD--13TH AND 14TH CENTURIES                 92

 VII. THE MING PERIOD--14TH TO 17TH CENTURIES                 114

VIII. THE CH'ING PERIOD--17TH TO 20TH CENTURIES               131

CONCLUSION                                                    140

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                  149

INDEX OF PAINTERS AND PERIODS                                 151


       *       *       *       *       *


ILLUSTRATIONS
                                                             PAGE

    I. Sculptured stones of the Han dynasty. Second to
          third centuries. Rubbings taken by the
          Chavannes expedition                                 23

   II. Portion of a scroll by Ku K'ai-chih. British
          Museum, London                                       27

  III. Kwanyin. Eighth to tenth centuries. Painting
          brought from Tun-huang by the Pelliot expedition.
          The Louvre, Paris                                    31

   IV. Palace of Kiu Cheng-kung by Li Chao-tao. T'ang
          period. Collection of V. Goloubew                    34

    V. Portrait of Lü Tung-ping by T'êng Ch'ang-yu.
          T'ang period. Collection of August Jaccaci.
          Lent to the Metropolitan Museum, New York.[A]        39

   VI. Painting by an unknown artist. T'ang period.
          Collection of R. Petrucci                            47

  VII. Geese. Sung period. British Museum, London              51

 VIII. White Eagle. Sung period. Collection of R. Petrucci     59

   IX. Horseman followed by two attendants. Sung
          period. Collection of A. Stoclet                     63

    X. Landscape in the style of Hsia Kuei. Sung period.
          Collection of Martin White                           67

   XI. Landscape by Ma Lin. Sung period. Collection
          of R. Petrucci                                       73

  XII. Mongol horseman returning from the Hunt, by Chao
          Mêng-fu. Yüan period. Doucet collection              77

 XIII. Pigeons by Ch'ien Hsüan. Yüan period. Collection
          of R. Petrucci                                       85

  XIV. Bamboos in monochrome by Wu Chên. Yüan
          period. Musée Guimet                                 93

   XV. Paintings of the Yüan or early Ming period. Style
          of the Northern School. Collection of R. Petrucci    97

  XVI. Portrait of a priest. Yüan or early Ming period.
          Collection of H. Rivière                            101

 XVII. Horse. Painting by an unknown artist. Yüan or
          early Ming period. Doucet collection                105

XVIII. Visit to the Emperor by the Immortals from on
          high. Ming period. British Museum, London           109

XIX. Egrets by Lin Liang. Ming period. Collection of
          Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Junior                    115

XX. Flowers and Insects. Ming period. Collection of
          R. Petrucci                                         119

XXI. Landscape. Ming period. Bouasse-Lebel collection         125

XXII. Beauty inhaling the fragrance of a peony. Ming
          period. Collection of V. Goloubew                   133

XXIII. Halt of the Imperial Hunt. Ming period. Sixteenth
          century. Collection of R. Petrucci                  137

XXIV. Painting by Chang Cheng. Eighteenth century.
          Collection of M. Worch                              141

XXV. Tiger in a Pine Forest. Eighteenth to nineteenth
          centuries. Collection of V. Goloubew                145

  [A] Now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss.


       *       *       *       *       *


INTRODUCTION


Whatever its outward expression, human thought remains essentially
unchanged and, throughout all of its manifestations, is fundamentally the
same. Varying phases are but accidents and underneath the divers wrappings
of historic periods or different civilizations, the heart as well as the
mind of man has been moved by the same desires.

Art possesses a unity like that of nature. It is profound and stirring,
precisely because it blends and perpetuates feeling and intelligence by
means of outward expressions. Of all human achievements art is the most
vital, the one that is dowered with eternal youth, for it awakens in the
soul emotions which neither time nor civilization has ever radically
altered. Therefore, in commencing the study of an art of strange
appearance, what we must seek primarily is the exact nature of the
complexity of ideas and feelings upon which it is based. Such is the
task presented to us, and since the problem which we here approach is
the general study of Chinese painting, we must prepare ourselves first
to master the peculiarities of its appearance and technique, in order
to understand later on the motives which inspired it.

While the first part of this study will carry us far from our habitual
modes of thought, the second part will bring us back into a domain which
our own philosophies, sciences and arts have already made familiar.
Admittedly, Chinese painting is governed by distinctive ideas. Born of a
civilization vastly different from our own, it may at times appear in a
guise that seems incomprehensible. It would be astonishing, however, if
Western intelligence were unable to grasp an aesthetic code of a magnitude
which is too great to be ignored.

The progress of history and of criticism has given us the opportunity to
reach a comprehension of the most peculiar formulas. Our culture is
sufficiently broad to allow us to perceive the beauty of an Egyptian
fresco or an Assyrian bas-relief as well as of a Byzantine mosaic or a
painting of the Renaissance. We have therefore no excuse for remaining
inaccessible to the art of the Far East and we have surely all the mental
vigor that is requisite in order to accustom ourselves to the foreign
nature of its presentation. It is in the realm of painting that this
foreign element is most noticeable. This is due partly to a special
technique and partly to the nature of the doctrines which serve as its
inspiration.

It behooves us then to acquaint ourselves with these new aspects of the
human soul. That is the justification for this little book. It forms an
introduction in which gaps are shown without attempt at concealment and
is presented in all modesty.


       *       *       *       *       *


PART ONE
TECHNIQUE

I. EQUIPMENT OF THE PAINTER


Where our painters have chosen wood or canvas as a ground, the Chinese
have employed silk or paper. While our art recognizes that drawing itself,
quite apart from painting, is a sufficient objective, drawing and painting
have always been closely intermingled in the Far East. While the mediums
used in Europe for painting in color, distemper, tempera and oil, led to
an exact study of form, the colors employed by the Orientals--at times
brilliant, at times subdued with an almost studied restraint--preserved a
singular fluidity and lent themselves to undefined evanescences which gave
them a surprising charm.

The early paintings were generally done on cotton, coarse silk or paper.
In the eighth century, under the T'ang dynasty, the use of finer silk
began. The dressing was removed with boiling water, the silk was then
sized and smoothed with a paddle. The use of silken fabric of the finest
weave, prepared with a thick sizing, became general during the Sung
dynasty. Papers were made of vegetable fibres, principally of bamboo.
Being prepared, as was the silk, with a sizing of alum, they became
practically indestructible. Upon these silks and papers the painter
worked with brush and Chinese ink,[1] color being introduced with more
or less freedom or restraint.

The brushes are of different types. Each position of the brush conforms
to a specific quality of the line, either sharp and precise or broad and
quivering, the ink spreading in strong touches or thinning to delicate
shades.

The colors are simple, of mineral or vegetable origin. Chinese painters
have always avoided mixing colors so far as possible. From malachite they
obtained several shades of green, from cinnabar or sulphide of mercury, a
number of reds. They knew also how to combine mercury, sulphur and potash
to produce vermilion. From peroxide of mercury they drew coloring powders
which furnished shades ranging from brick red to orange yellow. During the
T'ang dynasty coral was ground to secure a special red, while white was
extracted from burnt oyster shells. White lead was later substituted for
this lime white. Carmine lake they obtained from madder, yellows from
the sap of the rattan, blues from indigo. To these must be added the
different shades of Chinese ink and lastly, gold in leaf and in powder.

  [1] Chinese ink is a very different composition from the ink of
  Western countries. It is a solid made of soot obtained by burning
  certain plants, which is then combined with glue or oil and moulded
  into a cake and dried. Other ingredients may be added to produce sheen
  or a dead finish. It improves with age if properly kept. The cake is
  moistened and rubbed on a slab, and the ink thus obtained must be used
  in a special way and with special care to produce the full
  effect.--TRANSLATOR.

  [Illustration: PLATE I. SCULPTURED STONES OF THE HAN DYNASTY
  Second to Third Centuries. Rubbings taken by the Chavannes Expedition.]

The brush-stroke in the painting of the Far East is of supreme importance.
We know that this could not be otherwise if we recall that the characters
in Chinese writing are ideographs, not actually _written_, but rather
_drawn_. The stroke is not a mere formal, lifeless sign. It is an
expression in which is reflected the beauty of the thought that inspired
it as well as the quality of the soul of him who gives it form. In
writing, as in painting, it reveals to us the character and the conception
of its author. Placed at the service of certain philosophical ideas, which
will be set forth later on, this technique was bound to lead to a special
code of Aesthetics. The painter seeks to suggest with an unbroken line the
fundamental character of a form. His endeavor, in this respect, is to
simplify the objective images of the world to the extreme, replacing them
with ideal images, which prolonged meditation shall have freed from every
non-essential. It may therefore be readily understood how the brush-stroke
becomes so personal a thing, that in itself it serves to reveal the hand
of the master. There is no Chinese book treating of painting which does
not discuss and lay stress upon the value of its aesthetic code.



II. REPRESENTATION OF FORMS


It has often been said that in Chinese painting, as in Japanese painting,
perspective is ignored. Nothing is further from the truth. This error
arises from the fact that we have confused one system of perspective with
perspective as a whole. There are as many systems of perspective as there
are conventional laws for the representation of space.

The practice of drawing and painting offers the student the following
problem in descriptive geometry: _to represent the three dimensions of
space by means of a plane surface of two dimensions_. The Egyptians and
Assyrians solved this problem by throwing down vertical objects upon one
plane, which demands a great effort of abstraction on the part of the
observer. European perspective, built up in the fifteenth century upon
the remains of the geometric knowledge of the Greeks, is based on the
monocular theory used by the latter. In this system, it is assumed that
the picture is viewed with the eye fixed on a single point. Therefore
the conditions of foreshortening--or distorting the actual dimensions
according to the angle from which they are seen--are governed by placing
in harmony the distance of the eye from the scheme of the picture, the
height of the eye in relation to the objects to be depicted, and the
relative position of these objects with reference to the surface employed.

  [Illustration: PLATE II. PORTION OF A SCROLL BY KU K'AI-CHIH
  British Museum, London.]

But, in assuming that the picture is viewed with the eye fixed on a single
point, we put ourselves in conditions which are not those of nature. The
European painter must therefore compromise with the exigencies of
binocular vision, modify the too abrupt fading of forms and, in fine,
evade over-exact principles. Thus he arrives at a _perspective de
sentiment_, which is the one used by our masters.

Chinese perspective was formulated long before that of the Europeans and
its origins are therefore different. It was evolved in an age when the
method of superimposing different registers to indicate different planes
was still being practiced in bas-reliefs. The succession of planes, one
above the other, when codified, led to a system that was totally different
from our monocular perspective. It resulted in a perspective as seen from
a height. No account is taken of the habitual height of the eye in
relation to the picture. The line of the horizon is placed very high,
parallel lines, instead of joining at the horizon, remain parallel, and
the different planes range one above the other in such a way that the
glance embraces a vast space. Under these conditions, the picture becomes
either high and narrow--a hanging picture--to show the successive planes,
or broad in the form of a scroll, unrolling to reveal an endless
panorama. These are the two forms best known under their Japanese names
of _kakemono_ and _makimono_.[2]

But the Chinese painter must attenuate the forms where they are parallel,
give a natural appearance to their position on different levels and
consider the degree of their reduction demanded by the various planes.
Even he must compromise with binocular vision and arrive at a _perspective
de sentiment_ which, like our own, while scientifically false, is
artistically true. To this linear perspective is added moreover an
atmospheric perspective.

Having elected from a very early time to paint in monochrome, Chinese
painters were led by the nature of this medium to seek to express
atmospheric perspective by means of tone values and harmony of shading
instead of by color. Thus they were familiar with chiaroscuro before the
European painters. Wang Wei established the principles of atmospheric
perspective in the eighth century. He explains how tints are graded, how
the increasing thickness of layers of air deprives distant objects of
their true coloring, substituting a bluish tinge, and how forms become
indistinct in proportion as their distance from the observer increases.
His testimony in this respect is similar to that of Leonardo da Vinci in
his "Treatise on Painting."

  [2] The Chinese terms are _Li Chou_ for a vertical painting and
  _Hêng P'i_ for a horizontal painting.--TRANSLATOR.

  [Illustration: PLATE III. KWANYIN. EIGHTH TO TENTH CENTURIES
  Painting brought from Tun-huang by the Pelliot Expedition.
  The Louvre, Paris.]



III. DIVISION OF SUBJECTS


The Chinese divide the subjects of painting into four principal classes,
as follows:

          Landscape.
          Man and Objects.
          Flowers and Birds.
          Plants and Insects.

Nowhere do we see a predominant place assigned to the drawing or painting
of the human figure. This alone is sufficient to mark the wide difference
between Chinese and European painting.

The exact name for _Landscape_ is translated by the words _mountain and
water picture_. They recall the ancient conception of Creation on which
the Oriental system of the world is founded. The mountain exemplifies the
teeming life of the earth. It is threaded by veins wherein waters
continuously flow. Cascades, brooks and torrents are the outward evidence
of this inner travail. By its own superabundance of life, it brings forth
clouds and arrays itself in mists, thus being a manifestation of the two
principles which rule the life of the universe.

The second class, _Man and Objects_, must be understood principally as
concerning man, his works, his belongings, and, in a general sense, all
things created by the hand of man, in combination with landscape. This was
the convention in early times when the first painters whose artistic
purpose can be formulated with certainty, portrayed the history of the
legendary beings of Taoism,--the genii and fairies dwelling amidst an
imaginary Nature. The records tell us, to be sure, that the early masters
painted portraits, but it was at a later period that _Man and Objects_
composed a class distinct from _Landscape_, a period responsible for those
ancestral portraits painted after death, which are almost always
attributable to ordinary artisans. Earlier they endeavored to apply to
figure painting the methods, technique and laws established for an
ensemble in which the thought of nature predominated. Special rules
bearing on this subject are sometimes found of a very early date but there
is no indication that they were collected into a definite system until the
end of the seventeenth century. Up to the present time our only knowledge
of their content is through a small treatise published at the beginning of
the nineteenth century.

The third class, _Flowers and Birds_, deals with those paintings wherein
the Chinese gave rein to their fancy for painting the bird in conjunction
with the plant life associated with its home and habits. The bird is
treated with a full understanding of its life, and flowers are studied
with such a comprehension of their essential structure that a botanist
can readily detect the characteristics typical of a species, despite the
simplifications which an artist always imposes on the complexity of forms.

  [Illustration: PLATE IV. PALACE OF KIU CHENG-KUNG BY LI CHAO-TAO
  T'ang Period. Collection of V. Goloubew.]

This general class is subdivided. The epidendrum, the iris, the orchis
and the chrysanthemum became special studies each of which had its own
masters, both from the standpoint of painting itself, and of the
application of the aesthetic rules which govern this art. The bamboo and
the plum tree are also allied to this class. Under the influence of
philosophic and symbolic ideas they furnished a special category of
subjects to the imagination of the painter and form a division apart which
has its own laws and methods, regarding which the Chinese treatises on
Aesthetics inform us fully.

Finally, the fourth class, _Plants and Insects_, is based upon the same
conception as that of _Flowers and Birds_. The insect is represented with
the plant which is his habitat when in the stage of caterpillar and larva,
or flying above the flowers and plants upon which he subsists on reaching
the stage of butterfly and insect. Certain books add to this fourth class
a subdivision comprising fishes.

Lastly we must note that in the Far East, as in Europe, there is a special
class to be taken into consideration, _Religious paintings_. In China,
this refers almost exclusively to Buddhist paintings.



IV. INSPIRATION


The aesthetic conceptions of the Far East have been deeply influenced by a
special philosophy of nature. The Chinese consider the relation of the two
principles, male and female, the _yang_ and the _yin_, as the source of
the universe. Detached from the primordial unity, they give birth to the
forms of this world by ever varying degrees of combination. Heaven
corresponds to the male principle, earth to the female principle.
Everything upon the earth, beings, plants, animals or man is formed by the
mingling of _yang_ and _yin_. While the mountain, enveloped in mists,
recalls the union of these two principles, the legend of forces thus
revealed by no means pauses here. Fabulous or real, the animals and plants
habitually seen in Chinese paintings express a like conception.

The dragon is the ancestor of everything that bears feathers or scales. He
represents the element of water, the waters of the earth, the mists of the
air, the heavenly principle. He is seen breaking through the clouds like
some monstrous apparition, unveiling for an instant the greatness of a
mystery barely discerned. The tiger is the symbol of the earthly
principle, a personification of quadrupeds as distinct from birds and
reptiles. His ferocious form lurks in the tempest. Defying the hurricane
which bends the bamboos and uproots trees, he challenges the furies of
nature that are hostile to the expression of the universal soul. The
bamboo is the symbol of wisdom, the pine is the emblem of will-power and
life. The plum tree in flower is a harmonious combination of the two
principles. It symbolizes virginal purity.

  [Illustration: PLATE V. PORTRAIT OF LÜ TUNG-PING BY T'ÊNG CH'ANG-YU
  T'ang Period. Collection of August Jaccaci. Lent to the Metropolitan
  Museum, New York.]

Thus is built up a complete system of allusions similar to the allegories
of our own classics but superior in that they never degenerate into frozen
symbols, but on the contrary keep in close touch with nature, investing
her with a vibrant life, in which human consciousness vanishes making way
for the dawning consciousness of infinitude.

Buddhism goes still further. It does not even believe in the reality of
the world. In this belief, forms are but transitory, the universe an
illusion forever flowing into an unending future. Outside of the supreme
repose, in the six worlds of desire,[3] the things that are susceptible to
pain and death pursue their evolution. Souls travel this closed cycle
under the most diverse forms, from hell to the gods, advancing or
retreating, in accordance with the good deeds or errors committed in
previous existences. A stone, a plant, an insect, a demon, or a god are
only illusory forms, each encompassing an identical soul on its way to
deliverance, as it is caught at different stages of its long calvary and
imprisoned through original sin and the instinctive desire for life.
Whence we see emerging a new feeling of charity which embraces all beings.
Their moral character is felt to be the same as that of man, their goal is
the same, and in the vast world of illusion each seeks to fulfill the same
destiny.

  [3] These are: the worlds of animals, of man, of gods or _dêvas_, of
  giants or _asuras_, of _prêtas_ or wandering spirits, and of hells.
  Freedom from perpetual transmigration in these six worlds is attained
  only through the extinction of desire.

Behind the changes of the universe the Buddhist perceives the primal
substance that pervades all creation. There results from this an intimacy
with things which exists in no other creed. From inert matter to the most
highly organized being, all creation is thus endowed with a sense of
kinship that is destined to make a tender and stirring appeal in the
artist's interpretation of nature.


       *       *       *       *       *


PART TWO
THE EVOLUTION OF CHINESE PAINTING

I. ORIGINS


The origins of painting in China are mingled with the origins of writing.
Written characters are, in fact, derived from pictography or picture
writing, those in use at the present time being only developed and
conventionalized forms of primitive drawings. The early books and
dictionaries give us definite information regarding this evolution. But
while history bears witness to this ancient connection, we do not come
into contact with actual evidence until the third century of our era,
through the bas-reliefs of the Han dynasty, and in the fourth century
through the paintings of Ku K'ai-chih. Here we find by no means the origin
of an evolution but, on the contrary, the last traces of an expiring
tradition.



II. BEFORE THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM


The bas-reliefs of the Han dynasty are almost all comprised in the
sculptured stone slabs embellishing mortuary chambers and of these the
artistic merit is most unequal.[4] Their technique is primitive. It
consists in making the contours of figures by cutting away the stone in
grooves with softened angles, leaving the figure in silhouette. Engraved
lines complete the drawing.

The subjects are sometimes mythical and sometimes legendary. There are
representations of divinities, fabulous animals, scenes of war and of the
chase and processions of people bearing tribute. At times the great
compositions display imposing spectacles, a luxurious and refined array.
Now and then attempts at pictorial perspective are joined to some
unrelated scene.

All this is in direct conflict with the technique of bas-reliefs and leads
to the surmise that the models were drawn by painters and copied with
more or less skill by makers of funeral monuments.

  [4] These bas-reliefs have been studied by M. Chavannes in "La
  sculpture sur pierre en Chine au temps des deux dynasties Han," Paris,
  1893; also in "Mission archéologique en Chine," Paris, 1910. Rubbings
  taken from the sculptured slabs are reproduced here in full.

  [Illustration: PLATE VI. PAINTING BY AN UNKNOWN ARTIST
  T'ang Period. Collection of R. Petrucci.]

This impression is confirmed if certain carved slabs are compared with a
painting by Ku K'ai-chih, of which we can judge by means of a copy made in
the Sung period.[5] One of the scenes of this long scroll leaves no
possible misapprehension as to the pictorial origin of the Han
bas-reliefs. Its subject, a river god on a chariot drawn by dragons, is
similar in composition to the models used by the artisans of the third
century.

We have, however, better testimony than a copy made at a later period. The
British Museum, in London, is the owner of a painting attributed to Ku
K'ai-chih. The reasons impelling us to believe in its authenticity are
weighty, almost indisputable.[6][B] We therefore accept it here and will
endeavor to define the work of one of the greatest painters of China in
the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century.

  [5] This painting formed part of the collection of the ex-viceroy Tuan
  Fang, killed in 1911, during the revolution. It was published in 1911
  by the Japanese archeologist, Mr. Taki.

  [6] These reasons are set forth in a work which Mr. Laurence Binyon is
  preparing, to accompany a reproduction engraved by Japanese artists
  for the British Museum.

  [B] The preceding footnote refers to a work published in 1913 by the
  Trustees of the British Museum, containing a reproduction of the
  painting in its entirety and giving a full description.--TRANSLATOR.

The painted scenes are inspired by a work of the third century containing
admonitions addressed to the ladies of the imperial palace. The striking
characteristics of these compositions are the lightness and delicacy of
style, the poetry of the attitudes and the supreme elegance of the forms.
Heavy black tresses frame the ivory faces with refined and subtle charm.
The voluptuous caprice of garments in long floating folds, the extreme
perfection of the figures and the grace of gestures make this painting a
thing of unique beauty. Only through the cultivation of centuries could
such spiritual insight be attained.

If the copy from the collection of Tuan Fang recalls the bas-reliefs of
the Han period, the painting in the British Museum is related to the
bas-reliefs of Long-men, which date from the seventh century and of which
M. Chavannes has published photographs. Therefore we may say that the
style of Ku K'ai-chih exemplifies the distinctive features of Chinese
painting at a period extending from the third to the seventh centuries.[7]

  [7] A copy of an engraving on stone of the year 1095, representing
  "Confucius sitting amidst his disciples" and another representing
  "Confucius walking, followed by one of his disciples," dated 1118,
  have been published by M. de Chavannes ("Mission archéologique en
  Chine," Nos. 869 and 871). The latter is considered as having been
  undoubtedly executed after a painting by Ku K'ai-chih.

It should also be noted that toward the end of the fifth or the beginning
of the sixth century, the painter and critic Hsieh Ho formulated the
Six Canons[8] upon which the far-eastern code of Aesthetics is founded.
These Canons introduce philosophical conceptions and technical knowledge
which also presuppose long cultivation, for it is only after rules have
been brought to reality in a work of art that they are formulated into a
code. Therefore when Buddhism appeared in China it found there a native
art whose value was proved beyond question by a long succession of
masterpieces. After having exhausted every manifestation of strength and
vigor, this art had arrived at expressions of extreme refinement and
profound and appealing charm, closely verging on the disquieting dreams of
decadence.

  [8] Interpretations of the Six Canons by five authorities are
  accessible in a very convenient form for comparison in Mr. Laurence
  Binyon's "Flight of the Dragon," p. 12.--TRANSLATOR.

  [Illustration: PLATE VII. GEESE
  Sung Period. British Museum, London.]



III. THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM


Chinese books state that between the fourth and the eighth centuries "the
art of painting _man and things_ underwent a vital change." By this they
alluded to the intervention of Buddhist art, which made its appearance in
China toward the fifth century in the form of the Graeco-Indian art of
Gandhara, already modified by its transit across Eastern Turkestan. This
by no means indicates that purely Indian origins might not be found for
it. At Sanchi, as well as in Central India and at Ajantâ such
characteristics are preserved. But the Greek dynasties which had settled
in northwestern India in the train of Alexander, had carried with them the
canons of Hellenistic art. The technique and methods of this art were
placed at the service of the new religion. They gave to Buddhist
art--which was just beginning to appear in the Gandharian provinces--its
outward form, its type of figures, its range of personages and the greater
part of its ornamentation.[9]

  [9] See Foucher, "L'Art gréco-bouddique du Gandhara." Paris, Leroux.

Buddhism found the expiring Hellenistic formula which had been swept
beyond its borders, ready at hand at the very moment the new religion was
gathering itself together for that prodigious journey which, traversing
the entire Far East, was to lead it to the shores of the Pacific. Once
outside of India, it came into contact with Sassanian Persia and Bactria.
With Hellenistic influences were mingled confused elements springing from
the scattered civilizations which had reigned over the Near East. Thence
it spread to the byways of Eastern Turkestan.

We know today, thanks to excavations of the German expeditions of
Grünwedel and von Lecoq, the two English expeditions of Sir Aurel Stein
and the French expedition of M. Pelliot, that in that long chain of oases
filled with busy cities, Buddhist art was gradually formed into the
likeness under which it was to appear as a finished product in the Far
East. Here it developed magnificently. The enormous frescoes of Murtuq
display imposing arrangements of those figures of Buddhas and Bôdhisatvas
which were to remain unchanged in the plastic formulas of China and Japan.
Meanwhile conflicting influences continued to be felt. Sometimes the
Indian types prevailed, as at Khotan, at others there were Semitic types
and elements originating in Asia Minor, such as were found at Miran, and
at length, as at Tun-huang, types that were almost entirely Chinese
appeared.

The paintings brought from Tun-huang by the Stein and Pelliot expeditions
enable us to realize the nature of the characteristics which contact with
China imposed upon Buddhist art. It had no choice but to combine with the
tendencies revealed in the painting of Ku K'ai-chih. The painter trained
in the school of Hellenistic technique drew with the brush. He delighted
in the rhythmic movement of the line and the display of a transcendent
harmony and elegance of proportion such as are seen in the frescoes of
Eastern Turkestan. Perhaps through contact with China--herself searching
for new expressions--but probably through a combination of the two
influences, Buddhist painting, at the opening of the T'ang dynasty, gives
us heavier types in which compact and powerful figures take on a new
character.

From then on we perceive the nature of the great change to which the early
books refer. Chinese painting had already known the genii and fairies of
Taoism, the Rishi or wizards living in mountain solitudes, the Immortals
dwelling in distant isles beyond the sea. It now knew gods wrapped in the
ecstatic contemplation of Nirvana, with smiling mouth and half-closed
eyes, revealing mystic symbols in a broad and apostolic gesture. It had
more life-like figures, attendants, benign and malignant, terrifying
demons. Before these impassive gods, in a fervor of devotion it bent the
figures of donors, men and women, sometimes veritable portraits. With even
greater breadth it portrayed the disciples of Sakyamuni, those anchorites
and hermits who under the name of Lohan[10] have entered into Chinese
Buddhist legend. Indian priests with harsh, strongly marked features and
wrinkled faces, preachers of a foreign race, disfigured by scourging or
else the calm full visage of the ecstatic in contemplation,--such are the
types that appeared. Chinese painters took up the new subjects and treated
them with a freedom, an ease, and a vitality which at once added an
admirable chapter to the history of art.

  [10] Indian _Arhat_; Japanese _Rakan_.--TRANSLATOR.



IV. THE T'ANG PERIOD--SEVENTH TO TENTH CENTURIES


The T'ang dynasty was the really vital period of Chinese Buddhism. Among
the painters who gave it its highest expression Wu Tao-tzŭ holds first
place. His memory dwells in history as that of one of the greatest masters
in China and legend has still further enhanced the might of his genius. It
is highly probable that his work is entirely destroyed, but by the aid of
copies, incised stones and wood engravings of the twelfth century, an idea
of the painter's conception can be formed. He seems to have been the
creator of a Chinese type of Kwanyin, the Buddhist incarnation of mercy
and charity. Drapery covers the high drawn hair. She is attired in the
harmonious folds of a plain and ample garment and expresses supreme
authority, the sublimity of divine love.

If to these fragments of an immense plastic production is added the
analysis furnished by the written records, we can define with some degree
of certitude the place occupied by Wu Tao-tzŭ in the history of Chinese
painting. The books state that the lines from his brush fairly vibrated;
all united in marvelling at the spirituality emanating from forms thus
defined. He adhered almost exclusively to the use of powerful ink-lines
and denied himself the use of any color, whether scattered or prominent,
which would have robbed his painting of the austerity which was the source
of its surpassing feeling. But in order to appreciate the full value of
the new ideas introduced by Wu into Chinese painting, it is necessary to
understand the exact nature of the technique that was in practice up to
the seventh and eighth centuries, at the opening of the T'ang dynasty.

  [Illustration: PLATE VIII. WHITE EAGLE. SUNG PERIOD
  Collection of R. Petrucci.]

At that time there prevailed the analytic, painstaking, detailed and very
considered drawing that is common to all periods preceding great
constructive work. This technique admitted the use of two fundamental
methods: one called _double contour_, the other _contour_ or _single
contour_. The method of _double contour_ was applied chiefly to the
drawing of plant life in landscape. It consisted in outlining leaves or
branches by means of two lines of ink placed in apposition. The space thus
enclosed was filled with color. Any peculiarities of formation, knots in
wood and veins in leaves were added subsequently. The name of _single
contour_ was applied to drawings wherein a single ink line outlined the
object, the space enclosed being then filled with color.

If the application of these analytic methods was sometimes carried to the
extreme of delicacy it never became labored. Throughout its entire
evolution the art of the T'ang period is characterized by a sense of the
magnificent. Once the study of forms was exhausted, this type of work was
bound to be superceded. Wu Tao-tzŭ profited by the work of his
predecessors. Combining in a single stroke of the brush, vigor and an
eclectic character of line, with values and fluidity of tone, he brought
to a supreme unity the two great principles by which things are made
manifest in all the magic of their essential structure. But it must be
understood that this patient investigation of forms was not limited to
preparing the way for a single master. The logical outcome was an
independent movement to which the origin of modern Chinese painting can be
traced.

"Painting has two branches," the books say, "that of the North and that of
the South; the separation occurred in the T'ang period." These terms
_Northern School_ and _Southern School_ must not be taken literally. They
serve merely to characterize styles which, in the eighth century,
liberated themselves from methods demanding such close study and exact
definition of forms. The style of the Northern School is strong, vehement
and bold; the style of the Southern School is melancholy and dreamy. The
ideal of Northern China, impregnated with barbarian elements, is brought
into contrast with that of Southern China, heir to an already ancient
civilization, and under the spell of Taoist legends and the bewildered
dreams of its philosophers.[11]

  [11] These divisions of Northern and Southern Schools do not
  correspond, as might be imagined, to geographical limitations.
  Painters of the South worked in the style of the North and painters of
  the North likewise used the Southern style. Moreover the same master
  was able to employ one or the other according to the inspiration of
  the moment. These works were produced for a receptive people capable
  of understanding both styles.

  [Illustration: PLATE IX. HORSEMAN FOLLOWED BY TWO ATTENDANTS
  Sung Period. Collection of A. Stoclet.]

Li Ssu-hsün and his son Li Chao-tao (eighth century) are considered to be
the founders of the Northern School. The paintings attributed to them show
the character which the Northern style preserved up to the Ming period and
which was to be emphasized to the point of brutality at the hands of
certain masters in the Yüan period. At the outset, in its brilliancy and
precision, the Northern style held to a certain refinement of line; later
the line is drawn with a firm and powerful brush and strong colors are
applied almost pure.

In direct contrast the Southern style is made up of half-tints, with a
feeling of reserve and intentional restraint, which gives it, with equal
power, at times a more appealing charm. The lines are pliant, immersed in
shading, color is suggested in a subtle fashion and, in contrast to the
almost brutal emphasis of the North, it finds expression in chiaroscuro
and concealed harmonies.

The foundation of the Southern School is attributed to a great landscape
painter of the eighth century, Wang Wei. Nothing could better determine
his tendencies than monochrome[12] painting in Chinese ink. According to
the records, this was first practiced by him. It constitutes what in
China, as well as in Japan, is called the _literary man's painting_ and
is, in reality, quite closely related to calligraphy. The variety of
shadings and relative colors of objects depend entirely upon the tones of
ink washes. Wang Wei seems to have treated monochrome mainly from the
standpoint of chiaroscuro, in his search for an atmospheric perspective
which should be both fluid and ethereal. It appears that the accentuation
of lines according to rule that is seen later on, where forms are
synthetized--sometimes to an excessive degree--was only a derivation of
the work of Wang Wei and caused by the intrusion of calligraphic
virtuosity into the domain of painting.

  [12] "Monochrome is a starved and lifeless term to express the
  marvellous range and subtlety of tones of which the preparation of
  black soot known as Chinese ink is capable." Laurence Binyon in "The
  Flight of the Dragon."--TRANSLATOR.

When we arrive at Wang Wei, landscape is treated as a special subject and
with its own resources. It was he who discovered the principles which
govern the fading of colors and forms in the distance, and who formulated
the laws of atmospheric perspective. Paintings in his style are all
executed in a predominating color which the Chinese call _luo-ts'ing_, a
mineral color of varying shades ranging from a malachite green to a
lapis-lazuli blue. It will be seen why _luo-ts'ing_ gave its name to the
style of Wang Wei.

By means of bluish tints he painted the distant expanse of landscape.
Mountains forming screens in the backgrounds and masses of trees lost in
the distance, are all indicated by the azure tints which intervening
layers of air give to remote objects. But as the foreground is approached,
rightful colors begin to prevail and the azure tints are subtly graded,
passing into a fresh and brilliant green amongst wooded declivities, and
into the natural hue in the foliage of trees. Often heavy mists, spreading
at the foot of high mountains, veil the outlines and still further
emphasize the feeling of limitless space.[13]

  [13] I have not seen nor do I know of any paintings which can be said
  with certainty to be from the hand of Wang Wei. But from the records
  as well as from works directly inspired by him, an idea of his style
  and technique can be formed. Ancient paintings in _luo-ts'ing_ are
  found in Japan as well as in China. The British Museum of London has a
  scroll painted by Chao Mêng-fu, in the manner of Wang Wei, dated 1309.

  [Illustration: PLATE X. LANDSCAPE IN THE STYLE OF HSIA KUEI
  Sung Period. Collection of Martin White.]

But when a master has carried his study of the fading of colors and of
their relative values thus far, he must have considered not only the
element of color itself, but also the collective tones which color is
capable of expressing. From this to monochrome painting in Chinese ink is
but a step; historical testimony shows that Wang Wei took this step. By
the simple opposition of black and white, and through tone values and
gradations of shades, he endeavored to create the same feeling of
atmosphere and space which he had been able to express with _luo-ts'ing_.
No original picture remains to inform us to what extent he succeeded, but
by means of monochrome paintings of the Sung period which owe their
inspiration to him, the importance of the reform accomplished, and the
tendencies manifested in those lost works of art may be divined.

Another master whose work can be defined with sufficient accuracy to cite
as an illustration of a different aspect of the history of painting during
the T'ang period, is Han Kan, who lived in the middle of the eighth
century and who is celebrated as a painter of horses.

The sculptured stones of the Han dynasty, especially the admirable
bas-reliefs of the tomb of Chao-ling, representing the favorite coursers
of the emperor T'ai-tsung, show the manner in which artists, from the
third to the seventh centuries, were capable of studying and delineating
the postures of the horse. It is therefore not surprising to find a great
animal painter in the eighth century. Beyond question he was not the
first. The written records have preserved the names of several of his
predecessors and while the honor of having been the great founder of a
school was attributed to him, it is possible that this refers only to an
artistic movement bearing his name, of which he was not the sole
representative.

But the work of Han Kan and the unknown artists grouped around him,
proclaims a powerful tradition, a well grounded school of animal painters
which had attained the highest eminence. It was destined to exert a
strong influence upon painters of horses in the Yüan epoch and even when,
later on, this great tradition is seen disappearing, cloying and insipid,
amidst the mannerisms of the Ming period, it will still retain sufficient
power to carry thus far a reflection of the vigor and vitality attained in
the great periods.

The painting of _Flowers and Birds_, and _Plants and Insects_ appears to
have been already established at this time. The flowers and plants are
drawn according to the methods of _double contour_ and _single contour_,
worked over and brought out with that intensity of analysis to which
allusion has been made. The bird is caught in its most subtle movement,
the insect studied in its essential structure.

Thus we see that Chinese painting had extended its investigations in every
direction and had solved the problems found along its path. It had
absorbed foreign influences, altered its conception of the divine and
found a new type of figure. It had endowed landscape painting with all the
resources of atmospheric perspective and had established the two essential
styles of the North and the South. The painter was master of the visible;
his thought dominated form and was able to express itself with freedom.



V. THE SUNG PERIOD--TENTH TO THIRTEENTH CENTURIES


The T'ang period had been the golden age of Chinese poetry. It had
witnessed an extraordinary outburst of religious fervor, and the
overwhelming domination of Buddhism. It had, moreover, triumphantly
re-established the unity of the empire and to the pride of intellectual
activity it could add the pride of might and dominion. But the same cannot
be said for the Sung period. From a political standpoint its history is
one of cumulative disaster. Ancient China retreated by degrees before the
thrusts of the barbarians, until the great thunderbolt of Genghis Khan's
conquest, reverberating with formidable echoes throughout all Asia,
announced the approaching downfall of culture in the red dawn of a new
era.

The Sung culture, totally different from that of the T'ang period, was,
however, swept forward to its culmination. It would seem as if, under the
menace of the barbarians, the mind had set for its goal the development of
ideas embryonic in earlier work, formulating them in haste and arresting
them finally in perfect yet sad images, in which the heights attained were
haunted by the shadow of impending ruin.

  [Illustration: PLATE XI. LANDSCAPE BY MA LIN
  Sung Period. Collection of R. Petrucci.]

The dynasty opened with a classical reaction against new ideas and
witnessed a return to Confucian philosophy, with its conception of the
State. But centuries of history had not rolled by without effect. In the
tenth and eleventh centuries the ancient writings were no longer
understood with their original meaning. A whole series of philosophers, of
whom the last is Chu Hsi (thirteenth century), had formulated a composite
doctrine resulting in what might be called an official philosophy, which
has dominated to the present day. Some bold spirits, however, opposed this
reactionary codification, struggling in vain to give a positive and firm
structure to the doomed empire. Their influence appears to have been
considerable. Just as the old heterodox philosophy was being stifled by
the dry and colorless metaphysics of the conservatives, it was awakened to
new life by the painters, who gave it a stirring interpretation in their
work.

The period of technical research was past. At first, with care and
patience, forms had been determined by drawing. Color had remained a thing
apart, regarded as a work of illumination and quite distinct from drawing.
Then study was extended still further. Color came to be viewed in the
light of shades and tones and became one of the means for the expression
of form; it became the very drawing itself,--that which reveals the basic
structure.

Wang Wei represents the moment when art, emancipating itself from problems
already solved, had conquered every medium of expression. Such is the
tradition which he bequeathed to the Sung artists, who were destined to
add thereto such supreme masterpieces.

The Sung painters were haunted by the old philosophical beliefs as to the
formation of the universe. Beyond the actual surroundings they dimly
perceived a magic world made up of perfect forms. Appearances were but the
visible covering of the two great principles whose combination engendered
life. They believed that, in painting, they did more than to reproduce the
external form of things. They labored with the conviction that they were
wresting the soul from objects, in order to transfer it to the painted
silk. Thus they created something new, an imaginary world more beautiful
than the real world, wherein the intimate relation of beings and things
was disclosed,--a world pervaded by pure spirit and one which was revealed
only to those whose thought was sufficiently enlightened, and whose
sympathies were sufficiently broad, to understand and to be stirred.

The painters of the line of Wang Wei during the Sung period, devoted
themselves chiefly to the development of painting in monochrome. They
pursued the study of relations of tones and values of shading up to the
limit of extreme delicacy, and if they mingled color at all with their
subtle evocations, it was with a feeling of unequalled restraint. They
dwelt for the most part in intimacy with Nature. Fleeing from the cares
of court and city, they retired into mountain solitudes, meditating for
long periods before taking up the brush to paint. Thus they portrayed
those mountains enveloped in mists, wherein was revealed the harmony of
the two principles which control the universe. From the depths of valleys
misty vapors arose and cedars and gigantic pines reared their majestic
forms, while, on the threshold of a thatched cabin upon some rocky
plateau, a hermit deep in meditation contemplated the vast expanse of a
landscape of august grandeur.

  [Illustration: PLATE XII. MONGOL HORSEMAN RETURNING FROM THE HUNT
  By Chao Mêng-fu. Yüan Period. Doucet Collection.]

Sometimes, turning to plant forms, they painted the bamboo in black and
white. A single masterly stroke sufficed to draw the cylindrical stalk
from one joint to another, or the pointed leaves which are so quivering
with life that we seem to hear the plaintive voice of the wind "combed,"
as the Chinese writings express it, "by the reeds." Or again, when a
flower was the subject, they suggested it with a simplicity that
presupposes a scientifically exact study of forms. It was by no means the
splendid image which they sought to grasp but the soul itself; at one time
the flower barely open in all its enchanting freshness, at another the
softened petals drooping in languid fashion, revealing a splendor still
present but soon to fade; at times the dew moistening the leaves, the snow
shrouding them with its purity, or the slow monotonous rain beneath which
they drip, motionless. These paintings are always instinct with deep
poetic feeling.

At the hands of the Sung painters the school of landscape and monochrome
technique attained a level which will never be exceeded. The masters of
this period are numerous and are frequently represented by works of almost
certain authenticity. It seems useless to assemble here names which will
convey no meaning to the European reader. It will suffice to illustrate by
a few great figures the three centuries of history during which Chinese
landscape painting reached its culminating point.

Tung Yüan and Chü Jan are considered by the critics as having founded a
special school in the great tradition of Wang Wei. Their paintings were
quiet in coloring and were executed with broad strokes in an impressionist
style. These works must be viewed from a distance to see their apparent
violence merge into extreme elegance. They furnish a complete
demonstration of the laws of atmospheric perspective, with its feeling of
distance and infinite space, in which forms are immersed. Here we find
evidence that these painters were the first to attempt the arrangement of
lines according to rule, which led ultimately to calligraphic painting.

Among the heads of schools cited in the Chinese writings Ma Yüan and Hsia
Kuei of the Sung dynasty must be placed in a class by themselves. Both of
these masters lived at the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the
thirteenth centuries. Their style can be described with accuracy since
original examples are extant--both by themselves and by their
disciples--in which their characteristics are fully revealed.

Ma Yüan is classed with the Southern School by reason of his restraint in
the use of color, his greatness of conception and his technical treatment
of forms. But he brings to his work a virility in which the influence of
the Northern School is plainly discerned. He has a broad stroke and a
masterful manner which place his works in the front rank of all Chinese
painting. His mountainous backgrounds rear themselves with fierce energy.
His old pines, with branches wreathed in vines, would suffice alone to
define his style, so freely do they express the force of plant life and
the proud defiance of the aged tree. He loved the mountain solitudes to
which he gave a new imagery, so authoritative and so perfect that it
served to create a school.

The influence of Ma Yüan was felt by his brother and by his son, Ma Lin.
Although the death of the latter occurred under the Mongolian dynasty, he
was an exponent of Sung art. The fierce energy of the old master gives way
to a somewhat more melancholy and gentle quality in his son. There is the
same restraint in the handling of the brush, the same reserve in the use
of color, but the landscape stretches out into deep and dreamy vistas that
are indescribably poetic. The melancholy of autumn, the sadness of flights
of birds that circle in the evening light, the feeling of seclusion and
silence, such are the things in which this poetic spirit finds its joy,
true heir of the master mind whose genius found expression in the wild
aspects of nature.

The school of Ma dominated the entire subsequent period and his influence
extended as far as Korea, where traces of it were still to be found as
late as the fifteenth century. As the history of Korean painting becomes
better known, we shall be able to say with more accuracy what it owes to
other Chinese masters; but in so far as those mentioned are concerned,
their influence appears to have been sufficiently strong to impress a
certain type on fragmentary works from Korea which have become known to us
recently.

We are far from being as well informed regarding Hsia Kuei, but we have
that which is worth more than written records, a few paintings preserved
in Japanese collections, which it seems legitimate to attribute to him
without reservation. It is readily seen why his name is always linked with
that of Ma Yüan. His work shows the same energy and power and discloses an
ideal which is similar to that of his confrère. He seems to have
penetrated even further than Ma Yüan along the path of daring
simplifications, and to have approached at times the calligraphic style.
He painted both landscape and figures and was skilled in obtaining strange
effects, as if of color, through his use of monochrome.

Another painter whose name dominates the history of this time and whose
work serves to characterize a special aspect is Li Lung-mien. It is
naturally difficult to prove that all the works attributed to him are
authentic. However, collections in Japanese temples or privately owned,
possess paintings which passed as his at a very early date and in which at
least we can recognize his style. In reviewing the centuries of history,
it is interesting to note that the work of Li Lung-mien is not without
similarity, in certain of its elements, to the paintings of Ku K'ai-chih.
His line is delicate and flexible and he draws his outlines with the same
subtlety, the same grace and the same instinct for harmonious curves and
an extraordinary rhythm.

The tradition which arose in a period antedating the T'ang epoch was
therefore still unbroken in the Sung period, and I am sure that proofs of
this will increase in number as our information becomes more accurate. New
evidence furnished by the paintings found at Tun-huang and certain
frescoes at Murtuq has recently shown that the type of Buddhist
hermit--the Lohan meditating in solitude--whose inception had, until these
discoveries, been attributed to Li Lung-mien, in reality dated much
further back and originated in the Buddhist art of Eastern Turkestan,
perhaps even in India. From those regions are derived the magnificent
subjects of which Li Lung-mien made use to express meditation. Sometimes
there are emaciated faces, withered bodies with protruding tendons that
outline deep hollows, and again rotund and peaceful figures meditating in
tranquil seclusion. From the written records as well as in his works,
there is every evidence that he was one of those who revived Buddhist
painting. No matter what models he chose to follow, he always gave them a
stress and a peculiar distinction, while from the standpoint of pure art
he had the ability to portray them with finished elegance and majestic
dignity.

Li Lung-mien was not content to paint Buddhist figures only. He painted
landscape also, and in his youth he had painted horses. A great critic of
the Sung period said of him that "his soul entered into communion with all
things, his spirit penetrated the mysteries and the secrets of nature."
This critic added that one day he saw Li Lung-mien painting a Buddhist
divinity. The words of the god fairly leapt from the lines; it seemed as
if the brush of the master summoned them one by one into being. Like all
the masters of his time, Li Lung-mien sought to free the spirit from its
outward semblance. Beyond the material, he perceived the immaterial force
which animates the world. As a landscape painter his conception of Nature
was broad and majestic. His graceful and harmonious line recalls the
happiest moments in the history of plastic art, and he challenges
comparison with a facile genius like Raphael. But he includes the whole
realm of nature in his subjects, and in his work we find traces, expressed
with greater breadth, but with quite as keen an insight, of an ancient
and noble art, such as was found almost extinct in the work of Ku
K'ai-chih.

  [Illustration: PLATE XIII. PIGEONS BY CH'IEN HSÜAN
  Yüan Period. Collection of R. Petrucci.]

We cannot leave the Sung painters without devoting some attention to Mi
Fei and his son. The two Mi's, indeed, accomplished a far-reaching reform
in Chinese technique; they enriched painting with a new imagery and
founded a school which, like that of Ma, exerted an influence on later
periods and was strongly felt in Korea.

In addition to being a great painter, Mi Fei was a great calligraphist.
This is apparent however little one may have seen of work in his style. He
possesses in the highest degree what the Chinese describe as the "handling
of flowing ink." He used the technique of monochrome almost exclusively,
and so closely related tone values to the line, or rather to the
brush-stroke, that it is difficult to decide whether he paints rather than
draws, or draws rather than paints. Properly speaking, he does not employ
the line at all but works by masses, by broad, heavily inked touches,
without pausing to emphasize the deep warm blacks provided by Chinese ink.
His manner recalls certain drawings by Rembrandt, also produced by strong
inking, which evoke a strange and magical effect of light. Such was the
spirit in which Mi Fei treated landscape. This technique marks his style
and gives it an individuality that is indisputable. The vehemence with
which he attacks forms, the rapidity of his brush-stroke, the way in which
things spring from such energy, call to mind pictures by European
masters, painted in full color, and it may be said of the paintings of Mi
Fei that they are fairly _colored_ by their tremendous vitality, if the
quality of the materials he employed permits the use of such a term.
Therefore Mi Fei and his son are responsible for a new technique, a
strongly individual work, and the creation of a style which marks the
highest achievement in monochrome. The trend which impelled them was,
however, general. Carried to its extreme it led to the style of painting
called calligraphic, of which there has been occasion to speak several
times.

Calligraphic painting, or the _literary style_, has its origin in the
studies of Wang Wei when, renouncing the aid of colour, he strove by
harmony of shading and by tone values, to reproduce the vast reaches of
space and all the shifting subtlety of atmospheric perspective. The
exclusive use of Chinese ink necessitated special studies since thus
calligraphy was directly approached. The different styles of writing are
almost drawing in themselves. Each style of writing has its own rules for
dissecting the written character and making the stroke. Now, as is known,
the Chinese painters attached supreme importance to the line and to the
brush-stroke. This was due in part to their equipment and in part to the
fact that the amateurs of art were prepared by their classical studies to
appreciate the strength or the delicacy of a line judged for itself, quite
independently of the forms represented. We must also bear in mind that
all of the Chinese painters were scholars, belonging to the class of the
literati.[14] Writers, poets, statesmen, soldiers, Buddhist or Taoist
priests, and philosophers have all furnished the greatest names in art.
Under such conditions the technical relationship between the line of the
painter and that of the calligraphist was closer, since painter and
calligraphist were frequently united in one and the same person. Thence
came the early tendency to use monochrome and to represent forms in the
abstract, rendering them more and more as mere themes, thus reducing the
subject to a few simple calligraphic strokes.

  [14] The literati, or lettered class, were the aristocracy in what
  was the most democratic of absolute monarchies. No matter how humble
  his   origin, anyone of the male sex was eligible to compete in the
  examinations which were based upon literary knowledge and memory of
  the classics. Proficiency in handwriting was a natural result. The
  successful candidate might aspire to any post in the empire, as
  official positions were bestowed through literary merit. During three
  days and two nights at the time of examination the candidate was not
  allowed to leave his tiny box-like cell, lacking even space to lie
  down. Cases of death during the examinations were not infrequent. The
  examination halls in Peking are now destroyed and those in Nanking
  with 20,000 cells are crumbling away.--TRANSLATOR.

It is difficult for a European to follow the thought of the Chinese
painters in these daring simplifications. Sometimes they are carried to
such an extreme as to leave us with a feeling of perplexity. Often however
they give rise to mighty conceptions and paintings whose essential
character impresses us as a unique product of genius. Calligraphic
painting reached its highest level during the Sung and Yüan periods. It
was so closely allied to painting that the Emperor Hui Tsung, who ascended
the throne in 1100, founded the Imperial Academy of Calligraphy and
Painting in the first year of his reign. Hui Tsung was himself a painter.
The books credit him with especial mastery in the representation of birds
of prey, eagles, falcons and hawks, which seems to be sufficient reason
for deliberately attributing to him every painting of a bird of prey, even
when there is evidence that it was painted two or three centuries later
than his time. Perhaps before long we shall find authentic paintings by
Hui Tsung. A painting belonging to the Musée Guimet, which comes from the
collection of Tuan Fang, is the one which by its annotations bears the
greatest guaranty of authenticity, but it is a representation of a figure
painting of the T'ang dynasty and gives us no information as to the manner
in which Hui Tsung painted eagles. However, certain paintings from his
collections have come down to us. Whether or not by the imperial hand they
proclaim a virile art, an instinct for the grandiose and a majestic
character which are the qualities of which the eagle is a symbol.

The foundation of the Academy of Calligraphy and Painting had results
quite other than those hoped for by its founder. It became imbued with the
evils of formalism. It was established in the imperial capital in court
surroundings, in other words, in an atmosphere from which true artists
depart with all possible speed. It suffered inevitably through the
influences of a taste, refined it is true, but which already inclined
toward mannerisms and preciosity. Conventions were established, subjects
became stereotyped, the taste for brilliant colors developed and, even
before the end of the Sung period, there was a marked division between
academic and national art. Pedantry and affectation began to take the
place of boldness and strength.

Doubtless this tendency would have developed still further but for a
series of disasters and the menace of a new dynasty looming on the horizon
of Central Asia, which was already resounding with the clash of Mongol
arms.



VI. THE YÜAN PERIOD--THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES


From the standpoint of civilization the Mongolian dynasty of Yüan brought
nothing to China. On the contrary, the foreign elements were absorbed by
the ancient culture for, in the final summing-up, the mind will always be
stronger than weapons. From the standpoint of painting, however, this
period has marked individuality.

The Sung period had been distinctly dominated by the ideals of Southern
China. Philosophical inspiration had proven too strong to permit the style
of the Northern School to assert absolute sway. In this we must make an
exception of Buddhist painting, which,--save in the work of a few chance
painters of religious subjects--continues the traditions of the T'ang
period, preserving the original character of its coloring. It is true that
there were masterpieces to the credit of the Northern School but it had by
no means kept to the style of vivid illumination which marked its
inception.[15] It had yielded to the influence of the Southern style,
was simplified by this contact and took on the austerity and proportion of
the South. It would seem as if the painters hastened to add their
testimony before the philosophy of the ancient sages should disappear.
They strove to give the world perfect images in which the great principles
of the universe could be felt vibrating. The only suitable medium for such
expression was the technique of the Southern School which they followed
with more or less fidelity.

  [15] It should be borne in mind that the author uses the term
  illumination in the sense of color applied within a distinct and
  limiting outline. This is illustrated in the definitions of single and
  double contour.--TRANSLATOR.

  [Illustration: PLATE XIV. BAMBOOS IN MONOCHROME BY WU CHÊN
  Yüan Period. Musée Guimet.]

Southern China was at that time the scene of awakened faculties. Shaken to
its foundations by the mystic movement--both Taoist and Buddhist--of the
T'ang period, the Confucian doctrine had lost ground but had not yet
congealed into the rigid official code of a Chu Hsi. While heterodox
beliefs still prevailed, all were free to borrow their prophetic and
poetic meaning.

When the Mongols came into power, they only carried to completion the work
of conservation begun by the Sung emperors. In their contact with China
they resembled timid pupils quite as much as conquerors. Once emperor of
China, the Mongol Kublai Khan could not but remember his purely Chinese
education. Moreover it was quite the Tartar custom to extend their
conquests to administrative organization, by establishing a hierarchy of
functionaries. The conception of a supreme and autocratic State, paternal
in its absolutism, intervening even to the details of private life in
order to assure the happiness of the people,--this idea, dear to the
literary conservators of the Confucian School during the Sung period, was
also too similar to the Tartar ideal to be denied immediate adoption.
Heterodox doctrines were formally banished from schools. Rejected with
scorn as being corrupt and dangerous, there remained of these doctrines
only such residuum as might be found in the independent thought of
artists, who were more difficult to control. The magnificent movement of
the Sung period began to abate; it produced its last master pieces and
gradually waned, until under Ming rule it was to die out completely.

The Yüan epoch, therefore, appears in the light of a transition period
connecting the fifteenth century of Ming with the thirteenth century of
Sung. From the point of view which interests us, it did nothing but
complete a work which had been carried on with energy and success by
adherents in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It strove to reduce
China to a severely regulated State in which all great movements and
impulses should be under strict control. It succeeded. It succeeded so
well, indeed, that the Europeans who came to know China in the seventeenth
century and who rediscovered it so unnecessarily in the nineteenth
century, believed it to have been motionless for two thousand years. There
is no need to lay stress here upon the absurdity of this prevalent
opinion. It has been seen in the past and will be seen in modern times,
that the inner travail, the evolution and the diversity are by no means
arrested. Like the nations of Europe, China has had its evolution; the
causes were analagous, its destiny the same. This is especially felt in
the history of its painting. When the potent inspiration of the Southern
School began to wane, the style of the North took the upper hand for
obvious reasons.

  [Illustration: PLATE XV. PAINTINGS OF THE YÜAN OR EARLY MING PERIOD
  Style of the Northern School. Collection of R. Petrucci.]

Partially civilized barbarians occupied the highest places in the State.
They were the controlling party at the imperial court and had usurped the
place of the old society, refined, subtle and perhaps too studied, which
formed the environment of the last Sung emperors. Despite their naïve
efforts and good will, these barbarians could not fathom an art so
austere, enlightened and balanced. They were utterly ignorant of such a
masterly conception of nature as was evoked in Chinese painting.
Monochrome to them was dull. They could admire on trust, but they could
not understand. On the other hand, the Northern style with its bold
assurance, strong coloring and drawing positive almost to the point of
seeming sculptural, was more akin to their mental outlook. There at least
they found something which recalled those rugs on which they appear to
have exhausted their artistic resources. In a word, they were more
accustomed to the Northern style and had brought with them from the
Northern regions their own artists, both Chinese and barbarian.

The Northern temperament, reflective, strong and positive, now began to
assume mastery over the bewildered reveries of the Southern nature. Things
are seen to change. Even the masters who continue the Sung tradition
infuse a somewhat more robust quality into their works, but, in so doing,
they lose a certain stirring depth which gave the work of their
predecessors such an exceptional character. Caught between these two
tendencies, Yüan painting takes on new traits, which are perhaps more
accessible to European mentality because they are more simple and direct.
These observations apply to the general evolution of Chinese painting from
the end of the thirteenth to the end of the fourteenth centuries. We must
now consider it more in detail, citing by way of illustration a few of the
painters who expressed the spirit of the time.

At its inception the Yüan dynasty had inherited the last masters of the
Sung period, among them two artists who are recognized as of the first
rank. Chao Mêng-fu--known also under the appellation of Tzŭ-ang--was
born in 1254. He was a descendant of the first Sung emperor and held an
hereditary post which he resigned at the time the Yüan dynasty came into
power. He retired into private life until 1286, then when called back to
court as a high functionary, he became a supporter of the new dynasty.
Chao Mêng-fu painted landscape as well as figures, flowers and the bamboo,
but he is most celebrated for his horses. Numberless paintings of
horses are attributed to this master; needless to say the great majority
of these are not by his hand.

  [Illustration: PLATE XVI. PORTRAIT OF A PRIEST
  Yüan or Early Ming Period. Collection of H. Rivière.]

As a landscape painter he seems to have worked in the style of the
Southern School, with a fine, simple line in which may still be seen
traces of the ancient tradition that extends back to Ku K'ai-chih. This
characteristic line is found in the paintings of men and horses where the
hand of Chao Mêng-fu is distinguishable. He bequeaths it to the large
school which he founded, and, through his pupils, it becomes the
inheritance of his imitators in the Ming period. It is more than probable
that almost all of the paintings by his pupils, bearing the signature
Tzŭ-ang, are attributed to the master, while his own paintings are
ascribed to Han Kan, painter of horses in the T'ang period. However, among
the numerous works attributed to Chao Mêng-fu, there are a few in which we
recognize the vibrant and flexible line which is seen in his landscapes.
These paintings bear the signature of Tzŭ-ang, in all probability a
false one, but the work of art itself will always be of greater value in
determining its authenticity than the most impressive of inscriptions. If
the technique and the quality of the line are sufficiently similar to
warrant attributing to the same hand the landscape in the British Museum,
and any particular painting of horses, this may be regarded as sufficient
evidence on which to base our own opinion as to his style.

Amongst his grooms and mounted soldiers, Chao Mêng-fu painted the
different races which the wave of Mongolian invasion had swept into China:
Chinese from the central provinces, Tartars, Mongols with fur caps,
Moslems of a Semitic type from Turkestan, with white turbans and heavy
earrings. Whether his subject was the little Tartar horse from the
Mongolian plains or the beautiful steeds of ancient Transoxiana, always
brought as tribute by way of Khotan to the Chinese court, he gave the life
of the horse a singular beauty, portraying him in an equally happy manner
whether in the act of racing or in the attitudes of repose. In his mind
still dwelt the vision of Sung ideals, which proclaimed the hidden soul of
things and valued spirituality and life in a painting. Although we see
marked evidence of the Southern style in his work, his paintings are more
strongly colored than are those of that school. The influence of the Yüan
period begins to make itself felt. It brings out values in colored
pigment, emphasizes its violence and paves the way for a new tradition.

Chao Mêng-fu has been compared by Chinese critics to his great predecessor
Han Kan. The writings, however, are unanimous in stating that,
notwithstanding his undeniable mastery, he lacked something of the vigor
of the earlier master. When we attempt to compare the two styles through
the aid of paintings of the T'ang period, wherein a reflection of the
great animal painter may be sought, the writings appear to be confirmed
in attributing a more positive and forceful character to the work of Han
Kan or the unknown group of painters around him. But Chao Mêng-fu seems to
have possessed in a higher degree the feeling of movement and life, and to
have been less hampered in his choice of poses. Centuries of study and of
observation had intervened between the great animal painter of the T'ang
epoch and his worthy rival of a later period.

  [Illustration: PLATE XVII. HORSE
  Painting by an unknown artist. Yüan or Early Ming Period.
  Doucet Collection.]

Like Chao Mêng-fu, Ch'ien Hsüan, or Ch'ien Shun-chü, retired from public
life at the downfall of the Sung dynasty. He was a member of a group of
the faithful over which Chao presided, but, more decided than the latter
in his opposition to the new dynasty, he was indignant at his confrère's
defection and refused to follow his example. He lived in retirement,
devoting himself to painting and to poetry up to the time of his death. He
also continued the Sung tradition under the Yüan dynasty to which, as a
matter of fact, he belonged only during the second part of his life. He
painted figures, landscape, flowers and birds. His delicate line is not
lacking in strength, and he seems to have been especially endowed with a
sense of form which approached greatness in its simplicity. Whether the
subject is a young prince or a pigeon perched on the summit of a rock from
which chrysanthemums are springing, the same dignified and tranquil
nobility is asserted with ease. He still used the quiet and restrained
coloring of the Sung period and prolonged, without impairing it, the
great tradition that a century and a half could not quite efface.

Of Yen Hui we know almost nothing; the books state briefly that he painted
Buddhist figures, birds and flowers, and that he was past master in the
painting of demons. Nothing is known of the date of his birth or if, by
his age and training, he could be classed in the Sung period, but several
admirable paintings by him are extant which serve to show how Sung art was
still interpreted by exceptional masters in the Yüan period. His line is
strong, broader, fuller and more abrupt than that of Chao Mêng-fu or
Ch'ien Shun-chü. The quivering vitality that emanates from his pictures is
thrilling. Whether the subject is a peony heavy with dew, whose drooping
petals presage the approaching end, or a Buddhist monk patching his
mantle, the fleeting moment is seized with such intuitive power that
prolonged contemplation of the painting creates the impression that it is
suddenly about to come to life. There is something sturdier, more
startling, less dreamy in these great painters who continue the traditions
of Sung art; their work alone demonstrated that tradition could be revived
and that ancient China, under the Mongolian dynasty, was still preserving
its creative spirit and advancing resolutely into fertile fields.

In Huang Kung-wang and Ni Tsan, we approach a different order of things.
Lines began to take on a classical character, to be divided into a
series of different types, which painters adopted according to their
temperament and requirements, and finally became impersonal and academic.
Both of these painters, nevertheless, were under the spell of early
influences extending back to the T'ang artists. Through study of these old
masters they returned to the use of a full and sometimes vivid color, but
kept a profound love of nature, and a fresh and original vision, by which
they still perpetuated the inspiration of Sung painting in a new form.
With these painters, however, new features appeared. Reds and purples
became dominant notes amidst rich greens which set them off and enhanced
their brilliancy. The vision of landscape itself is somewhat more
realistic and less subtle. In all of these essentials Ni Tsan, who died in
1374, brings us nearer to the Ming period.

  [Illustration: PLATE XVIII. VISIT TO THE EMPEROR BY THE IMMORTALS FROM
  ON HIGH Ming Period. British Museum, London.]

Simultaneously, though quite apart, marked tendencies of a different
character were evident. The old masters of the T'ang period had again
returned to favor. The vivid illumination and color distinct from drawing,
in these firm and vigorous works appealed to the untutored barbarian. On
the other hand, the studies of the Sung period had not been fruitless;
therefore when, under these influences, the use of color was resumed, the
painters profited by what the practice of monochrome had taught meanwhile.
In the Yüan period appear those paintings which are attacked directly with
a dripping brush without preliminary drawing, the forms being modeled in
the color itself. The Chinese called this painting "without bones," in
other words, deprived of the assistance of line. This procedure was first
used by a painter of the Sung period, but it did not take root definitely
until the time when the practice of using Chinese ink as a medium to
express tones had taught painters how to model forms in color itself,
making the structure depend upon color.

Seen as a whole, the Yüan period witnessed the assembling, the
concentration, so to speak, of the ardent but scattered inspirations of
the great masters of the preceding school. It produced splendid
compositions in which the golden age of Chinese painting continued to be
manifest. Masters arose and if, in spite of all, they mark a reaction
toward the Northern style, seeking rich and vivid color, they give us a
vision of beauty that is equal to the work of their predecessors.

Meanwhile grave signs of decadence were apparent. Composition became
overladen and complex and began to lose something of the noble simplicity,
greatness and supreme charm of the old masters. It was evident that the
Yüan painters were working under the eye of the barbarians. They yielded
to the taste of the latter for anecdote, for surmounting difficulties and
for sentimental detail. Thus far there were only scarcely perceptible
shadows and momentary weaknesses, warning signs of decadence; but when
such signs are evident, decadence is at hand, and that which the virility
of the barbarians had preserved was to be lost through the creed-bound
dignity of an academic China, which was imprisoned in a rigid system of
rules.



VII. THE MING PERIOD--FOURTEENTH TO SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES


The Ming dynasty came into power on the wings of national feeling. China
rallied her forces and expelled the foreign tyrants. Without doubt the
nation cherished the illusion of rebuilding itself upon the model of the
past, and the first emperors of the dynasty believed that the empire could
be re-established upon an unshakable foundation. But the Ming dynasty, in
reality, was but the heir and follower of Yüan. The latter itself had been
only a connecting link. It had changed nothing, but had tended rather to
absorb into the Chinese system the Northern barbarians, who up to that
time had been foreigners. It had unwittingly achieved unity for China,
despite itself and against its own inclination. In the administration of
the empire, it had finished the program of conservation which the Sung
dynasty, through impotence, had been unable to carry to completion.

The Ming dynasty inherited the work of the Mongols and consolidated it. It
survived under their reign and under that of the Ch'ing rulers until the
final disintegration, of which we have but recently seen the results.
The peaceful ideals of the Ming dynasty, the marked predominance of
Confucianism as a code of ethics, with certain modifications by Chu Hsi,
combined to form an ensemble that was apparently perfect and which made it
possible to have faith in the excellence of the principles laid down by
the monarchy. Thus a school was formed which had its own philosophy,
manners and ideals, all of them cold, stiff and without spontaneity. It
was an over-perfect machine which went like clockwork. The world was
judged with a narrow and somewhat stupid self-confidence. The ideal dwelt
in the word of Confucian writings, divorced from their true meaning, and
so badly interpreted that they ceased to be understood aright. The
meticulous, bureaucratic and hieratic administration of the Tartars was a
perfect system of government. The machine was still new and worked well,
whence arose a false impression of permanence which added still further to
the complacency of the conservative mind. An art was necessary to this
China. She had it. It was academic painting.

  [Illustration: PLATE XIX. EGRETS BY LIN LIANG
  Ming Period. Collection of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Junior.]

Side by side with this and yet apart, other influences were at work.
Notwithstanding the prohibition of books on heterodox philosophies in
schools, accompanied by the widespread decadence of Buddhism, and the
complete downfall of Taoism owing to gross practices in popular magic, and
despite the disdain of the official world, another element in China was
preserving the spirit of the past, the restless spirit that craved
novelty. In all probability its obscure workings did not appear
immediately upon the surface, concealed as they were by the strictly
prescribed screen of official China. They were sufficiently strong,
however, to give rise to an art which differed essentially from academic
art, and which numbered masters who were comparable with those of the
past. In spite of adverse circumstances and the weight under which these
movements were buried, they made themselves felt in violent upheavals.
First let us draw a picture of the decadence of an art and later we shall
return to activity and life.

Official painting in the Ming period rapidly stiffened into convention. To
understand how it took shape, we must go back to the time of Hui Tsung and
observe the method of recruiting talent in the Academy which he founded.

That painting was allied to philosophic and poetic thought is already
known. It was always a refined diversion of poets and painters to unite in
a quest for the beautiful. The poet wrote verses and the painter painted a
picture suggesting, sometimes remotely, the thought enshrined in the poem.
Such were the conditions upon which Hui Tsung instituted examinations,
following which the doors of the Academy were open to the victor. He gave,
for example, as subject for a competition a verse saying, "The bamboos
envelop the inn beyond the bridge," which suggested a landscape with
flowing water, a rustic bridge thrown across the stream, a cluster of
bamboos on the bank, a "winehouse" half hidden in the verdure. All the
competitors, the records say, set to work drawing with minute care the inn
which they made the essential feature of the picture. Only one implied its
presence by showing, above a dense cluster of bamboos, the little banner
which in China denotes the presence of a "winehouse." Two verses of
another poem in which allusion was made to the red flowers of spring were
interpreted by the representation of a beautiful young girl dressed in
red, leaning on a balustrade, for according to Chinese ideas, the thoughts
of young men in spring turn there, as elsewhere, toward thoughts of love.

  [Illustration: PLATE XX. FLOWERS AND INSECTS
  Ming Period. Collection of R. Petrucci.]

We have here an example of the subtle allusions, at times profoundly
poetic, with which Chinese painting abounds. But these things retain their
value and charm only in so far as they depend on a free play of mind or
upon personal, living sentiments. As accepted conventions regulated in an
academic competition, repeated with sustained effort and without
enthusiasm, their rigid monotony becomes intolerable. Such was the
ultimate fate of that ability to express by half meanings, to suggest
without directly stating, to which the Sung painters attached so great an
importance. The day it was understood that a little banner fluttering over
bamboos indicated the presence of a "winehouse" in a sylvan retreat, or
that a young girl dressed in red symbolized the crimson blooming of a
garden pink in springtime, banners and young girls dressed in red were
seen in paintings innumerable to the point of satiety.

Thus were established those dry conventions of a somewhat stupid erudition
which were so much the fashion in the academic painting of the Ming and
the Ch'ing periods, and whose great success repressed the artistic
aspirations of a people. Under these influences was rapidly assembled a
complete arsenal of allegories, allusions and symbols that gave birth to
an art which was possibly very learned, but which was inartistic to the
last degree. An academician of the Ming period would have thought himself
disgraced if he had not proven by complicated compositions the extent of
his knowledge of things of this character. Art was no longer anything but
a kind of puzzle. Furthermore, the decadence of eye and hand followed that
of the mind, and there next appeared a taste for brilliant colors,
overladen compositions, and fine and meticulous lines, culminating in an
unbearable nicety. The work of the Academy is summed up in these words.

Let us turn aside from an art that is inert. It robbed things of the
creative spirit that animated them. We shall now see what was achieved by
those who followed in the steps of the old masters.

The fifteenth century in China witnessed a continuance of the style
prevalent during the Sung and Yüan periods. Chou Chih-mien, for example,
was true to that profound feeling for form, that delicacy of coloring,
and rhythm in composition which were the endowment of the greatest
masters. Shên Chou belonged entirely to the Yüan school, and to prove that
the old ideals were not dead, we have in the fifteenth century the
magnificent group of painters of the plum tree, with Lu Fu and Wang
Yüan-chang at their head.

As before stated, a special philosophy was associated with this tree and
its flowers. The white petals scattered on vigorous branches had long
typified an inner soul, whose purity was the very likeness of virtue and
of tenderness. Chung Jen, who in the eleventh century wrote a treatise on
the painting of the plum tree, explains in his chapter on "the derivation
of forms" that it is a symbol, a concentrated form, a likeness of the
universe. The great fundamental principles mingle harmoniously within it;
they express themselves in its shape and reveal themselves through its
beauty. Similar to this was the philosophy associated with the bamboo,
which endured up to the fifteenth century. The subtle monochromes of Lu Fu
show branches of flowering plum swaying in the breeze. In the great works
of Wang Yüan-chang trunks of old trees, still bearing hardy blossoms,
stand proudly in the magical radiance of the moon. Vibration and power,
grandeur and majesty, such are the qualities which were still sought
amidst the severe conditions imposed by the use of black and white. Here
we feel that the creative force is not yet spent. We find it equally
fresh and vigorous in the ink bamboos of Wên Chêng-ming in the sixteenth
century.

In landscape, however, new elements appear which mark a decline. I have
already laid stress on the overladen composition which developed in the
Yüan epoch. This was still more noticeable in the Ming period. When
pictorial art has had a long series of masters, a certain eclecticism is
infallibly produced. This leads to the rejection of the direct study of
nature, in favor of viewing it only through the eyes of the old masters.
This phenomenon appeared in China as well as in Europe. The landscape
painters of the Ming period studied the technique of the T'ang and the
Sung epochs and codified their system of lines, arranging them in series
according to types and schools; in short, they drew from these a
ready-made technique by which they were controlled. Turning from nature
they yielded to imagination. They delighted in painting fanciful
landscapes and were inclined toward images that were more external and
less inspired than in the past. Their works, however, were invested with
great charm, and the impossible disposition of their clustering peaks and
oddly cleft rocks cannot but appeal to the imagination.

In these overladen compositions the unity of the picture is lost. We are
no longer in the presence of a simple and forceful idea, but behold a
thousand incidents, a thousand little details, exquisite in themselves,
but which require a search. It is a new conception of landscape. We may
possibly prefer the gripping formula of Sung and Yüan art, but we are
forced to acknowledge that this later work has great charm and extreme
refinement.

  [Illustration: PLATE XXI. LANDSCAPE
  Ming Period. Bouasse-Lebel Collection.]

To this general trend was added a new taste in color, which became
brilliant and complex like the composition itself, harmonious and graceful
in the paintings of the masters and always charming in the work of
painters of the second rank; but this was the herald of a blatant and
vulgar manner which gradually gained ground until it came to be generally
adopted by the artisans of the Ch'ing period.

While landscape under the Ming painters was assuming a different guise,
and, forgetful of the observances of the past, was beguiling the mind by
its charm and delicacy, a new type of figure was also developing. Here we
must pause for a moment.

We have seen that figures were treated before landscape by the painters of
periods preceding the T'ang dynasty. This early tradition had submitted to
the influence of Buddhist art and, while certain of its elements were
revived in the work of a few masters, there is no doubt that figure
painting from the seventh and eighth centuries on, was absolutely
revolutionized. The inevitable result was a new type in the sixteenth
century. Painters studied the line for itself, determined its proportions,
and analyzed features and drapery. As far as our present knowledge
extends, their observations were not collected and codified until the end
of the nineteenth century, but the assembled writings testify that the
result of their studies was expressed along the lines indicated from the
end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth centuries. Their
ideal was totally different from that of the old masters. The figure
treated for itself with but few accessories became the sole aim of the
painter. He endeavored to show the charm of a woman's face, the dainty and
elegant gestures, the supple and voluptuous gait, and he grasped the
characteristics and peculiarities of a man's figure by means of an
intensified drawing. At times, the influence of analysis was so objective
that it resulted in a painting closely approaching European standards. The
taste expressed in landscape was likewise evident in figures. There were
brilliant and harmonious colors, a charm which became exquisite in the
coquettish and vivacious faces of women with ivory skin and brilliant
eyes, of graceful movements, and with long, slender, delicate hands,
incarnations of the fairies of ancient legend or historic beauties whose
memory still lived.

In a word, the philosophical inspiration to which the Sung dynasty owed
its glory was discarded to make way for the painting of everyday life, a
realistic representation of the world and its activities, which in Japan
gave rise to the Ukioyoyé school, and in China recruited a series of
painters of the first rank outside the limits of academic tradition.

It would be interesting to study the influence of this movement of the
China of the time of Ming upon the originators of the Ukioyoyé in Japan.
It is certain that the movement on the continent preceded similar
manifestations in the island empire by a century, and it is also certain
that the Japanese empire was directly influenced by the China of the Ming
period. Chinese painters were established in Japan as early as the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. There is one of whose family name we
are ignorant and who is known only under the appellation of Ju-sue,--in
Japanese Josetsu. He left China, where the domination of official art
stood in the way of an independent career, carried the traditions of Sung
and Yüan art to Japan, gathered pupils about him there, and had the glory
of being the founder of that magnificent school of which Sesshiu is the
leading exponent. There is only one small painting which can be attributed
to Ju-sue with certainty. This is preserved in a Japanese temple.
Unfortunately it is a work of small importance which, notwithstanding its
intrinsic value, by no means furnishes sufficient information to enable us
to pronounce on the authenticity of several other works which are said to
be by his hand. We find in the latter an extremely individual art, in
accordance with early traditions, but with the addition of something
fanciful and unexpected which gives this painter marked distinction.
Having worked outside of China, however, his influence was not felt in the
evolution of Chinese painting.

In the seventeenth century Ming art came in contact with the art of the
Europeans. The methods and rules of the Italian ateliers of the end of the
Renaissance were brought to China by missionary painters whose talent was
of a secondary order. The system of monocular perspective and modeling,
strongly accentuated by the opposition of light and shade, made a forcible
impression on the Chinese mind. Indications of this are found in the
Chinese books on art. But the technical methods were too different and the
systems too much at variance to meet on any common ground. Notwithstanding
its effect upon certain painters, the influence of European painting was
on the whole negligible. Father Matteo Ricci worked at the end of the Ming
period under the Chinese name of Li Ma-tu and Father Castiglione, at the
beginning of the Ch'ing dynasty, used the name of Lang Chü-ning, but,
although the former continued to use European methods, while the latter
adopted the Chinese procedure, these were only isolated efforts submerged
in the great wave of Asiatic evolution.



VIII. THE CH'ING PERIOD--SEVENTEENTH TO TWENTIETH CENTURIES


The Ch'ing or Manchu dynasty, whose downfall we have recently witnessed,
brought no new vigor to China. Barbarians once again invaded the aged and
enfeebled empire usurping the methods, history and organization of the
preceding periods. The change in China at the end of the seventeenth
century was only dynastic. The evolution of Ming tendencies continued, and
despite the reorganization undertaken by Kang Hsi and maintained by his
two successors, the excessive requirements of the old system, which had
been formulated during the Sung epoch and definitely established in the
Yüan and Ming periods, were so exacting that irremediable decadence was
inevitable. Thenceforward no great changes in the realm of painting need
be expected. It only continued its logical evolution.

It is necessary, nevertheless, to lay stress on the value of Chinese
painting from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, for an opinion is
current that, while there might still be something of value under the Ming
dynasty, nothing good was produced under the Ch'ing. It is undeniable that
marked signs of decadence are seen in the latter period, but by the side
of some inferior works, others exist which maintain the vitality of the
past and the hope of a renaissance.

In refutation of such hasty and ill informed opinion, it is sufficient to
recall a number of paintings, signed and dated, of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, which dealers or collectors calmly attribute to the
eleventh and twelfth.

Chinese painting at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the
eighteenth century was still full of vitality. The taste for brilliant
color gradually diminished, and the composition became broader and more
noble at the hands of certain painters, in whom is seen the revival of the
vigorous race of yore. This was the time when Yün Shou-p'ing, more
commonly known under the name of Nan-t'ien, painted landscape and flowers
with the restraint and power of the old style, and when Shen Nan-p'ing set
out for Japan to found a modern Chinese school which was to rival the
Ukioyoyé in importance and activity. About them was grouped a large
following, foretelling fresh developments.

No support was given to this movement by the new government, which was
infatuated with the academic style of the earlier reigns and becoming more
and more ignorant as the last years of the nineteenth century approached.
In the eighteenth century a comparatively large number of Chinese painters
settled in Japan, where they continued the traditions of Ming art. The
observation of a Nan-t'ien or of a Shen Nan-p'ing was keen and
painstaking, but the objectivity and realism now coming to the fore, were
conspicuous in their works. No longer was it the world of pure substance
and abstract principle that was sought, but the real, everyday world, the
world of objective forms studied for themselves, living their own life, on
the threshold of which the spirit halted, no longer guided by the old
philosophies.

  [Illustration: PLATE XXII. BEAUTY INHALING THE FRAGRANCE OF A PEONY
  Ming Period. Collection of V. Goloubew.]

This character was maintained up to the nineteenth century. It is seen in
the painting of flowers and landscape as well as in figure painting. These
traits are equally apparent in an iris by Nan t'ien and a personage by
Huang Yin-piao. The latter, working in the middle of the eighteenth
century, evoked the personages of Buddhist and Taoist legend with a
skillful brush, but his daring simplifications were more akin to
virtuosity than to that deep reflection and freedom from non-essentials
which were the glory of the early masters. Herein are discerned the
elements of decadence, which are wont to assume precisely this aspect of a
mastery over difficulties. For such ends genuine research and the true
grasp of form were gradually abandoned.

Calligraphy and the literary style were not overlooked, but they were
carried to a point of abstraction that is beyond the province of art. A
personage was represented by lines which formed characters in handwriting
and which, in drawing the figure, at the same time wrote a sentence.
Doubtless that is a proof of marvelous skill. I agree in assigning such
masterpieces to the realm of calligraphy but refuse to admit them to the
domain of painting.

This applies as well to the so-called _thumb nail painting_ held in high
repute under the last dynasty. In this the brush is abandoned and the line
is drawn by the finger dipped in ink or color. The painting is done on
modern paper of a special kind which partially absorbs the paint, in the
manner of blotting paper; this results in weak lines, and ink and color
schemes devoid of firmness, in short, in a lack of virility which places
such works, notwithstanding their virtuosity, in the category of artisan
achievements. These works are numerous in the modern period and constitute
what so many regard as Chinese painting. One cannot be too careful in
discarding them.

During every period decorative paintings, religious paintings and
ancestral paintings made after death, were executed in China by artisans,
ordinary workmen at the service of whosoever might engage them. Such work
should not be consulted in studying the styles of great periods or the
higher manifestations of an art. These paintings were the first to leave
China and find their way to Europe. There is no reason for analyzing them
here.

To sum up, Chinese painting of the last two centuries still numbers
masters of the first rank. This alone indicates that the sacred fire is by
no means extinct. Who shall say what future awaits it amidst the
profound changes of today? After a period of indecision which lasted for
twenty-five years, Japan has found herself anew and is seeking to revive
her artistic traditions. It is to be hoped that China will, at all costs,
avoid the same mistakes and that she will not be unmindful, as was her
neighbor, of the history of the old masters.

  [Illustration: PLATE XXIII. HALT OF THE IMPERIAL HUNT
  Ming Period. Sixteenth Century. Collection of R. Petrucci.]


       *       *       *       *       *


CONCLUSION


This brief survey has shown how the distinctive features of China's
artistic activity were distributed. Though subjected to varying
influences, this evolution possesses a unity which is quite as complete as
is that of our Western art. In the beginning there were studies, of which
we know only through written records. But the relationship existing
between writing and painting from the dawn of historic time, permits us to
carry our studies of primitive periods very far back, even earlier than
the times of the sculptured works. We thus witness the gradual development
of that philosophical ideal which has dominated the entire history of
Chinese painting, forcing it to search for abstract form, and which
averted for so long the advent of triviality and decadence.

The goal sought by Chinese thought had already been reached in painting
when, in the third and fourth centuries, we are vouchsafed a glimpse of
it. It is a vision of a high order, in which the subtle intellectuality
corresponds to a society of refinement whose desires have already assumed
extreme proportions. Like Byzantium, heir to Hellenistic art, the China
of the Han dynasty and of Ku K'ai-chih was already progressing toward bold
conventions and soft harmonies, in which could be felt both the pride of
an intelligence which imposed its will upon Nature, and the weariness
following its sustained effort.

  [Illustration: PLATE XXIV. PAINTING BY CHANG CHENG
  Eighteenth Century. Collection of M. Worch.]

This refinement, arising from the exhaustion of a world which even thus
retained a certain primitive ruggedness, was succeeded by a stupendous
movement which followed in the wake of the preaching of Buddhism. With the
new gods we see the first appearance of definite and long-continued
foreign influences. Civilization was transformed and took on new life.
Then, as in the days of the great forerunners of the Florentine
Renaissance, there appeared a whole group of artists, prepared by the art,
at once crude and refined, of an earlier people. This group set resolutely
to work at the close study of forms, ascertaining the laws of their
structure and the conditions of the environment which produced them. The
period in which the work of Li Ssŭ-hsün, Li Chao-tao and Wang Wei was
produced may be likened to the fifteenth century in Florence with
Pisanello, Verocchio, Ghirlandajo and Masaccio. Similar conditions gave
birth to a movement that is directly comparable with the Italian movement
for, no matter how varied the outward appearances due to differences of
race and civilization, the fundamentals of art are the same everywhere and
pertain to the same mental attitudes.

The great leaders in periods preceding the T'ang dynasty paved the way to
the culmination which took place in the Sung period, and thus the fruit of
that prolonged activity is seen ripening between the tenth and the
thirteenth centuries. Through the gropings of the primitive period, the
heterodox philosophies and the mystic stirrings of Buddhism, Eastern
thought had arrived at an unquestionably noble comprehension of existence.
The impersonal mystery of the universe, its mighty principle, its manifold
manifestations and the secret which unveils itself in the innermost soul
of things are the conceptions which form the inspiration of Chinese
painting. These lofty thoughts are the source of that spirituality which
declares itself therein with such nobility. The religion to which they are
due will seem perhaps, to certain people, to be broader and less trammeled
than our own. There is no doubt that the entire Far East was under the
spell of its grandeur.

Up to this point art had sounded every depth and attained the highest
summits of human achievement. Thenceforward it concerned itself with
varying manifestations which were only the different modes of a formula
that was still flexible, until the time when--the great inspirations of
the past forgotten--there appear signs of a spirit on the quest for
realism, emerging from the ancient tradition. This is the distinctive note
in the evolution of Chinese painting under the last two dynasties. It
would seem as if, even in this guise, a universal need of the mind is
being satisfied, a need which we, too, have known after experiencing a
chilling academicism, and when modern culture had overthrown the ancient
idols. Chinese painters have thus completed a round analogous to that
traveled by our own artists.

  [Illustration: PLATE XXV. TIGER IN A PINE FOREST
  Eighteenth to Nineteenth Centuries. Collection of V. Goloubew.]

For the Far East as for Europe, the problem now presented is that of a
revival. Bent beneath the weight of the prestige of the past, too learned
in the last word of culture, modern art is seeking to find itself, groping
blindly, full of promising but unfinished works. The time has come when
there are signs throughout the world of a desire for a universal
civilization, by the reconciling of ancient divergencies. Europe and the
Far East bring into contrast the most vigorous traditions in history.
Henceforward there is interest for both civilizations in studying and in
coming to understand a foreign ideal. Though incomplete, these pages will
perhaps help to show that such a mutual comprehension is not impossible
and that, if egotistic prejudices are overcome, apparent dissimilarities
will be resolved into a profound identity. Thus will arise the elements of
a new culture. In coming to understand a mood which so fully reflects an
unknown world, the European mind will discover principles which will make
it rise superior to itself. May this broad comprehension of human thought
lead Europe to estimate with greater justice a civilization numbering its
years by thousands, and to refrain from thwarting the fulfillment of its
destiny.


       *       *       *       *       *


BIBLIOGRAPHY


  An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Pictorial Art. Herbert A.
      Giles, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Chinese in the University of
      Cambridge. Second Edition, revised and enlarged. London, Bernard
      Quaritch. 1918.

  Painting in the Far East. Laurence Binyon. Second Edition, revised.
      London, Edward Arnold. 1913.

  The Flight of the Dragon. Laurence Binyon. Wisdom of the East Series.
      London, John Murray. 1911.

  Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art. Ernest F. Fenollosa. 2 volumes. F.
      A. Stokes and Co., New York. 1912.

  Scraps from a Collector's Note Book. F. Hirth. Leiden, New York. 1905.

  Chinese Art. Stephen W. Bushell, C.M.G., B.Sc., M.D. Victoria and
      Albert Museum Handbook. 2 volumes. London. 1910.

  Chinese Painting. Mrs. Francis Ayscough. The _Mentor_ of Dec. 2, 1918,
      Serial No. 168. New York.


       *       *       *       *       *


INDEX OF PAINTERS AND PERIODS


The following summary furnishes additional information regarding the
painters to whom reference has been made. Those to whom the subject is not
familiar will find this of assistance in placing in their proper
historical order the different trends which have been indicated elsewhere.
They will also find dates useful in comparing, if so desired, the artistic
evolution of China with that of Europe. This, however, is only an outline.
The names of some great masters are omitted, for I have no wish to
overload the margin of a statement which should be kept clear and
convenient of access. I trust nevertheless that these few notes in concise
form will be of use in connection with the preceding text.


I. BEFORE THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM

  The _Bas-reliefs_ of the second Han dynasty belong to the second and
      third centuries of the Christian era.

  _Ku K'ai-chih_, also called _Chang-k'ang_ and _Hu-tou_, was born in
      Wu-hsi in the province of Kiang-su. He lived at the end of the
      fourth and beginning of the fifth century. His style, resembling
      that of the Han period, informs us as to the character of painting
      from the second to the fifth century. It is such as to indicate a
      long antecedent period of cultivation and development.

  _Hsieh Ho_ (479-502), painter of the figure. He wrote a small book
      setting forth the Six Canons or Requirements of painting. This work
      informs us regarding the philosophy of art in China of the fifth
      century.


II. THE INTERVENTION OF BUDDHISM

It is difficult to set an exact date for the first contact of Buddhist
with Chinese art. It may be assumed that the influence of Buddhist art
began to be felt noticeably in China in the fifth century. In the seventh
and eighth centuries it was so widespread as to be definitely established.


III. THE T'ANG DYNASTY

A.D. 618-905

  _Wu Tao-tzŭ_, also called _Wu Tao-yüan_. Born in Honan toward the
      end of the eighth century. His influence was felt in Japanese art
      as well as in that of China. He painted landscape, figures and
      Buddhist subjects.

  _Li Ssŭ-hsün_ (651-715 or 720) is considered as the founder of the
      Northern School. He appears to have felt the influence which
      Buddhist art brought in its train.

  _Li Chao-tao_, son of Li Ssŭ-hsün, lived at the end of the seventh
      and beginning of the eighth centuries. He is said to have varied
      from his father's style and even surpassed it.

  _Wang Wei_, also called _Wang Mo-k'i_ (699-759), poet, painter and
      critic. The great reformer of Chinese landscape painting.
      Considered as the founder of the Southern School and the originator
      of monochrome painting in Chinese ink.

  _Han Kan_, renowned in the period _t'ien-pao_ (742-759). According to
      tradition he was a pupil of Wang Wei. His school possessed in the
      highest degree knowledge of the form, characteristics and movements
      of the horse.


IV. THE SUNG DYNASTY

A.D. 960-1260

  _Tung Yüan._ Tenth century. Landscape painter. He worked in both the
      Northern and Southern styles.

  _Chü Jan_, Buddhist monk. Tenth century. He was at first influenced by
      the work of Tung Yüan, but later created an individual style.

  _Ma Yüan._ End of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century.
      Member of the Academy of Painting. He was the author of a strong
      and vigorous style which characterized the school founded by him.

  _Hsia Kuei_ served in the college at Han-Lin in the reign of the
      Emperor Ning Tsung (1195-1224). He was considered a master of
      chiaroscuro and atmospheric perspective.

  _Ma Lin_, son of Ma Yüan. Thirteenth century. His work shows that he
      painted even more in the tradition of the Southern School than his
      father and uncle.

  _Li Lung-mien_ or _Li Kung-lin_. Born at Chou in Ngan-huei. He held
      public offices, which he resigned in 1100 to retire to the mountain
      of Lung-mien, where he died in 1106. Noted for his calligraphy as
      well as for his painting. At one time in his life, under religious
      influences, he painted a great number of Buddhist figures.

  _Mi Fei_ or _Mi Yüan-chang_ or _Mi Nan-kung_ (1051-1107).
      Calligraphist, painter and critic. He used strong inking in a style
      in which the simplification of monochrome is carried to the
      extreme. He had a son, _Mi Yu-Jen_, who painted in his father's
      style and lived to an advanced age.

  _Hui Tsung_, emperor, poet, painter and calligraphist. Born in 1082,
      ascended the throne in 1100, lost his throne in 1125 and died in
      captivity in 1135. In the first year of his reign he founded the
      Academy of Calligraphy and Painting. He made a large collection of
      valuable paintings and rare objects of art which was scattered at
      the plundering of his capital by the Tartars in 1225.


V. YÜAN DYNASTY

A.D. 1260-1368

  _Chao Mêng-fu_, also called _Tsŭ-ang_. Born in 1254. Man of
      letters, painter and calligraphist. He was a great landscape
      painter and in the first rank as a painter of horses.

  _Ch'ien Hsüan_, also called _Ch'ien Shun-chü_, lived at the end of the
      thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century. He painted
      figures, landscape, flowers and birds. He employed the style and
      methods of the Sung dynasty.

  _Yen Hui_ lived in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. His
      paintings were numerous and indicate a master of the first order.
      He painted many Buddhist and Taoist subjects.

  _Huang Kung-wang._ Fourteenth century. At first influenced by the style
      of Tung Yüan and Chü Jan, he later acquired an individual style and
      was one of the great founders of schools in the Yüan period.

  _Ni Tsan_, also called Yün-lin (1301-1374). Man of letters,
      calligraphist, collector of books and paintings. He is considered
      to be one of the greatest painters of his time.


VI. THE MING DYNASTY

A.D. 1368-1644

  _Chou Chih-mien_ lived in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. His
      subjects were principally birds and flowers.

  _Shên Chou_, also called _Shên Ki-nan_ or _Shên K'i_ (1427-1507).
      Landscape painter. His composition is at times overladen, as is
      often seen in Ming art.

  _Lu Fu_ lived in the fifteenth century. He made a special study of the
      plum tree in monochrome. He is comparable to the great Sung
      masters.

  _Wang Yüan-chang._ Died in 1407 at the age of 73. He painted the bamboo
      and plum tree in monochrome. He carried on the Sung tradition,
      with which he was directly connected, and was the founder of a
      school.

  _Wên Chêng-ming_ (1480-1559), painter, poet and calligraphist. He is
      often compared with Chao Mêng-fu.

  _Ju-sue._ Known only under this appellation. He lived in the fifteenth
      century and went to Japan, where his influence was marked.
      (Japanese _Josetsu_.)


VII. THE CH'ING DYNASTY

1644-1912

  _Yün Chou-p'ing_, appellation _Nan-t'ien_, true name _Yün Ko_
      (1633-1690). He studied at first under the influence of Wang
      Shu-ming and Siu Hi. He painted figures, flowers and landscape.

  _Shen Nan-p'ing_ lived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He
      was called to Japan in 1720 and founded there the school of
      Ming-Ch'ing or the modern Chinese school.

  _Huang Yin-piau_ or _Huang-shên_. At the height of his career between
      1727 and 1746. He painted landscape and, toward the end of his
      life, legendary figures of Buddhism and Taoism with a technique
      that was skillful but often precise and somewhat weak.





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