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Title: Treasures of Paintings

In Chinese painting there developed an array of figural, landscape, and bird-and-flower thematic traditions down through the ages. When woven together, they compose a lyrical symphony of art featuring various repeated movements.

It was in the period from the Jin to the Tang dynasty (265-907) that the paragons of figure painting focused on conveying both form and spirit, which were gradually established through the effort of such major artists as Gu Kaizhi and Wu Daozi. In the Five Dynasties period (907-960), Jing Hao, Guan Tong, and Li Cheng depicted the high and lofty peaks of the north, while Dong Yuan and Juran represented the water-filled scenery south in Jiangnan, laying the foundations for later developments in landscape painting. The rich and refined style of Huang Quan and the casual rusticity of Xu Xi's manner also set respective standards in the circles of bird-and-flower painting.

In the Northern Song period (960-1279), such artists as Fan Kuan, Guo Xi, and Li Tang established a new paradigm in landscape painting with their towering and majestic manner of monumental peaks. With an emphasis on sketching from life, the bird-and-flower paintings of such artists as Huang Jucai and Cui Bo overflow with life and spirit. Emperor Huizong formed a Painting Academy system that accelerated the pursuit of lyricism while providing an important goal for painting. And even by the end of the Southern Song (1127-1279), this painting style continued to flourish. Furthermore, such scholar-artists as Wen Tong and Su Shi, who did not seek formal likeness in representation, paved the way for the formation of a new realm in Chinese art: literati painting.

In the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), Zhao Mengfu and the Four Yuan Masters (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan, Wang Meng) highlighted this spirit harmony and a new sense of brush and ink in their works, firmly establishing literati painting as one of the unwavering stalwarts of Chinese art. In the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Zhe School consisted mostly of painters from the Zhejiang and Fujian areas, such as Dai Jin and Wu Wei, who modeled their works on those of the Southern Song to create coarse and liberated expressions of monochrome ink. The styles of Wu School artists living in the Suzhou area, including Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, and Tang Yin, were based on the Four Yuan Masters to form a new manner of literati painting with rich warmth and elegant beauty. Dong Qichang of the late Ming and Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, and Wang Yuanqi in the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) gathered and achieved a grand synthesis of ancient models, using brush and ink to recreate nature as they formed the vastly influential Orthodox School.

Early Spring (New window)
Early Spring
Guo Xi (fl. 2nd half of 11th c.), Song dynasty
Chimonanthus and Birds (New window)
Chimonanthus and Birds
Huizong (1082-1135), Song dynasty
Sound of Pines on a Mountain Path (New window)
Sound of Pines on a Mountain Path
Tang Yin (1470-1523), Ming dynasty
Travelers Among Mountains and Streams (New window)
Travelers Among Mountains and Streams
Fan Kuan (fl. early 11th c.), Song dynasty
Magpies and Hare (New window)
Magpies and Hare
Cui Bo (fl. 2nd half of 11th c.), Song dynasty
Spring Morning in the Han Palace (New window)
Spring Morning in the Han Palace
Qiu Ying (ca. 1494-1552), Ming dynasty