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.


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.


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.

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.

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.