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.

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.

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.

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.)


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.