Excerpt: ... that was established in the lovely southern city of Hangchow. Painters of the Southern Sung dynasty, as this later era came to be known, often were masters of both styles, sometimes producing jagged Northern landscapes, sometimes misty Southern vistas, or sometimes combining the two in a single painting. In time, however, as the mood of the age grew increasingly romantic and Ch'an Buddhism became more influential in academic circles, the jagged brushstrokes of the Northern painters retreated farther and farther into the mist, leaving the landscapes increasingly metaphorical, with contorted trees and rugged, textured rocks. This new lyrical style, which predominated in the last century of the Sung painting academy, was primarily the creation of two artists, Ma Yuan (active ca. 1190-1224) and Hsia Kuei (active ca. 1180-1230), whose works were to become the models for Ashikaga Zen landscapes. They both experimented with asymmetry and the deliberate juxtaposition of traditional landscape elements. Space became an element in its own right, particularly in the works of Ma Yuan, whose "one-corner" compositions were often virtually blank save for a bottom corner. An eclectic stylist, he frequently depicted the foreground in the ax-cut brushstrokes and sharp diagonals of the North, while distant mountains in the same painting were treated by the soft, graded washes of the South. Hsia Kuei did much the same, except that he took a marked interest in line and often painted foreground trees and rocks in sharp silhouette. In later years, after the Ming dynasty came to power, Chinese tastes reverted to a preference for the Northern style, but in Japan the so-called Ma-Hsia lyric school was revered and copied by Zen artists who found the subjective treatment of nature a perfect expression of Zen doctrines concerning intuitive insight. The Southern Sung academy did not deliberately produce Ch'an art; it was the Japanese who identified the Ma-Hsia style...
- 190.5 x 243.84 x 7.62mm | 45.36g
- 13 Sep 2013
- Illustrations, black and white