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Shi Ke or Shih K’o; sobriquet: Zizhuanlocked

Extract

Chinese, 10th century, male.

Born in Zhendu (Sichuan).

Painter. Religious subjects, figures, scenes with figures.

Little is known of the life of this artist, a self-styled ch’an Buddhist adept whose extravagant behaviour has passed into legend. According to one document from the first half of the 9th century, Shi Ke was a robust, straightforward fellow who liked to shock people and who preferred to paint rough, jolly rustics. Another text describes him as having absolutely no respect for rules and models. It describes his painting as hideously bizarre - unworthy of attention from civilised people. His work - or at least copies of it - so roundly condemned by the Chinese literati found ready acceptance, even deep appreciation, in Japan. The ...

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