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Article

Aimi  

Japanese, 9th – 10th century, male.

Active in Kyoto 9th-10th century.

Painter. Religious subjects.

Aimi was the son and pupil of Kose no Kanaoka, the founder of the Kose school, and a member of the imperial bureau of painting. Like his father he painted mainly Buddhist subjects as well as imaginary scenes....

Article

Arihisa  

Japanese, 14th century, male.

Painter. Religious subjects, figures.

Kose no Arihisa was the third son of Kose no Ariyuku and held important positions at court. His works include the portrait of two Mandarins and an image of Benzaiten, Goddess of Fortune. He worked at the temple of Kyoogokokuji in Kyoto between ...

Article

Chinese, 12th – 13th century, male.

Painter. Figures.

Song dynasty.

Bo Liangyu was a member of the academy of painting during the reign of Emperor Ningzong (1195-1225). He devoted himself to painting Taoist and Buddhist figures.

Article

Chinese, 14th century, male.

Active in the first half of the 14th century, during the Yuan dynasty.

Painter.

Bo Ziting was a Buddhist painter from Jiading (Jiangsu) who painted rocks and flowers.

Article

Chinese, 11th century, male.

Born in Yancheng (Henan).

Painter. Religious subjects, figures, scenes with figures.

Song dynasty.

Chen Yongzhi was a member of the Imperial Painting Academy during the Tiansheng period (1023-1032). A skilful artist, he painted Buddhist and Taoist as well as secular figures and was esteemed for his close attention to detail....

Article

Chinkai  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Born 1091; died 1152.

Painter. Religious subjects.

Fujiwara no Chinkai was a priest at the Zenriji temple in Yamashiro. One of his favourite subjects was Tokai Monju (the Buddha Monju crossing the waves).

Article

Chinese, 14th century, male.

Born in Qiantang (Zhejiang).

Monk-painter.

Ding Qingji was a Taoist monk who painted portraits of Buddhist and Taoist figures in the styles of Li Song and Ma Lin.

Article

Doncho  

Korean, 7th century, male.

Active in the early 7th century.

Painter.

Doncho was a Korean Buddhist monk from the state of Koguryo, who probably arrived in Japan in 610, bringing with him the knowledge of making colours, paper and ink. In this way not only Buddhist art but also a new technique and new materials were introduced into Japan, and would subsequently form the basis of Japanese art. According to the guide of the Horyu-ji temple in Nara in the 1920s, the murals in the ...

Article

Eiga  

Japanese, 14th century, male.

Active 1350-1395.

Painter.

Eiga specialised in Buddhist painting and is one of the earliest representatives of Muromachi ink painting. The honorific title ‘hogen’ was bestowed on him.

He probably painted the Portrait of Prince Shokotu before 1351, a work that has since disappeared, whilst his ...

Article

Enkai  

Japanese, 11th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 11th century.

Sculptor.

Enkai was a Buddhist monk from Mount Shigi near Nara. He was one of the first ­sculptors to use the yosegi (joined-wood) style of carving, whereby monumental sculp­- tures were made from several different blocks of wood that had been carved separately and then put together. Until that time, these large wooden figures had been carved using the ichiboku technique, meaning out of a single block of wood. Enkai’s famous seated statue of ...

Article

Chinese, 9th century, male.

Active in the middle of the 9th century in Chengdu (Sichuan).

Painter. Religious subjects. Murals.

Fan Qiong was a painter of religious subjects. He produced many mural paintings after Buddhism was restored in China in 850. His brushstrokes were said to be like wire....

Article

Gakuo  

Japanese, 15th century, male.

Active during the late 15th and early 16th century.

Born 1504; died 1520.

Painter.

Gakuo was a Zen monk painter at the time when ink painting in Japan was developing in Zen Buddhist circles before it spread to the laity. Inspired by the work of his master Shubun (active ...

Article

Chinese, 13th – 14th century, male.

Born 1248, in Datong (Shanxi); died probably after 1310.

Painter.

Gao Kekong’s family were Muslim Uighurs from eastern Turkestan who had assimilated to Han culture. His father was a scholar from Datong, but he himself went to live in Wulin. Gao Kekong began his official career in ...

Article

Gensho  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Born 1146; died 1206.

Painter. Religious subjects.

Gensho was a priest at the Getsujo-in temple on Mount Koyasan. He specialised in painting Buddhist subjects.

Tazawa, Yutaka: Biographical Dictionary of Japanese Art, Kodansha International Ltd, Tokyo, 1981.

Article

Guanxiu  

Chinese, 9th – 10th century, male.

Born 832, in Lanxi (Zhejiang); died 912.

Painter.

Guanxiu was a Chan Buddhist monk. At the age of seven he was sent to a Chan monastery, then, still at an early age, he left for Jianxi, where he painted portraits of arhats in the temple of the Hall of the Cloud. In 894, he was sent to Hangzhou, where he continued to decorate temple walls with portraits of arhats. In 896 he went to the court of Changsha (Hunan), but, becoming involved in an intrigue, had to flee and finally settled in Chengdu (Sichuan), after travelling through the southern provinces. There the King of Shu bestowed upon him the ‘Great Master of the Chan Moon’....

Article

Hakuka  

Korean, 6th century, male.

Painter.

Buddhism arrived in Japan from China (via Korea) in the second half of the 6th century AD. With it came Buddhist art and the techniques and materials on which Japanese art would be built. Although nothing is known of the life of Hakuka, he is known to have been one of the Korean artists who, together with monks and architects, went to settle in Japan in 588. As such, he contributed to the spread of Buddhist art in Japan. He came from the Korean kingdom of Paekche, known in Japanese as Kudara....

Article

Han Gan  

Chinese, 8th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 8th century.

Painter. Horses.

Although Han Gan painted figures, notably Buddhist frescoes, he is known principally as a horse painter, and the subject was elevated to the status of a genre partly on account of him. The importance of this genre may be explained by the significant role horses played during the Tang dynasty in China (618-907); the tool of conquest and of expansion towards central Asia, they were directly linked to the expansion of the Chinese empire’s geographical and cultural horizons. In addition, they were associated with various aristocratic entertainments, such as polo, hunting and jousting, and they were particularly prized at court, where huge, splendid stables were maintained. The imperial stables were home to 40,000 horses when Han Gan was summoned to work there. The best artists were invited to do portraits of the emperor’s favourite mounts, especially as a large number of these horses were sent to the capital as tribute by the distant regions of Ferghana and Khotan, and the paintings also immortalised the tribute paid by foreign nations to the Chinese court. As such, they take on a historical dimension....

Article

Chinese, 10th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 10th century.

Born in Jurong (Jiangsu).

Painter. Figures, animals.

Hao Cheng painted Buddhist figures, Taoist figures and horses.

Boston (MFA): Man Trying to Capture a Horse (with the inscription ‘From the brush of Hao Cheng’, in the style of the Song Emperor Huizong, sheet of an album dated ...

Article

Chinese, 11th century, male.

Active 1087-1093.

Born in Zheijiang Province.

Painter. Flowers.

Hua Guangren was a Buddhist monk who painted plum trees in blossom.

Article

Chinese, 10th century, male.

Born c. 900, in Chengdu (Sichuan); died 965.

Painter. Religious subjects, flowers, birds.

Huang Quan was a painter in the service of Meng Cheng of the Later Shu kingdom. He painted religious subjects, both Buddhist and Taoist, but mainly flowers and birds, and it was as a flower and bird painter that he was highly appreciated at the Shu court academy. These paintings are very realistic in their detail and imbued with an intense vitality, thanks to a new technique, the so-called ...