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date: 13 October 2019

LI Kaixian or Li K’ai-Hien or Li K’ai-Hsienlocked

Extract

Chinese, 16th century, male.

Active after 1530.

Scholar, art critic.

Li Kaixian was a famous scholar and official who wrote a work of art criticism, Zhonglu huapin, in which he used critical classifications that did not derive from tradition. Instead of drawing up a hierarchical classification, he looked at artists from a series of different viewpoints, using six qualities and four failings as a common yardstick by which to judge them all. He also showed great boldness and daring in his judgements, rating Ming painting higher than Yuan, and defending the Zhe school against the Wu school, judgements considered so outrageous that during the Ming and Qing dynasties he was regarded as uttely incompetent....

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