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date: 14 October 2019

Zhang Shengwen or Chang Sheng-Wenlocked


Chinese, 12th century, male.

Active in Yunnan.

Painter. Religious subjects.

Although Zhang Shengwen is known only for a single work, Buddhist Images; this painting is clear testimony of the permanence of orthodox Buddhist iconography, as it has unmistakable ties with the frescoes in the Buddhist caves of Dunhuang, which date from the 8th century. Zhang’s lines are extremely delicate and his light colours have great subtlety, while the perfection of his drawing and the finesse of his heads are clear evidence of considerable technical skill. Yet there is nothing original in him; the main elements of his work come straight from the Buddhist art of Dunhuang....

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