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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

Hualin  

Chinese, 17th century, male.

Born 1597, in Sanshan (Fujian); died 1667.

Painter.

A Buddhist monk, Hualin left for Japan in 1660, where he became a priest. Many of his landscapes and flower and bamboo paintings are thus to be found in Japan.

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 ...

Article

Injo  

Japanese, 11th century, male.

Died 1108.

Sculptor.

Injo, a Buddhist sculptor, is said to be the son of Kakujo or Chosei and the grandson of Jocho, a great sculptor who died in 1057. He was therefore part of an important line of artists who formed one of the two main currents of Buddhist art at the beginning of the Heian period. He is considered the founder of the Shichijo Omiya studio in Kyoto, where he continued to work, with his numerous assistants, in the style of Jocho. It was probably for this reason that he received the honorary title of ...

Article

Injo  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Injo was a Buddhist sculptor who received the title of Hoin (an ecclesiastical title conferred on sculptors). In 1295, he executed the Jizo Bosatsu (Sanskrit: Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha) of the Umegahata cemetery in Kyoto....

Article

Inkaku  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Active during the first half of the 12th century.

Sculptor.

Inkaku, a Buddhist artist in the line of Jocho who died in 1057, worked in the Shichijo Omiya studio, founded in Kyoto by Injo, who died in 1108. He is said to be the sculptor of the statue of the Amida Buddha (Sanskrit: Amithaba Buddha) in the Hokongo-in monastery in Kyoto, dated ...

Article

Inken  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the beginning of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inken, the son of Incho, was a Buddhist sculptor at the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was a member of the In School, founded by the sculptor Inson in Kyoto. In the twelfth month of ...

Article

Inno  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inno was a Buddhist sculptor and holder of the title of Hokkyo (‘bridge of the law’, an ecclesiastical title conferred on sculptors). On the first day of the eleventh month of ...

Article

Inshin  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inshin was considered a Buddhist master sculptor ( dai busshi). From the twelfth month of 1251, he took part in the preparations for the assembling of the Buddhist statues in the Kofuku-ji temple in Nara. In ...

Article

Inshu  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active at the end of the 13th century.

Sculptor.

Inshu was considered a Buddhist master sculptor ( dai busshi). He bore the honorary title of Ho-in (‘seal of the law’, the highest of the Buddhist ecclesiastical titles conferred on an artist). He took part in the restoration of the statues in the reading room of the Kofuku-ji temple in Nara. In ...

Article

Inson  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Born 1120; died 1198.

Sculptor.

Inson was the son or disciple of Inkaky, and is the principal representative of one of the two main currents of Buddhist sculpture at the end of the Heian (or Fujiwara) period and at the beginning of the Kamakura period. He was the founder of the In, or In-pa School, known as Shichijo Omiya Bussho. He spent his life as an artist, being particularly active between ...

Article

Jiejing  

Chinese, 10th century, female.

Active during the second half of the 10th century.

Painter (silk).

Jiejing was a Buddhist nun, to whom a Guanyin as Saviour from Perils in the Boston Museum was formerly attributed.

Boston (MFA): Guanyin (dated 975, hanging scroll, colour on silk...

Article

Jochi  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Active in the mid-12th century.

Painter.

Jochi was a Buddhist priest and painter who lived in one of the monasteries of Mount Koya. He decorated the pillars of the Daidempo-in Temple in 1147.

Article

Joga  

Japanese, 13th century, male.

Active before 1295.

Died 1295.

Painter.

Joga was a priest at the Koraku-ji Temple in Shinano (Nagano district) who specialised in painting Buddhist themes. The scroll Biography of the Priest Shinran is attributed to him.

Article

Kakumyo  

Japanese, 12th century, male.

Painter.

Kakumyo was a Buddhist monk-painter.

Article

Kakuyu  

Japanese, 11th – 12th century, male.

Born 1053; died 1140.

Painter.

Late Heian period.

A monk-painter of the Tendai Buddhist sect, Kakuyu was the son of Minamoto no Takakuni. He was one of the best-known painters of his generation and is traditionally believed to be the author of ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1895, in Kyushu; died 1933.

Painter, poet.

Koga Harue trained as a Buddhist monk, subsequently becoming a poet and then a painter. Influenced by Paul Klee and Giorgio de Chirico, he played an important role in the development of early 20th-century Japanese painting, introducing echoes of the modernist movements in Europe, such as cubism, futurism, constructivism and especially surrealism, which he can be said to represent. His pictures from the late 1920s are full of unusual and bizarre figuration. He exhibited regularly at the Nika (two disciplines - sculpture and painting) Salon and was selected for the 4th Nikakai Exhibition in ...

Article

Kokan  

Japanese, 17th – 18th century, male.

Born 1653; died 1717.

Painter.

Kokan, who became the superior at the Hoon-ji temple in Kyoto, studied painting with Eino (1631-1697). He specialised in Buddhist themes as well as humorous subjects verging on caricature.