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Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Buddhist monastery of the 7th century ad to first half of the 8th, in the valley of the Vakhsh River, 12 km east of Kurgan-Tyube, southern Tajikistan. During this early medieval period it belonged to Vakhsh (U-sha in Chinese sources), one of the 27 domains of Tokharistan. Excavations between 1960 and 1975 by the Academy of Sciences, Tajikistan, and the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, exposed the entire site; most of the finds are on loan to the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. The buildings, which covered an area of 100×50 m, were constructed of mud-bricks (c. 490×250×110 mm) and rammed earth, with walls surviving to a height of 5.5 to 6.0 m. The site comprised two square complexes linked by an enfilade of three rooms (see fig. (a)). The south-eastern complex or monastery (b) had domed cells (c) for monks, a hall or refectory (d), service quarters, store-rooms and a small sanctuary (e). An open courtyard in the centre had a fired brick path across it, linking the enfilade to the sanctuary. A corridor around the perimeter of the courtyard was divided into four right-angled sections by a deep iwan, or vestibule, in the middle of each side. One of these vestibules led into the sanctuary, the second into the meeting-hall, the third into the enfilade and the fourth to the monastery exit (j) and also on to a vaulted ramp (k) that originally gave access to the roof and the now lost second storey....

Article

Korean, 6th century, male.

Active in Japan from 597.

Painter.

Prince Asa was the son of the King of Paekche (Kudara in Japanese) and went to Japan in 597 during the reign of Empress Suiko. A portrait in Chinese style was formerly attributed to him. It represents Prince Shotoku (who lived from 573 to 622) and his two sons (Princes Eguri and Yamashiro). The source of the attribution is the biography of Prince Shokotu compiled by the monk Kenshin of the Horyu temple. However, the figures portrayed in the painting show similarities with the Chommmoryujo byobu (Screen with Beauty beneath a Tree) in the Shoso-in, Nara, and the murals in the tomb of the Tang Crown Prince Yide (706). The portrait of Prince Shokotu in fact dates from the 8th century and its attribution to Prince Asa is simply legend. The painting was in the Horyuji Yamato temple and belongs to the Imperial Family....

Article

Chinese, 8th – 9th century, male.

Active at the court of Chang’anc.785-802.

Painter.

Bian Luan was a painter of the Tang dynasty and the most important bird painter of his generation. All that remains of his work is one signed album leaf, Dove on a Branch...

Article

Chinese, 8th century, male.

Born in Kuaiji (Zhejiang).

Painter.

Chen Hong was introduced into the Tang court during the Kaiyuan period (713-742). He is known to have painted portraits of the emperors Xuanzong (713-756) and Suzong (756-762) and illustrations of imperial hunting parties.

Kansas City (Nelson-Atkins MA): ...

Article

Chinese, 8th century, male.

Painter. Animals.

Dai Song was a provincial official during the period when the painter Han Huang (723-787) was governor of the province of Zhejiang. He became his disciple. He is known for his buffaloes.

Berlin: Two Buffaloes near Wind-Blown Copse (...

Article

Dai Yi  

Chinese, 8th century, male.

Painter.

Dai Yi was the younger brother of the painter Dai Song. He was also known for his buffaloes.

Article

Chinese, 9th – 10th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 9th century.

Born 845, in Jiangsu Province; died after 930.

Painter.

In 880, Deng Changyu followed the Tang emperor Xizong to the land of Shu, where he settled. He specialised in birds and flowers and his works would serve as a model for Huang Quan (c. 900-965). His signed handscroll ...

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

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

Chinese, 7th century, male.

Painter.

Fan Zhangshou was an officer and painter, and a pupil of Zheng Sengyu (active 500-550). He painted scenes of country life and domestic animals.

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, 8th century, male.

Active in Jiangan (Shensi).

Born 723; died 787.

Painter.

Han Huang was governor of the Zhejiang province and first minister during the reign of the Tang emperor Dezong (reigned 780-785). He is known for his paintings of people and buffaloes.

Beijing (Palace Mus.): ...

Article

T. I. Zeymal’

Early medieval settlement, probably founded in the 2nd or 3rd century ad, on the western outskirts of the modern town of Kolhozabad in Tajikistan. The site, which has been excavated since 1956, has been identified as the main town in the Vakhsh domain (Chin. U-sha), one of the 27 domains in Tokharistan. Three periods in the history of the town have been identified: before the mid-6th century ad, mid-6th century to mid-7th, and late 7th century to mid-8th. The town was apparently destroyed and abandoned c. 740, when the Arab invasions devastated many other sites in northern Tokharistan, such as Adzhina Tepe. A main irrigation canal extending more than 100 km supplied water to the town and surrounding area. The square town (300×300 m) was surrounded by powerful mud-brick walls with embrasures and towers and by a large moat (50–60×5 m), beyond which lay other buildings and a necropolis to the east. A main street linked the city gates on the east and west. One building within the town had a large ceremonial room (17×7 m) with a niche in the end wall flanked by three-quarter columns made of finely ground clay on a wooden frame. The room was decorated with ornamental wall paintings, much deteriorated from the salinity of the soil. The citadel (70×70×12 m), containing suites of ceremonial and residential rooms, occupied the north-east corner of the town, from which it was separated by a moat (12–15×6 m). Flat roofs were reserved for large rooms (e.g. the ceremonial room in the citadel; 10×10 m), and different kinds of vaulting were used extensively. A round room dating from the middle period, several rooms in the towers and the Buddhist chapel were domed. A stone head of the Buddha and a stone altar pre-date the founding of the town. Finds from the late period include a ceramic tile (450×340 mm; 7th–8th century) showing a rider shooting an arrow at a mountain goat, another ceramic tile (140×130 mm) showing a rider hunting a lion, a cornelian seal with falcon hunting, and a fragment of a ceramic chalice (125×85 mm) with a central medallion containing a walking deer with branchy antlers. In the later period the domain issued silver coins imitating Sasanian drachmas of Peroz (...

Article

Japanese, 9th century, male.

Born 782; died 853.

Painter.

Kawanari is sometimes said to have been of Korean origin. He was painter to the Imperial court, an officer in the Imperial guard and is one of the great painters of the Heian period (794-1184...

Article

Japanese, 7th century, male.

Active in Nara in the early 7th century.

Of Korean origin.

Painter.

Komano-Kaseichi is listed as one of the artists on the inscription on the Tenjukoku Mandara, a pair of large embroideries in the Horyu-ji Monastery, Nara, dedicated to Prince Shotoku (592-622). It represents the paradise (Tenjukoku) to which the dead prince’s soul was supposed to have migrated....

Article

Japanese, 9th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 9th century.

Painter.

Founded in 886, the Bureau of Painting ( e-dokoro) of the Imperial Court became the focus of painting at Heian (now Kyoto). Soon the names of artists who were appreciated for their artistic talents and not merely as craftsmen begin to appear, and the name of Kose no Kanaoka is mentioned several times as Japan’s first genius of painting. Much respected by the scholars of his day, Kanaoka was asked by Sugawara no Michizane (845-903), statesman, scholar and poet, to paint a view of the imperial park and gardens in the years 868-872. This would suggest that on this occasion Kanaoka tried to render the gardens faithfully, while in other works he gave his imagination freer rein, painting scenes from Chinese texts on ritual screens. Kanaoka was also the founder of the Kose school, Japan’s first school of painting. There his descendants would succeed him as court painters, by the end of the 9th century developing a distinctively Japanese style of painting....

Article

Kukai  

Japanese, 8th – 9th century, male.

Born 774, in Boyobugaura; died 22 April 835.

Painter, calligrapher, poet.

Kukai was a priest and founder of Shingon (‘true word’) esoteric Buddhism in Japan. He is best known as Kobo Daishi (‘propagator of the Dharma’), his posthumous name. He founded temples in Nara on Mount Koya and the Toji temple complex outside Kyoto. After a lengthy visit to China, Kukai brought back techniques that were to have an important influence on the birth of Japanese art....

Article

Japanese, 8th century, male.

Died 774.

Sculptor.

Late Nara (Tempyo Period 710-794).

Article

Japanese, 7th century, male.

Active at the beginning of the 7th century.

Sculptor.