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Article

Peter C. Sturman

[zi Mojie ]

(b near Taiyuan, Shaanxi Province, ad 701; d c. 761).

Chinese poet, painter and Musician. One of China’s greatest poets, he was also a painter at a time when relatively few men of high social position practised this art. His reputation as a painter was limited in his own time, but his unparalleled stature as a man of letters attracted the attention of scholar–official painters of subsequent periods, who celebrated Wang Wei as the founder of the literati tradition of painting ( see China, People’s Republic of §V 4., (ii) ). Born into a powerful and prestigious clan, at the age of 15 he dazzled the Tang court at Chang’an (modern Xi’an, Shaanxi Province) with his precocious skills as a poet, painter, calligrapher and musician. He passed the metropolitan examinations to receive his jinshi degree at the age of 20 and was appointed Assistant Secretary of Music. He ended his career with the high office of Right Assistant Director of the Department of State Affairs....

Article

Joan Stanley-Baker

[ Yen Wen-kuei ]

(b Wuxing [now in Zhejiang Province]; fl late 970s–early 11th century).

Chinese painter . He probably studied with Hao Hui ( fl 10th–11th century) of Hedong (now in eastern Shanxi Province). He served in the military until the accession of the second emperor of the Song dynasty (960–1279), Taizong (reg 976–97), when he set forth by boat to the capital and sold figures and landscapes on the road leading to the Celestial Gate (Tian men). He is said to have been a court official, as a result of which he was accorded the honorary title of jiangshi lang (‘court gentleman for ceremonial service’), and to have served as the zhubo (recorder or archivist) in Yunying District, Yunzhou.

He rose to fame, according to one account (the Shengchao minghua ping; ‘Critique of famous painters of the present dynasty’, by the Song writer Liu Daochun), during the reign of Emperor Taizong when Gao Yi, a painter in attendance (daizhao...

Article

Mette Siggstedt

[ Chou Wen-chü ]

(b Jurong, near modern Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; fl ad 942–61).

Chinese painter . He served as a daizhao (painter in attendance) at the Painting Academy of the Southern Tang court ( ad 937–75). He may first have become prominent during the reign of the emperor Li Bian (937–43), when it is recorded that he was ordered to paint the Nanzhuang (Southern Village), though Guo Ruoxu dates this event to between 961 and 975. He participated in executing a joint work at the banquet held by the ruler, Li Jing (reg 943–61), on New Year’s day, 947. He was probably dead before the Song (960–1279) conquered the Southern Tang, since he is not recorded among the painters of the Southern Tang entering the Song Painting Academy.

Zhou was known for his brushwork of the zhanbi (‘tremulous brush’) type, probably a method to render the fluttering quality of silken garments. According to the Xuanhe huapu (‘Xuanhe collection of painting’; preface dated ...

Article

Eduardo Williams

Art produced in the period before European contact in the 16th century in the culture area of West Mexico, which comprises the modern Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and Michoacán.

West Mexican art is characterized by some of the most distinctive styles of Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian. There has, however, been little systematic research into or study of West Mexican material in its archaeological context; most examples have been obtained through the looting of sites and the consequent destruction of all information regarding archaeological context and provenance. The unique qualities of West Mexican art, pertaining particularly to the shaft-tomb tradition, lacked monumentality. Few Mesoamerican deities were represented, and there was an emphasis on the portrayal of realistic anthropomorphic and zoomorphic ceramic figures. This aspect may have had a symbolic connection with shamanism and relates primarily to tomb offerings. West Mexican art seems to have functioned on the level of village-centred or domestic cults, rather than in the state-level civic or religious ceremonies of nuclear Mesoamerica....

Article

Andrew L. Cohen

[Gaṅga]

Indian dynasty that ruled parts of south India from the 4th to 11th centuries ad. (There was no relationship with the Eastern Gangas, who ruled parts of eastern India from the 5th to 15th centuries.) The Western Gangas, though at times subordinate to the Kadambas, the Chalukya §1 and the Rashtrakuta dynasty, maintained their prominence longer than many dynastic families. From their capital at Talkad (Talakāḍu), the Western Gangas ruled the area called Gangavadi, comprising southern Karnataka and part of Tamil Nadu, a position that often forced them to participate in the power struggles between the Pallava, Pandya and Chola dynasties; in the 11th century the Cholas annexed most of Gangavadi. The Western Gangas were active supporters of the Digambara sect of Jainism in south India, and a number of Ganga period monuments survive at the sacred Jaina site of Sravana Belgola . The most notable of these, a colossal monolithic granite image of the Jaina saint Bahubali, known locally as ‘Gommateshvara’, was sponsored by Chamundaraya, general and minister to the Western Ganga king Racamalla IV (...

Article

Article

Xu Xi  

James Robinson

[ Hsü Hsi ]

(b Jinling [now Nanjing], late 9th century ad ; d ?Jinling, before 975).

Chinese painter . A master of the flower-and-bird genre that became firmly established during the Five Dynasties period ( ad 907–60), Xu Xi is a legendary figure in the traditions of Chinese painting ( see China, People’s Republic of §V 3., (v) ). His work was praised during his lifetime by Taizu (reg 960–76), the first emperor of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), and by influential critics and emperors of later periods; not long after his death, however, Xu Xi was known only through literature.

Xu Xi came from a family of respected government officials, but he remained aloof from public office, preferring to wander in gardens, observing flowers, insects and birds. Descriptions of his painting suggest he applied ink freely and rapidly and added colour loosely, emphasizing ink brushwork, for, by his own accounts, he was not concerned with subtleties of colour. This contrasts sharply with the then prevailing trends of meticulously applied, solid colours in areas bounded by fine ink outline. His style was contrasted with that of ...

Article

David M. Jones and Jaime Litvak King

Pre-Columbian site in western Morelos, Mexico, c. 40 km south-west of Cuernavaca. The site and region were occupied continuously from c. 900 bc, but are known especially for the Late-Classic-period (c. ad 600–c. 900) occupation, when an urban and ceremonial centre with monumental architecture was built around and on the artificially terraced hills known as Cerro Xochicalco and Cerro la Malinche and on the adjacent hills and plains.

The archaeological zone was first mentioned by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún in the 16th century. The Jesuit Antonio Alzate visited the site in 1777, conducted some primitive excavations on the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent and wrote a report in 1791. The Jesuit Pedro Marquez also visited the site, and his report was used by Alexander von Humboldt to describe the site and publish some illustrations of it in 1810. In 1877 Antonio Peñafiel made a study of the monumental architecture then known. Excavations were conducted by ...

Article

Weihe Chen

[ Zhang Chengshi, Zhang Dian ; Chang Hsü ; zi Bogao ]

(b Wunjunwu [now Suzhou, Jiangsu Province] or Wuxing [now Huzhou, Zhejiang Province], fl early 8th century).

Chinese calligrapher, poet, scholar and government official . He graduated from being a minor official in Changshu to the senior post of Zuoshuaifu Changshi, which earned him the nickname ‘Zhang Changshi’. He was adept at writing poems, especially in qijue (a four-line verse with seven characters to a line and following a strict tonal pattern and rhyme scheme). As a poet he was equally as famous as He Zhizhang (659–755), Bao Rong and Zhang Ruoxu, which earned them the title of Wuzhong sijia (Four Scholars of the Wu Area). He was friendly with He Zhizhang and Li Bai (701–762) and associated with Gao Shi, Li Qi and Yan Zhenqing.

It is as a calligrapher that Zhang is best remembered. He had a good command of kaishu (regular script), which he imparted to Cui Miao and Yan Zhenqing. Yan said that his kaishu was so detailed and penetrating that it could be considered as truth and the correct Way. His uninhibited ...

Article

Mary S. Lawton

[ Chang Hsüan ]

(b Chang‘an [now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province]; fl c. ad 710; d after 748).

Chinese painter . He was considered one of the outstanding painters of secular figures in a period when that category of painting flourished, although he is mentioned only briefly in Zhang Yanyuan’s Lidai minghua ji (‘Record of famous painters of all periods’; ad 847). His compositions are known only through copies and recorded titles. According to the Tang chao minghua lu (‘Record of famous painters of the Tang dynasty’; second quarter of the 9th century) by Zhu Jingxuan, he painted terraces, trees, garden flowers and birds; his main subject, however, was contemporary court ladies depicted in genre scenes, which omitted all objects except those that were essential to the particular activity depicted. Records of such paintings help to establish the period of Zhang’s activity; a copy of a painting by Emperor Huizong (reg 1101–25) of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) in the Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang, identifies the subject of several of them as Lady Guoguo, the beautiful sister of Yang Guifei, consort of Emperor Xuanzong (...

Article

Ho Chuan-Hsing

[Ou-yang Hsün; zi Xiben]

(b Xiangzhou [now Changsha], Hunan Province, ad 557; d Yingzhou [now Fuyang], Anhui Province, ad 641).

Chinese calligrapher and scholar-official. Born into a family of government officials, he was a talented student who read widely in the classics. He took office under the Sui (ad 581–618) in ad 611 as Imperial Doctor and served under the Tang dynasty (ad 618–907) as censor and as a scholar at the Hongwen Academy, where he taught calligraphy. He attained the status of Imperial Calligrapher and inscribed several of the major imperial stelae. He was a well-rounded man of culture, a scholar and a government official, and along with Yu Shinan (ad 558–638) and Chu Suiliang (ad 596–658) became known as one of the Three Great Calligraphers of the Early Tang (see China, People’s Republic of §IV 2., (iii)).

Ouyang Xun devoted his creative energies to the development of regular script (kaishu) calligraphy, establishing the aesthetic model for the script. His calligraphy carried on the tradition of Wang Xizhi (...

Article

Yagul  

John Paddock and Trent Barnes

Site in Mexico, in the Valley of Oaxaca, inhabited as early as c. 400 bc; an extremely compact small city flourished there in the Late Post-Classic period (c. ad 700–1521). Its present name derives from the Zapotec terms for tree (yaga) and old (gula). Its centre occupies a large natural terrace on the south side of a high hill; the top was fortified, and houses covered the slopes. Since no modern community covers the Yagul remains, its temples, palace, secular public buildings, ballcourt, and streets are clearly visible.

Around 400 bc ceramic sculptures with Olmec traits were placed in burials at Yagul (Oaxaca, Mus. Reg.). The site was nearly uninhabited until c. ad 700. When nearby Lambityeco was abandoned c. ad 700, its inhabitants apparently moved to Yagul, where they undertook the first major constructions at the site. However, the preservation of later buildings has left their work covered over. After ...

Article

Yangji  

Kang Woo-Bang

( fl c. ad 632–46).

Korean sculptor, calligrapher and priest. He was prominent during the reign of Queen Sŏndŏk (reg 632–46) of Silla. According to the 13th-century Samguk yusa (‘Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms’) he was proficient in many arts. Three pieces of his work survive from the site of Yŏngmyo Temple, Kyŏngju, North Kyŏngsang Province: a Buddhist trinity, figures of guardians and tiles of halls and of a pagoda. Other works attributed to him include the eight guardian generals at the base of the pagoda at Sach’ŏnwang Temple, Kyŏngju, a Buddhist trinity and the deva kings to the right and left of it at Pŏmnim Temple, Kyŏngju, inscribed hanging boards at both Yŏngmyo and Pŏmnim temples, a further engraved pagoda and 3000 small Buddha figures (destr.)

Yangji’s Buddhist sculptures were all made from clay, which he was adept at moulding. He lived at Sŏkchang Temple in Kyŏngju, the Silla capital. When the temple site was excavated, many clay artefacts assumed to be Yangji’s work were discovered, among them heavenly spirits carved freely in unrestrained postures and sporting finely detailed muscles. A brick engraved with a Buddha and pagoda was also unearthed. All that remains of what have been described as the guardian generals of Sach’ŏnwang Temple amounts to no more than a single brick relief of a ...

Article

Keith Pratt

[ Chang Yen-yuan ; zi Aibing ]

( fl c. 815–c. 875ad ).

Chinese art historian . He is known as the compiler of the Fa shu yaolu (‘Essential records of Chinese calligraphers’), a compendium of earlier writings on calligraphy, and the author of Lidai minghua ji (‘Record of famous painters of all periods’). The latter, based on Xie He ’s Gu huapin lu (‘Classification of painters’), was the most thorough survey yet made of painting theory and history. It contains data up to the year ad 841 and its preface is dated ad 847.

Zhang follows the categories of art already known to Gu Kaizhi , those of figures, landscapes, animals and buildings, and adds to them flowers-and-birds and demons-and-spirits. He provides information on 322 painters from earliest times to the mid-Tang, and on imperial and monastic picture collections. The 15 sections of the ‘Introduction’ cover not only the principles of painting but also practical matters such as seals, mountings and prices. Zhang followed one of his own sources, Zong Bing (...

Article

M. Yaldiz

[Yarxoto ; Chin. Jiaohe ]

Site of an ancient city in the Turfan Oasis in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. It was for a time the capital of the Uygur kingdom (9th–13th century). However, the town was mentioned earlier in the annals of the Chinese Han dynasty (206 bcad 220) as Jushi, the residence of the ruler of Turfan. As the name Yarkhoto (‘cliff town’) suggests, the town is situated on an island-like plateau surrounded by two deep river valleys. This plateau (1.5 km from north–west to south–east) is strewn with a great number of Buddhist ruins, which in the main were excavated by Aurel Stein (1900–01; 1906–7; 1914), Albert Grünwedel (1902–3; 1904–5) and Albert von LeCoq (1904–5; 1913–14). The building designated by Stein as Yar I is a monastery, the largest building—Yar II—a Buddhist sanctuary. The latter is in an architectural style widely used in Central Asia: a stupa of several storeys, with niches, and surrounded by a wall. Devotees were able to walk round the stupa in a clockwise direction and worship the cult figures—Buddhas, ...

Article

Carolyn Tate

Ancient Maya city in the modern state of Chiapas, Mexico, which flourished as an important lowland capital c. 300–810 CE. Yaxchilan occupies the hills and riverbank overlooking a great bend in the Usumacinta River. Its eighteen or nineteen rulers perpetuated a 400-year-long rivalry with Piedras Negras, about 48 km downstream, for control of the subsidiary centers and sacred caves of the region. Yaxchilan’s approximately 130 carved monuments include stelae, lintels, altar-pedestals, thrones, circular ballcourt markers, and five grand hieroglyphic stairways. Their texts and images present the broadest range of ritual activities seen at any Maya site. In addition to the variety of sculptural formats and subjects, some of the monuments of Yaxchilan are widely considered to be among the most skillfully designed and carved of Maya art works. And as at many Pre-Columbian centers, its designers created alignments to solar phenomena as they planned specific buildings.

The site became well known following the explorations of ...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

[Ererouk ; Ereruk ; Ereruyk

Ruins of an Early Christian basilica dating from the 5th century ad to the early 6th, near the village of Ani-Pemza, Armenia, south-east of the border with Turkey and c. 10 km south of Ani. An Armenian inscription (probably 7th century) on the north wall of the apse identifies the church as the martyrium of the Forerunner (Karapet). A Greek inscription (6th–7th centuries) and several others in Armenian (c. 6th–10th centuries; 1038; and 1201–12) refer to restoration works.

The church was excavated by N. Marr in 1908; by then the vaulted roof was missing, and only the outer walls survived. Restoration work was undertaken in 1928, followed by renewed excavations in 1987. Some features resemble those of 5th-century Armenian churches, but other architectural details, such as the twin-towered west façade, gabled portals, porticos and some sculptural decorations, are similar to contemporary Syrian churches (e.g. Turmanin and Ruwayha) and indicate an early 6th-century date. Accordingly it has been suggested that the original 5th-century structure may have had additions and changes during the 6th century....

Article

Mary S. Lawton

[Tung Yüan; zi Shuda; hao Beiyuan]

(b Zhongling, near Jin xain, Jiangxi Province, c. ad 900; d ?Zhongling, 962).

Chinese painter. He was a near contemporary of Li Cheng and is considered a foremost representative of the Northern Song (960–1127) monochrome landscape painting tradition as interpreted in southern China at the end of the 10th century. During this time landscape painting became established as the most important category of Chinese painting (see China, People’s Republic of §V 1., (iii)). For many centuries afterwards, Dong exerted great influence on painters of landscape. Dong Qichang, the influential theorist and artist, traced the original source of the literati painting (wen ren hua) tradition (see China, People’s Republic of §V 4., (ii)) of monochrome-ink landscape painting to Wang Wei, Juran and Dong Yuan.

Little is known of Dong Yuan’s life except that he lived mainly in Nanjing. It is also known that c. ad 937 he was ordered to paint a picture of Mt Lu, which indicates that he was by then established as a prominent painter. In 947 he was asked to collaborate with four other (now unidentifiable) noted artists in the depiction (destr.) of a snowfall that took place on New Year’s Day. He was a member of the imperial court of Li Jing (...

Article

Zaculeu  

George F. Andrews and Trent Barnes

Pre-Columbian site around 4 km from the modern town of Huehuetenango in Guatemala. It flourished as a Highland Maya ceremonial and administrative centre c. ad 600–1525. The ruins of Zaculeu are high in the mountains of western Guatemala, in a relatively flat valley with mountains rising on all sides. Archaeological evidence shows that the site was occupied continuously from the Early Classic period (c. ad 250–c. 600) until its conquest by the Spaniards under the leadership of Gonzalo de Alvarado in 1525. At that time, the site was the Mam Maya capital, although it was evidently subjected to many outside influences and perhaps even conquest by neighbouring tribes during its long history. Most of what is known about Zaculeu is based on the excavations and restorations carried out in 1946–9 under the auspices of the Guatemalan Instituto de Arqueología e Historia. During this time nearly all the main structures were excavated and partly restored, numerous burials uncovered, and collections of ceramics and other artefacts made. Most of these artefacts are in the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología in Guatemala City, and there is a small collection in the site museum....

Article

Zapotal  

Nelly Gutiérrez Solana and Trent Barnes

Pre-Columbian ceremonial site in central Veracruz, Mexico. It flourished c. ad 500–c. 800 and is notable for the large ceramic figures found there and for one of the few known temples in Mesoamerica dedicated to the god of the underworld. Zapotal has been plundered and some of its sculptures taken abroad; two seated female figures (Brussels, Mus. Royaux A. & Hist.; St Louis, MO, A. Mus.) are probably from Zapotal. Excavations at the site have been carried out by the Universidad Veracruzana since 1971, and most of the artefacts unearthed are in the Universidad Veracruzana, Museo de Antropología, Jalapa.

The site consists of mounds orientated along a north–south axis, two of which measure 10 m and 15 m in height. An offering of numerous terracotta figures and vessels, which had been broken for ritual purposes, was discovered in an artificial platform known as Mound 2 (75×35×4 m). Over 100 burials have also been found. Some contained ‘smiling face’ clay figurines, a type found only in the Veracruz region, and an ossuary composed of a column of 82 skulls and bones was also unearthed. The skeletal remains from tombs bear evidence of human sacrifices....