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Henrik H. Sørensen

(fl late 13th century to early 14th).

Korean painter of Buddhist subjects of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). He is said to have painted in the style of the Li–Guo school, an approach to landscape painting developed by the Chinese painters Li Cheng and Guo Xi. Two of No Yŏng’s paintings survive, one, dating to 1307, of the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha, the other of Amitabha Buddha (both gold outline on black lacquered wood, 224×130 mm; Seoul, N. Mus.). The former has Kshitigarbha, who guides the souls of the suffering to the underworld, as the main image, together with a smaller depiction of the bodhisattva Manjushri, shown standing in the upper right-hand corner, and a host of devas descending on Mt Kŭmgang (Diamond), one of the holy mountains of Korea. Kshitigarbha, who is clad in a billowing monk’s robe, is shown seated on a flat, stylized rock among a swirl of clouds. In his right hand he holds a crystal ball, his characteristic attribute, while his left hand rests on his left knee. One foot is touching a lotus positioned on the ground, the other is resting on the seat. On both sides of the ...


Carol Michaelson

Chinese dynasty founded by the Mongols, dating from 1279 to 1368. After the division of the Southern Song period (1127–1279), Kublai Khan (reg 1260–94) reunited all of China under Mongol rule, incorporating it in a huge empire that extended westwards as far as modern Hungary and Poland. The Mongols were not great patrons of the arts, although they admired craftsmen. Nevertheless, by reuniting China, thus bringing together the differing traditions of north and south, and by not imposing stylistic demands, they allowed artists to use and develop a variety of influences. Indeed, there were significant innovations in both painting and the applied arts of porcelain and lacquer. The Silk Route was reopened, and European interest in China, both diplomatic and missionary, developed. Franciscans and other Europeans, arriving for the first time, reported on what they had seen. The Venetian merchant Marco Polo allegedly spent the years 1275–92...


[zi Ruoshui ; hao Tanxuan ]

(b Qiantang [now Hangzhou], Zhejiang Province; fl 1301–50).

Chinese painter. Although known as a landscape and figure painter, he was particularly noted for his paintings of birds and flowers. One of the few recorded details of his life is that when young he worked under Zhao Mengfu, a leading painter of the early Yuan period (1279–1368), who was then serving as an official under the Mongol rulers in Hangzhou. It is said that through Zhao’s instructions Wang gave up the academic style that had dominated Chinese painting during the Southern Song period (1127–1279) and began to study the works of ancient masters—the method of study advocated by literati artists (who stood in opposition to the academic tradition). Of some 50 paintings attributed to Wang, only about a quarter can be securely given to him. Most of these are birds and flowers painted in monochrome black ink, with some landscape elements in the background. Typical of his style are ...



Ni Zan  

Wen Fong

[Ni Tsan; zi Yuanzhen; hao Yunlin]

(b Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, 1301; d 1374).

Chinese painter and calligrapher. He is designated one of the Four Masters of the Yuan (1279–1368), with Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen and Wang Meng.

Ni Zan’s family were of Xixia (Tangut) origin. His tenth-generation ancestor Shi came to China as Xixia ambassador in 1034–7 at the time of Emperor Renzong (reg 1023–63), and the family settled in Duliang (modern Anhui Province). In 1127–30, under Emperor Gaozong (reg 1127–62), Ni Zan’s fifth-generation ancestor Yi moved south with the Southern Song (1127–1279), settling at Zhituo village in Wuxi, modern Jiangsu Province, where the Ni family prospered. Ni Zan and his elder brother Ying were the sons of a concubine, Yan. Their father died when they were young, and they were raised by their eldest half-brother, Ni Zhaogui (1279–1328). Ying was mentally incompetent, and after Zhaogui’s death Ni Zan assumed responsibility for the family estate, a role ill-suited to his natural inclinations. He led a privileged and secluded home life for 20 or more years; in the mid-1340s he spent most of his time among rare books, antique paintings, calligraphy and flowers in his favourite studio, the Qingbi ge (‘Pure and secluded pavilion’)....


Lynette Bosch

[Llorenz Saragozza]

(b Cariñena, Aragon; fl 1364; d 1401).

Spanish illuminator and painter. He worked in Valencia and Barcelona and was responsible for the continuation of the so-called International Gothic style in Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. He is recorded in Valencia from 1364 to 1366; in the latter year he was working in Barcelona, where he was paid by Queen Eleanor (d 1374) for two retables, one of St Nicholas for the Franciscan convent in Calatayud and the other of St Catherine for the Franciscan convent in Teruel, both of which are untraced. In 1373 King Peter IV of Aragon (reg 1336–87) referred to him in a letter to the Council of Albocacer as the best painter of Barcelona. Lorenzo later returned to Valencia, where he is documented from 1377 to 1401, the year of his death. His varied commissions there included an embroidered cloth for the Armourers’ Guild (1390; untraced) and a series of ceiling paintings for the Casa del Peso Real (...



Muslim dynasty that ruled in parts of the Yemen from the late 9th century ad to the 20th. The Zaydi imams traced their descent to the Prophet Muhammad and took their name from Zayd (d ad 740), the son of the fourth Shi‛ite imam. The Zaydi imamate in the Yemen was established by Yahya al-Hadi (854–911) who arrived there in 889, but his austere code of behaviour initially won little success and he was forced to leave. He returned in 896 and established his seat at Sa‛da, to the north of San‛a’. He won the allegiance of several tribes by acting as a mediator in tribal disputes, but his influence remained precarious. After his death his followers remained in the Yemen, and the Zaydi imamate continued to claim authority by divine right, although there was no strict dynastic criterion for the election of imams. Based in the north of the country, the power of the Zaydi imams varied over the centuries; occasionally it reached as far as San‛a’. The movement was forced underground by the advent of the ...


Wu Zhen  

Chu-Tsing Li

[ Wu Chen ; zi Zhonggui ; hao Meihua daoren ]

(b Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, 1280; d 1354).

Chinese painter . Although he was well educated, especially in philosophy and swordsmanship, he never took the examinations to enter government, preferring to spend most of his life in his home town with occasional visits to such nearby towns as Hangzhou and Wuxing. A scholar of the Yijing (‘Book of changes’), he practised fortune-telling to make a living. As a painter he was not as successful commercially as Sheng Mao (one of his neighbours), but he had his own circle of literati friends, including such painters as Wu Guan and Zhang Guan and such scholars as Tao Zhongyi.

As a painter, Wu is known for his landscapes and paintings of bamboo, most of which are in ink on paper, in free brushwork; his calligraphy is also noted for its cursive style (caoshu). His earliest known painting is Two Junipers (hanging scroll, ink on silk, 1328; Taipei, N. Pal. Mus.), which is strongly influenced by the 10th-century master Juran. Wu’s interest in the free use of texture strokes on mountains and rocks and in the shapes of trees and branches is already apparent. ...


Chu-Tsing Li

[ Wang Chen-p’eng ; zi Pengmei ; hao Guyun Chushi ]

(b Yongjia, Zhejiang Province, c. 1280; d c. 1329).

Chinese painter. He was the most famous exponent of ‘boundary painting’ (jiehua), which is characterized by precision and accuracy, especially in the depiction of architectural details, usually achieved with a ruler. He served at the Yuan court in Beijing and became known to the emperor, Renzong (reg 1312–21), who bestowed on him the name Guyun Chushi (‘The Hermit of Lonely Clouds’). Appointed an official in the fifth rank, he served in the Imperial Library, thus having an opportunity to view many of the paintings and books in that collection, sometimes even making copies of the paintings. He painted many works of interest to the Emperor and the court, such as famous palaces of the past, well-known pavilions and buildings, activities in the court and historical and Buddhist figures, all executed in extremely fine lines without colour.

Wang’s most famous work, painted for the Emperor in 1310, is the ...


Chu-Tsing Li

[Ts’ao Chih-pai; zi Youxan, Zhensu; hao Yunxi]

(b Huating (modern Songjiang, Shanghai Municipality), 1272; d 1355).

Chinese painter, poet and engineer. Born into a family of prominent officials, he lost his father during infancy and was brought up by his mother and grandfather. He received a traditional education in the Chinese Confucian classics. He distinguished himself first as a hydraulic engineer, serving in 1294 and again in 1298 as an imperial adviser. His engineering achievements earned him great repute and doubtless contributed to his becoming one of the richest men in the Huating district. By reclaiming large areas of local wetland, he developed a large estate and farm. In the early 1300s he became a teacher in the nearby district of Kunshan but soon resigned. Later he visited the capital, Dadu (Khanbalik; now Beijing), where many aristocrats and high officials were interested in befriending him. Cao declined all offers of patronage, however, saying that he was not one of the vulgar people who went to the capital to seek high position....