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Northern Sung Dynasty: Landscape Painting Influences

1841 words - 7 pages

" This was the standard, which lasted until the Tang dynasty (618-907). During the Five Dynasties (907-960), between the ninth and tenth centuries, the trend of using ink to express ideas slowly took over the use of colors in the mainstream of Chinese landscape paintings. In other words, the tradition of using colors and the use of ink each lasted for one thousand years. Yet the emphasis on using colors actually lasted a little longer. This is because the tradition of color painting did not end even during the height of monochrome ink painting. While colors form the central elements in Tang paintings, beginning in the Five Dynasties period, ink played a dominant role. During the Song dynasty (960-1279), colors became important for a short period during the end of the Northern Song (960-1127).
Usami notes that all paintings require forms. In the history of the Chinese theory of painting, however, the principal focus was a concern not with form, but with 'something beyond form'. (Usami, 1998) Chinese thinkers generally conceived of form in terms of a process of 'becoming solid'. But in the artistic production of 'chaotic forms', Chinese painting actually came more closely to resemble the processes of creation and change in nature. Thus painters themselves offered a visual interpretation of the creative act that differed radically from that formulated in the philosophical discourse of concepts and words.
Mi Fu a southern Song Literati painter however, interpreted the phrase 'bamboo in mind' as a statement concerned solely with that, which existed in the mind. The form achieved in the painting thus came to be understood not as derived from the real world, but as originating from within the painter. This liberation of form from an original object was a crucial turning point in the history of artistic expression. Guo Xi in turn introduced the notion of 'the chaotic trace of the brush'. He aimed at a naturalistic representation, which suppressed the function of the brush stroke as a sign of artifice. This also entailed a rejection of 'fixed forms'. His intention was to describe a chaotic state before the assumption of fixed form in the passage from formless Qi to shaped matter. One of the most famous of the Northern Literati, Li Kung-lin also called Li Lung Mein or Li Gonglin was one of the most lavishly praised Chinese connoisseurs and painters in a circle of scholar-officials during the Northern Sung period. After receiving his advanced scholar degree in 1070, Li Kung-lin served in the capital K’ai feng as an official. It was there that he became acquainted with many of the literary lights of the day. Li Kung-lin developed high standards of critical taste by collecting and copying old masters, and in his own painting he rejected pure description and obvious dexterity for a greater emphasis upon scholarly knowledge of the antique and self-expression within those modes--the ideal of "literati painting" (wen-jen-hua). Unfortunately there are no...

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