Chinese Paintings of the Sung

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Chinese Paintings of the Sung (960-1279) and Yüan (1280-1368) Dynasties: An Exhibition in the Gallery of Oriental Art May-October 1961 Author(s): Basil Gray Source: The British Museum Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3/4 (Dec., 1961), pp. 111-114 Published by: British Museum Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4422720 . Accessed: 25/04/2014 04:49 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]  .  British Museum is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The British Museum Quarterly. http://www.jstor.org

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Chinese Paintings of the Sung

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    Chinese Paintings of the Sung (960-1279) and Yan (1280-1368) Dynasties: An Exhibition in theGallery of Oriental Art May-October 1961Author(s): Basil GraySource: The British Museum Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3/4 (Dec., 1961), pp. 111-114Published by: British MuseumStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4422720.

    Accessed: 25/04/2014 04:49

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at.http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of

    content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms

    of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]

    .

    British Museumis collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The British MuseumQuarterly.

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    in CAinese Porcelainsfrom the .4rdebil Shrine,1958, PP- 78/79, dated them tentatively to thereign of Hung Wu (1368-98). This problem isalso discussed by Gray in vol. xxiii, no. 3 of theBritish MuseumQuarterly.12 It was dated in this way in the Catalogueofthe VeniceExAibition n I954.13 See Venice Exhibition, Cat. no. 507 and theInternational Exhibition of Chinese Art, RoyalAcademy, 1935/6, Cat. no. I57.'4 See J. Kirkman, The Arab City of Gedi:Excavationsat tAeGreatMosque:Architecture ndFinds, Oxford, 1954, pp. 4, 13, and 129.

    's The reference is to the blue and white yii-Au-cA'undecorated with chrysanthemums n under-glaze blue; given to the BritishMuseum by C. T.Loo andsaidto havecomefroma Sung grave. Illus-tratedJenyns,Ming PotteryandPorcelain,pl. 4a.16 B. Gray, 'Art under the Mongol DynastiesofChinaand Persia', OrientalArt, vol. 4, p. I64.17 ekaiToji Zenshu,vol. xi, colour plate 5 andExhibition of Yian and Ming Ceramics,Tokyo,April/May 1956. JapaneseCeramicSociety,Cat.No. 69.

    '8 Since this was written I have found anothercut-down bottle of this family in the reservecollection of the Leiden Museum.'9 John Ayers, O.C.S. Trans., op. cit., fig.27.20 Exhibition of iian and Ming Ceramics.

    JapaneseCeramicSociety, Cat. no. 71.2z Addis, Oriental Art, p. 151. They are ex-hibited as Sung.22 See Jenyns, Ming Potteryand Porcelain, pl.3c (iii).23 Sir Harry Garner, Oriental Blue and White,London, 1954, p. H.24 BasilGray, 'Art under the Mongol Dynastiesof Chinaand Persia,'OrientalArt, p. 164.25 Loan Exhibition of ChineseBlue and White,fourteenth to nineteenth centuries, OrientalCeramicSociety at Arts Council Gallery. 1953/4,Cat. no. 8.26 See Garner's Oriental Blue and WAite and

    the Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of ChineseBlue and WAiteby the Oriental CeramicSociety,1953/4-CHINESE PAINTINGS OF THE SUNG

    (960-1279) AND YOAN (1280-1368)DYNASTIESAN EXHIBITION IN THE GALLERY OF

    ORIENTAL ARTMAY-OCTOBER 196IORmanyyears heBritishMuseumhasshown nthisgallery painting ndarkened silk of Two White Geeserestingonthe Shore,which carries an oldattributionto the Northern Sung painter Chao Ch'ang (early eleventhcentury). Now hung beside it is the picture of Two Gibbonsplaying in a LoquatTree,signed byIYian-chi (d. I067), whichhasrecentlybeenpurchased rom thefund establishedbythe lateP. T. BrookeSewell(P1.XXXIX).' The'Two Geese'may be the remains of a NorthernSung painting,but the attribution o ChaoCh'angcannotbe takenvery seriously:he is best knownas a flowerpainterbutalsopaintedpicturesof birds,andwasparticularly dmired or his use of colour.I Ytian-chion the otherhandis said to have abandoned lowerpaintingwhen hesaw Chao Ch'ang'ssuperiority n this field, and to have specializedthereafterin the paintingof deer andgibbons.This storywasrecordedwithinten yearsofhis death,and at least testifiesto his activityas a painterof monkeysand deer,whose habits he studiedin theirwild hauntsin the Wan-shoumountains, n his

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    native province of Hunan. When to his great delight, he was summoned to theSung court at K'ai-feng in Io64, he first painted pigeons and peacocks on a silkscreen in the Imperial Audience Chamber, and deer on a small screen in anotherroom. He was then ordered to paint 'A hundred Apes' in one of the palace halls,but died in 0o67before he had done more than a small part.The present picture is painted in the 'boneless' style, i.e. without drawn out-line, in natural colouring, which, although sunk into the silk, is remarkably wellpreserved. While sharing the intimacy and naturalismof animaland bird paintingat this time, the execution is direct and objective without sentimentality. Thetree has more plastic form and less surface interest than is usual in Sung Academypainting, and it should be remembered that the artist was more of a professionalthan an Academy painter. The picture bears seals of the Sung emperors HuiTsung (100oo-26) and Kao Tsung (1 I127-62). The Catalogue of the Imperialcollection of Hui Tsung includes 245 paintings by I Yt*an-chi whose authen-ticity he accepted, but only two remain in the Palace collection, now in Formosa,which are accepted as originals by the artist.Sung figure painting is represented by four incomplete hand-scrolls on silk,three of which carryold attributions of different weight to some famous masters.But perhaps the oldest is the Lady of the courtFeng protecting he Emperorruan-ti(reigned 48-33 B.c.)from a Bear, a subject already treated in the famous scrollattributed to Ku Kai-chih (A.D. 344-406), which is the greatest treasure in theDepartment. In vigour of composition and brilliancy of colour this is still nearto the T'ang style and it can hardly be later than the eleventh century, and ina tradition associated with the name of Chao Yen (A.D. 907-22), a leading figurepainter of the Five Dynasties period.The painting now entitled Women and childrenona gardenterrace,but formerlycalled Babies at play, is also attributed to a tenth-century master, Chou Wan-chiiand by no less a hand than the thirteenth-century painter Ch'ien HstUan.Thereis unfortunately a good deal of repainting on this scroll, but it is still possible tosense the distinction of the original work, and enjoy the harmonious spacing ofthe figures.Only slightly less impressive is the note by a Ming official and painter of thefifteenth century, Wu P'ao-an attached to the scroll entitled The Three Birthsof Tiian-tsg, recording that it had belonged to the great YUianmaster ChaoMang-fu and that he had attributed it to Liu Sung-nien (c. I170-1230), anImperial Academy painter who worked first at K'ai-f8ng at the court of HuiTsung, and then at the new capital of the Southern Sung

    at Hangchow. Thesubject is the recognition by Li Ytian of the reincarnatesoul of his friend Ytean-tsein a thirteen-year-old herd boy riding a buffalo, just as he had predicted im-mediately before his death. The painting is executed with great care for detail,in the hide of the buffalo and the bark of the trees for instance, which show theII2

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    influence of Li T'ang whose style Liu followed; and this may indeed be regardedas in the best tradition of consummate genre painting, reticent but explicit.The fourth hand-scroll is once more a part only, and what survives is badlydamaged; but it may date from the twelfth century and preserve the compositionof an older painting, perhaps by the ninth-century master whose name it bears,Chao Kung-yu, a painter of Buddhist subject on wall and silk. The subject isDemonstryingto recovertheglass beggingbowl in which the Buddha has imprisonedthe sonPingala of the demon-motherMara, in order to force her to cease devouringthe children of men. It preserves the fine line and rich colouring of T'ang, butthe actual handling and landscape cannot be earlier than late Sung.The atmospheric landscape painting in ink washes with touches of lightcolour, of the Southern Sung period (I 126-1280o) has always been much admiredin Japan, whereas in China these painters have been despised by the intellectualcritics especially since the time of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang and rejected because oftheir professionalism and supposed lack of spiritual depth. This school whichrepresented Sung landscape painting in the West also in the first quarter of thiscentury, is represented in the exhibition by three hanging scrolls, all in the pastfrom Japanese collections and still mounted in Japanese brocade mounts. Noneis signed but one bears the seal of Ma K'uei and the others have old attributionsto Ma Ytian and Hsia Kuei, which at least indicate their standing in the eyes ofJapanese connoisseurs.A different tradition is represented by the large painting on silk in lightcolours of A Lake Shore in Winter. It actually bears a 'signature' in the treetrunk of the Five Dynasties painter Huang Ch'iian (first half of tenth century),and it is, indeed, in the tradition transmitted from Kuo Hsi through the NorthernSung painter Ts'ui Po (eleventh century) to later times. Whatever its actualdate it is a fine example of the naturalism of the Imperial Academy's tradition.On a smaller scale this is admirably shown in the often reproduced Bird on theBough, an album leaf which is surely an original painting by a painter of theAcademy in the circle of the Emperor Hui Tsung himself. His easily recogniz-able calligraphic sign is found on countless paintings which have more or lessclaim to reproduce his style. An attractive hand-scroll on silk of Birds in afruitingLi-chi tree is shown on one of the long slopes. As has been remarked by Mr.James Cahill in his recent book,2 the bird and flower paintings associated mostclearly with Hui Tsung are all presented on a single plane without recession,a characteristicof the present picture also. Although Ch'ien HsUian s reckoneda

    Ytian painter because he survived until I300, heworked within the limits of

    the Sung Academy style, as may be seen in the intensely realized roung noblewith a bow. The true expressionism of the Sung literati is hardly representedin the collection. The nearest that we get to it is in the Tiger painting, in theback-ground of which is a waterfall and wind-blown bamboo, which carriesI13

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    a traditionalJapaneseattribution o Mu Ch'i (c. 2IO10-70)he late Sung Ch'anpainterwhose workis preservedn the Zen Buddhisttemplesof Japan.Althoughin ratherpoorcondition this pictureretains omeof themysteriouspoweroftheseink pictures by Mu Ch'i. In the same tradition,but certainlynot earlier thanthe fourteenth century, and perhaps only of the fifteenth, is the picture ofDrunkenTaoisthermitsn a storm,which wasbequeathed o the nationalcollectionby the painterWilson Steer. It recalls some YUianCh'anBuddhistpaintingsinJapanbut unlike these is partlyin colour.Three of the Four GreatMasters of Yuianare represented n the exhibition,though perhapsnot all by originals.The long hangingpicturesignedby HuangKung-Wangand dated 1343 was exhibitedfor the first time in 1959 after itsacquisition in 1957, and so attention need not be drawn to its outstandingimportanceas an exampleof the carefullybuilt-uplandscapeswhichareknownto characterizeHuang's style,which was so muchadmiredand imitatedby latermasters. The landscapeby Ni Tsan (1301-74) and the bambooshoot by WuChen (128o-1354) can hardlybe consideredoriginals,but give a good idea ofthe styles of these artistswho made in the YUian ynastya fresh starting-pointin Chinesepainting.Two Yuianpainterswhose work was directly inspiredbyNorthernSung mastersareSheng Mou (fl. 131o-6o) and KaoK'o-Kung.Theformergenerallyused colours on silk to buildup a classicmountaincompositionwith closely renderedtrees in the foreground.It is easy to see why the pairofpaintingsentitled Reading n the Woodsalthough carryingno inscriptionwaslong ago attributed o him in Japan.These paintings,which perhapsoriginallyformeda single composition,have been in the Museum collectionsince 1881.On the other hand, the Snow Landscape,which bears ShangMou's signatureand the sealsof EmperorCh'ienLung is in a moreimpressionisticmannerandthe handlingof the foregrounddoes not seem to be in the artist'susual style.Kao-K'o-kung(I248-I3io) has a less clearly defined style, but is generallyconsidered o haveworked with wet andsplashybrush,rather n the mannerofMi Fei, and it is for this reasonthat the beautifulink paintingSagecrossingbridgen themountainss associatedwith his name,although previouslyattributedto HsUiTao-ning,an eleventh-centurymaster.In anycase these paintingsshowthe continuationof the Sung traditionduring the Yuiandynastyalongsidethenew developmentsheraldedby the Four GreatMasters. BASILGRAY

    x AdditionalChinesepainting,313-Treasures f Asia:ChinesePainting,byJamesCahill.Geneva, 960.

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    XXXIX. TWO GIBBONS PLAYING IN A LOQUAT TREEby I Ytian-chi (d. o067), Chinese, Northern Sung dynasty Size (I6o X 85 c.m.)

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