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The Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty

AE 8980: Chinese Art History

Sheena Varghese

on 3 July 2013

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Transcript of The Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty

The Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty
Chapter 7
5 Dynasties and 10 Kingdoms (907-960)
Song Landscape Painting
Ma Yuan and Xia Gui
characterized by political CHAOS
In the North, 5 would-be dynasties follow one another in quick succession
3 enemies in the North
Jurchen Tungus
Meanwhile, South divided into 10 kingdoms
5 Dynasties
Later Liang - established by Zhu Wen, in 907
usurped the Tang throne.
912: murdered by own son, govt overthrown by Zhuanzong
Later Tang - established by Zhuanzong in 923
Overthrown by Shi Jingtang (one of the generals) with the help of the Qidan
Later Jin - established by Shi Jingtang in 936
promised yearly tributes to Qidan for their help, as well as 16 prefectures around Hebei and Shanxi (BIG MISTAKE)
Qidan establish Liao Kingdom (907-1125)
946: Shi Jingtang's son attempts to halt tribute payments, Qidan reinvade N. China and take him into captivity
947: Liu Shiyuan assumes the throne and pushes the Qidan back into central Asia
Later Han - established by Liu Shiyuan in 947
951: another general usurps the throne
Later Zhou - established by general in 951
959: emperor dies, leaving the throne to an infant
General Zhao Kuangyin seizes the throne and establishes the...
Song Dynasty
Chan Painting in the 5 Dynasties
While speculative and Tantric sects of Buddhism decayed during the Tang dynasty, Chan Buddhism (Zen in Japan) survived.
Principles much like those of Taoism:
freedom of the mind allows for moments of truth
These moments were communicated by brush and monochrome ink
Eccentric and gestural technique attempted to "shock the viewer into awareness."
In the Song Dynasty, Shi Ke and contemporaries developed "yi" style
Court Painting:
Late 5 Dynasties
Southern Tang art provides an important link between Tang and Song dynasties.
Gu Hongzhong: courtly painter for Southern Tang "emperor" Li Houshou
Gu Hongzhong was sent by the emperor to spy on the high official Han Xizai, and painted his nocturnal affairs in "The Night Entertainments of Han Xizai"
Demonstrates a tasteful rendering of lascivious behavior
Reveals the costume, furniture, and porcelain popular during the 10th c.
Move toward realism - 40 individualized figures depicted
Court Painting:
Northern Song
Li Longmian last great artist of Tang figure painting.
Preferred to paint horses in his early life, but moved to to include a wide variety of themes
Taoist fairy landscapes, Buddhist figures, paintings of Guanyin
Artworks characterized by baimiao (ink line), sweeping brush lines.
Spent years copying old masters
Copying was thought to train one's hand and transmit the spirit of ancient models
No less original than performing another composer's music, because technical skill was still important
The artist was not concerned with originality, but instead with finding identity "with nature and with the tradition itself"
Initially seemed that this would be another short-lived mini-dynasty, BUT Zhao was a successful ruler and managed to unite China in 16 years.
enemies still exist in the North, Northwest, and Southwest around imperial boundaries
1125: Jurchen raided the capital at Bianjing and captured the entire court, including the emperor Huizong
1127: a young prince and Song officials fled south of the Yangzi, established the capital at Hangzhou after wandering for a few years.
Jurchen controlled China NORTH of Yangzi, (JIn Dynasty), Song stayed in SOUTH and prevented Jurchen from invading by paying yearly tribute (coins, silk)
This continued until Genghis Kahn invaded
Song Dynasty turns INWARD
not as powerful BUT there is depth of philosophical insight, creative energy, and technical refinement
HUGE Innovations during the Song Dynasty:
Printing leads to a desire for a synthesis of knowledge
dictionaries, encyclopedias, anthologies become prevalent
Confucian moral principle (li) was identified with Taoist first cause (taiji)
By "investigating things," man could deepen his knowledge of the world and the workings of Li.
We see this examination in Northern Song landscapes
The Classical Ideal in North China
The supreme moment in classical Chinese landscape painting
Painter Jing Hao - essay "Bifaji" or "Hua shanshui lu"
Six essentials in painting:
1. spirit
2. rhythm
3. thought
4. scenery
5. brush
6. ink
Considered more logical than the earlier Xie He's essentials in painting,
The Perfect Integration of Form and Content
realism raised to the level of idealism
11th century master Guo Xi - essay "Shanshuixun"
ethical obligation for artist to study nature in every aspect

painter transmits life (qi) into the mountains, rivers, cliffs, rocks he paints
Western laws of perspective and shadows were deliberately avoided
Seeing view from a single determined perspective was not enough for the Chinese painter
Why if we have the means to depict what we know to be there, paint only what we can see from one viewpoint?
"the angle of totality"
A long handscroll requires an infinite number of vanishing points
The Aims of the Landscape Painter
images in paintings were the distillation of years of looking at nature
brushwork hinting at a metaphysical truth
Great Chinese landscape paintings sent the viewers' spirits wandering throughout the landscape
The power of a landscape painting to take the viewer out of himself was widely recognized as a source of spiritual solace and refreshment.
Guo Xi
Classical Ideal Painters
The great master painters of the 10th and 11th century were called classical because they established an ideal in monumental landscape which later painters returned to again and again for inspiration.
Northern Song
Fan Kuan
attrib. Zhao Boju
attrib. Zhang Zeduan
Southern Song Landscape Painting
Dong Yuan
painters of the south lived in a kinder environment: hills of the lower Yangzi Valley

softer outlines

sunlight diffused by mist

roundness of contour and a looseness and freedom in the brushwork
Southern Song style
Northern Song style
Southern versus Northern Style
Painting of the Literati
different notion of the purposes of painting (other than Northern Song realism based on genuine observation)
from a small circle of intellectuals
led by Su Dongpo, Wen Tong, Mi Fu, and Huang Tingjian
upset by how court artists were treated like low-grade artisans (closely monitored by Academy)
revolutionary idea that purpose of painting was not representation but EXPRESSION (sometime between 1036-1101)
Goal: to reveal the artists own mind and heart
a more urbane and detached attitude; avoiding becoming deeply involved with either nature or material things
Su Dongpo
Mi Fu
typically dry sensitive brushwork, with the avoidance of obvious visual appeal
Emperor Huizong (1101-25)
Last emperor of the Northern Song
passion for pictures and antiquities blinded him to the perils
Set up an official School of Painting (Huaxue) in the palace (1104)
kept tight control over court painters: imposed a dictatorship of form and taste (favored intellectual agility over academic realism)
aligned to Neo-Confucian ideas about what constituted "knowledge"
Emperor Huizong
Bird and Flower Painting
style of painting practiced by Emperor Huizong and his academicians

origin of subject matter from Buddhist banner paintings
-The Ma-Xia School-
visual and emotional appeal
the quintessential Chinese landscape painting (in Western eyes)
also had a profound influence on Japanese landscape painting
tonal contrasts, claw-like trees and roots, and ax strokes [staccato brushstrokes, similar to those left by an ax or chisel] are united by a "mastery of the brush that would border on mannerism if it were not so deeply infused with poetry."

Song Dynasty
Desire to synthesize knowledge leads to Yingzhao fashi (1100)
first great manual of rigidly standardized architectural practice.
Architecture in the Tang dynasty was large and bold
BUT Song dynasty combined structural boldness with refined detail.
preferred delicate to robust, tall and slender to gigantic and solid.
There is a new sense of space achieved by pushing the landscape to one side, opening up to limitless distance.
Architecture also used to promote religion
Liao and Jin patronized Buddhism
inspired a revival in N. China and in the Song Dynasty
Interior of Lower Huayansi (Liao dynasty)
Buddhas, bodhisattvas, guardians, and arhats
Liao Kingdom
Liao Sculpture - Continuation of Tang Style
Arhats show a variety of spiritual states
not necessarily portraits
Figure is realistic: bony skull, wrinkles, deep-set eyes
serene expression conveys a sense of calm
Song Dynasty
Buddhas and Bodhissatvas are not as dynamic or realistic
BUT they do gain a sense of elegance and refinement
similar to High Baroque art
Depicts Guanyin - comforter, giver of children, preserver from peril
Avoids emotional rendering, detached and restrained
Ma Yuan
became a daizhao (court artist) at the end of the twelfth century
his brushwork is bold and fiery
calmer and more disciplined than Xia Gui
used Li Tang's ax-stroke "cun"
Xia Gui
became daizhou at the end of the thirteenth century
also bold and fiery
violently expressive
used ax-stroke "cun"
the expressionist
"seem to stab and hack the silk with his brush"
*many paintings attributed to him are imitations by Dai Jin (Ming Dynasty) and his followers
Xia Gui
Ma Yuan
Chan Painting of the Song Dynasty
tradition continued from the Chan Buddhist painters -painting a pictorial metaphor for the irrational nature of sudden enlightenment
took part in theological debates in the Southern Song court and painted portraits of patriarchs
borrows techniques from the academy but also painted "with all the abandoned wit of caricature"
for the Chan, all nature and all styles of painting were one
Liang Kai
influence of academy
"dashed off"
sketchy feel
The best Chan paintings have certain key details while what is not essential blurs into obscurity, much like the act of meditation itself.
To the common man, the dragon was a "benevolent and generally auspicious creature, bringer of rain and emblem of the emperor."
To the Chan Buddhists, it was the elusive vision of truth that comes to the adept.
To the Daoists, the dragon was the Dao itself.
Northern Wares
Northern Song guan (official) wares were manufactured in Hebei
fired upside down, rims of bowls were left unlgazed - bound with bronze or silve
Ding ware - finely potted, high-fired white porcelain with creamy white glaze that has a brownish tinge at the "teardrops"
Ru ware - rarest of all Song porcelains - yellowish-pink body covered with a bluish-gray glaze tinged with lavender
Jun ware - tiny bubbles burst on the surface giving it the lavender-blue glaze - discovered spots of copper would oxidize during firing
Cizhou ware - free underglaze brush painting or carving of floral designs - meiping
Southern Wares
"southern guan" - the ware is often thinner than the glaze which is layered
Kinuta (mallet) vase
Qingbai ware
fashioned not from clay but from porcelain stone - thinness and delicacy
Longquan celadon - cloudy, blue-green color
Sculpture also shows didactic purpose
Rock-cut sculptures at Dazu meant for "edification of the masses"
depicts Buddhas, bodhissatvas, as well as Confucian moral tales, vices and virtues, judgments, rewards, and punishments
Full transcript