Skip to main content

Full text of "Native sources for the history of Chinese pictorial art"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to male the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country (o counlry. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Wc also ask that you: 

y accessible. Public domain books belong 【( 
g technical restrictions on automated querying. 

- Make non -commercial use of the files Wc designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request (ha( you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

- Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you arc conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a laigc amount of text is helpful, please contact us. Wc encourage the 

- Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you & 

- Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you arc doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because wc believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full icxi o「 ihis book on the web 

ai| ht tp : / /books . google . com/| 





Professor of Chinese, Columbia Univergity 





3 ^、 A, X 


7 1917 



The translations used in this monograph were .almost 
all made by Professor Friedrich Hirth and published by 
him in Germany in a number of different papers some 
twenty years ago. Though following in the main the 
arrangement of his essay "Über die einheimischen 
Quellen zur Geschichte der chinesischen Malerei," I have 
introduced some changes and added a few translations 
that were made with the able assistance of Mr. T. Y. Leo. 

A. E. M. 

March 10, 1917. 

This reprint has been made because of numerous typo- 
graphical errors in the first edition. 

A. E. M. 

May 21, 1917. 





Painting as an art in China is much older than the oldest examples 
which we now know, for we read in the first extensive history of Chinese 
painting' that even in the time of the Emperor Wu-ti (140-87 b.c.) there ex- 
isted an art cabinet, called Pi-ke, for the collecting of paintings and scrolls 
of handwriting. By 100 b.c. the mention of portraits is quite common in 
Chinese literature, though the names of painters are not yef preserved, 
probably because their productions had as yet no importance per se. By 
51 B.c. we have such historically accurate accounts as that of the Emperor 
Hsüan-ti (73 to 49 b.c.) who out of gratitude to his victorious generals had 
their portraits painted for the Chi-lin-ko, a temple built by Wu-ti in 122 
B.c. A few years later painting must have developed freely ; for Chang 
Yen-yiian, referring to a compilation of the 6th century, the H$i'Ching4sa- 
chi, mentions as many as six painters for the years 43 to 33 b.c. In this 
same gossipy narrative we find the famous and well-authenticated story 
of the Emperor Yüan (48-32 b.c.), whose harem had grown to such 
dimensions that he no longer had time to receive in audience all the palace 

the election of the favorite. The bribing of the painters by the court 
ladies became very common and huge sums were paid by ambitious 
aspirants to the Emperor's favor. Only the beautiful Wang Ch'iang 
seorned this method, and as a result her portrait was neglected and did 
not do her justice. When the Khan of the Tartars asked for a beautiful 
maiden's hand in marriage, the Emperor, who knew only Wang Ch'iang's 
portrait, readily gave consent. When he received her in audience and 
saw how her portrait had belied her loveliness, his rage was such that he 
immediately ordered the execution of six of the leading court painters, 
all of whom the history mentions by name. 

But it was not until a century later, in the reign of the Emperor 
Ming-ti (58 to 76 a.D.) that the growing love for the collecting of scroll 
paintings led to the erection of a special art gallery (Hua-shih). 

Chang Yen-yiian, to whom we owe this information, adds that an 
institution, named Hung-tu-hio, was created, one purpose of which was 
the collecting of curiosities and works of art, and that it contained art 
objects representative of the entire known world. Among these art 
objects there were also paintings, as can be concluded from the further 
descriptions of his text. Of what nature these paintings were and who 

* Li-tai'ming-hua-chi of Chang Yen-yiian, Chap. 1, p. 3. 



painted them, whether they were exclusively by Chinese artists or whether 
there were foreign ones among them, from Persia, India or Khoten, can 
not be determined from this text or from contemporary literature. Never- 
theless the possibility, not to say probability, of the existence of foreign 
paintings in Wu-ti's library can be assumed, if, in conjunction with these 
ancient allusions to a systematic preservation of the paintings in the Im- 
perial possession, we bear in mind the mention by Ssü-ma Ch'ien in the 
8hih-chi of numerous expeditions seQt by the Emperor Wu-ti to the West 
Asiatic countries for the purpose of purchasing art objects of all sorts. It 
would not be surprising if among the latter there had been West Asiatic, 
Indian or even some Greek paintings. 

In this ancient period we find no attempt at any history of painting, 
but painting could scarcely have had a "history" at that time. The 
oldest catalogue of the Imperial Library which forms the bibliographical 
part of the annals of the early Han dynasty ^ that ended in the year 
25 A.D., contains no title which suggests the existence of any systematic 
record of the art of painting. On the other hand, in the catalogue of the 
Imperial Library of the Sui dynasty,^ compiled in 641-656 A.D., there is a 
title which leaves no doubt that it alludes to a text on the history of art. 
This work, the Ming-shou-huorlu, in one book, is still mentioned in the 
catalogue of the T'ang dynasty* but has been lost since then, and its con- 
tents have been incorporated in later more extensive treatises. A similar 
fate befell a number of other early histories of art whose enumeration 
would lead us too far afield but which, we must conclude, served as a 
basis for later historical and critical treatises that are still in existence. 
Even the number of works still at our disposal is so large that it is 
possible to enumerate only the most important. 


The principal source for the very oldest account of painting in China 
is the Li-tai-ming-hua'Chi, in ten volumes, written by Chang Yen-yiian, 
the great art historian of the ninth century. This is not by any means 
the oldest, but it is one of the oldest technical treatises that we now pos- 
sess. For the practical student of Chinese art it is especially important 
because in rough outline it gives an insight into the history of painting 
from earliest times to the year 841 A.D. The author was a member of a 
famous and aristocratic family which contributed several prominent 
statesmen to the T'ang dynasty. Although he is mentioned only casually 
in the imperial annals, allusion is made to his knowledge of art. There we 
also learn that upon completion of his book in 847, he was made Secretary 

s ChUen-han-sM, Chap. 30. 
• Sui-shu, Chap. 33, p. 29. 
*T'ang-shu, Chap. 59, p. 29. 



in the Board of Ceremonies, and in 874 was made a Judge in the Court 
of Appeals. His grandfather, Chang Hung-cliing, in whose biography 鼻 
we find this information, had collected a very important group of paint - 
ings® a few of which Yen-yüan had opportunities of studying. It is 
not merely arid theoretical speculation which he offers us in this im- 
portant text, but a critique which was based upon personal observation of 
the art products of antiquity, the admiration of which often led the 
author to express his contempt for the productions of his contemporaries. 
Because of the importance of this work as our principal source for 
antiquity and the early middle ages, a short synopsis of the contents of 
the ten books is given here. 

The first book contains a few historical treatises on •• 

1. The beginning of painting in China. 

2. On its height and decadence. 

3. On the number of important artists from earliest days to the year 
841. The number of important names in the successive dynasties are as 

Prehistorical Period of the Mythical Emperor Huang-ti 

(2697 B.c.) • 1 

Period of Chou (1122-255 b.c.) : 2 

Period of Ch'in (255-206 b.c.) 1 

Period of Ch'ien-han (206 B.C.-25 a.D.) 6 

Period of Hou-han (25-221 a.D.) 6 

Period of San-kuo (221-265 a.d.) 8 

Period of Chin (265^20 a.D.) 23 

Period of Sung (420-479 a.D.) 28 

Period of Ch'i (479-502 a.D.) 28 

Period of Liang ( 502-557 a.D. ) 20 

Period of Ch^en (557-589 a.d.) 1 

Period of Wei (386-550 a.D.) 9 

Period of North Ch《i (550-557 a.d.) 10 

Period of North Chou (557-589 a.D.) 1 

Period of Sui (581-618 a.d.) 21 

Period of T'ang (618 until time of author, 841 a.D.) 206 

Total up to 841 a.d 371 

• T'ang-shu, Chap. 127, pp. 6 to 9, and Chiu-t* ang-ahu, Chap. 129, pp. 13-16. 

• T'ang-shu, p. 8. 

• As China was frequently divided into several different kingdoms, the dates of 
these dynasties are not always consecutive. This list proves, however, that according 
to the views of Chang Yen-yiian, painters of importance appeared only sporadically 
before the third or fourth century, and that the art of painting had its real beginning 
at that time. 



4. Analysis of the author's views on the six principles of Hsieh Ho, 
one of the great painters of the fifth century. In the course of this dii»- 
cus^on he characterizes with a few concise sentences the styles of the 
principal periods of antiquity. The first book closes with a dissertation 
on the art of landscape painting. 

In the second book the theoretical discussions are continued. Here 
we find dissertations "On the style of the old classic painters," "On 
the inheritance of peculiarities of style among the old masters," by which 
he means the painters Ku K'ai-chih, Lu T*an-wei, Chang Seng-yu and 
Wu Tao-tze. There are, in addition, treatises on the value of the different 
painters' styles and the author's attempt at a classification. He also 
discusses the prices and the preservation of objects of art 

The third book discusses the signatures on old paintings. Before the 
T'ang dynasty it was not customary to put seals on the paintings be- 
longing to the Imperial collections, but the authenticity of the most cele- 
brated paintings was certified by the personally inscribed signatures of 
famous art critics. Chang Yen-yüan has preserved for us the names of 
these authorities. His list for the Sung and Ch'i dynasties (420-502) 
contains only a few names, but the Liang period (502-557) is represented 
by fourteen critics, probably because of the great development which 
museums received under the famous Emperor Yüan. In the Sui dynasty 
(581-618) the pictures of the Imperial collections were signed by the 
high civil officers, and the same practice was followed in the beginning of 
the T*ang dynasty. The Emperor Hsüan-tsung (713-756), who through 
systematic purchases had brought his gallery to an, as yet, unattained 
excellence, ordered the signatures removed from his old paintings in 
order that his own court critics might provide the paintings with a new 
date and inscription. From about the middle of the seventh century 
there was added to the inscription a seal of vermillion ink, which at that 
time was not the painter ,s seal but the seal of the owner. On the pictures 
which belonged to the collection of the Emperor Hsüan-tsung, is usually 
found the inscription "K*ai-yüaii,,, a name given to the years of his 
reign between 713 and 742, and which might fairly be called the founda- 
ti(m period for the museums of China. Special seals were also owned 
by the state institutes of learning, such as the Academy of Arts (Chi- 
hsien), the Academy of Sciences (Han-lin), and the Imperial Library 
(Pi-ke), that used their seals for stamping scrolls of handwritings and 
paintings in their possession. 

Among the private seals that are described, only a few can be 
identified as being those of famous painters, among them being that of 
Chou Fang (eighth century) , but all the seals that he mentions must 
have belonged to connoisseurs, as he makes the statement at the end of his 
list that all other private seals merely show former possession without 



having any critical worth as to the identity of the picture. To these lists 
of the inscriptions of critics and the seals of critics is added information 
concerning the mounting of the paintings in ancient times. Before the 
Chin dynasty (265-420) not much attention was paid to this point. 
Fan-y6 (fifth century), the great historian and author of the Hou-han- 
sku,8 is considered the first person who understood the mounting of scroll 
paintings. After him the Emperor Wu, of the Liang dynasty (502-50), 
took a special interest in moimting his pictures beautifully, and under 
T'ai-tsung (627-650), who is considered the founder of the first great 
picture gallery of the T*ang dynasty, it reached its climax. People had 
learned to consider not only in what way the picture might be given a 
suitable frame, but above all things what material, paper, glue, and so on, 
were the most suitable for the durability of valuable works of art. Of 
special importance for the preservation of paintings, whether silk or 
paper, both for water-color and ink work, are the materials for the back 
(chuang-pei) upon which the picture is pasted. Such backs were chosen 
with special consideration for the medium in which the picture was 
painted, whereas the selection of a suitable frame (piau), which in 
ancient times consisted of strips of beautiful brocades, depended en- 
tirely upon aesthetic considerations. 

One of the most important parts of the painting is the round piece 
of wood which serves as a steadying weight when the picture is hanging 
(chou)f and upon which the picture is carefully rolled whenever it is not 

When the paintings were small the end-pieces were made of jade, crystal 
or amber, whereas the larger pictures were simply provided with pine 
wood rolls, the ends of which were beautifully lacquered. Often these 
end-pieces in ancient times, and even in more modem times, were 
ornamented with precious stones which, however, were difficult to pre- 
serve in the Imperial collections. Therefore, in the great gallery of the 
Emperor Hüan-tsung the painting scrolls, as well as those of hand- 
writings, were made of white sandalwood with end-pieces of red sandal- 

The end of the third book consists of an index of famous works of art 
in which a distinction is made between wall-paintings and gallery pic- 
tures. Ancient China must, indeed, have been rich in wall-paintings of 
great style and design. These were for the most part located in monas- 
teries and temples of the two old capitals, Chang-an ® and Lo-yang.^^ I 
ßjn not in a position to say of what nature these frescoes (km-pi ~ 
literally, a "painting wall") were. 

• Fifth Century Biography Sung-shu, Chap. 69, pp. 5-18. 

• Near Si-guan-fu, the capital of Shen-si. 

" Corresponds to modern Ho-nan-fu. Chang-an was the Western, Lo-jang the 
Eastern capital. 




Chang Ten-yüan deplores the vandalism which as a result of the 
great Buddhist persecution was directed against all Buddhist art by the 
energetic Emperor Wu-tsung. In order to do away entirely with the 
clergy, the Emperor sent out a command in the year 845 that all monas- 
teries and temples of the Buddhists should be destroyed throughout the 
entire kingdom, an event which was disastrous to the works of the masters 
of China, for, of the thousands of buildings beautifully decorated with 
religious paintings, only two or three in the two capitals were preserved 
from total destruction. Fortunately, there were some lovers of the 
beautiful who managed to get possession of some of the holy treasures 
that had been condemned to destruction. The mandarins who were 
ordered to confiscate the monasteries' treasures, melted the bronze statues 
into copper cash, but it would have been surprising if the idea that the 
paintings were very valuable, had not deterred the government officials 
from completing their work of destruction. Moreover, there was a strong 
party at court that opposed the persecution of the Buddhists, whose 
leader, the minister Li Te-yü, had the confidence of the Emperor in all 
matters. Chang Yen-yüan gives him the credit of having collected a 
number of the works of the classical master Ku K,ai-chih that were scat- 
tered about in many of the Buddhistic monasteries, and of having hidden 
them in one of the smaller monasteries that was saved from destruction. 
In the list, as given in the Li-tairming-hua-chi, of wall paintings still in 
existence shortly after the destruction of the monasteries, we find cele- 
brated names, among others Chang Seng-yu and Wu Tao-tze. Judging 
by the description, most of these wall pictures had a Buddhistic religious 
subject, but other subjects are also mentioned. 

At the end of the third book we find the enumeration of famous old 
illustrations, the names of some of which are very well known even to-day, 
though it is doubtful whether the corresponding later pictures even re- 
motely resemble the ancient originals. Among tttese is a series Sm-lirfu, 
a work in ten books with numerous illustrations of the ancient ceremonial 
dresses and headgear, carriages, implements, and so on. Also the series 
Ehr-ya-f u with illustrations, a sort of orbis pictus in two volumes by 
Chiang Kuan. The 8han-hai-ching-f u illustrations depict the mythical 
stories of an ancient popular ethnography. It is fair to suppose that 
the illustrations now known under these titles are based on those men- 
tioned by Chang Ten-yüan, but this can not be established from literary 
sources. Of the numerous titles that are now lost to us some indicate 
maps like that of the Ti-ksing-fang-chang-f u, literally, "picture of the 
shape of the earth, a square Chang," by P'ei Siu, the great topographist 
of the third century. A similar title Ti-hsing-fu, literally, "map of the 



earth's shape," probably a representation of the world as it was then 
known to the Chinese, is ascribed to Chang Heng, who lived between 78 and 
139 A.D. ,11 and belongs to the six painters of the later Han dynasty .i* 
Pictures of foreign folk types were contained in the picture series named 
Chih-Jcung-fu, ascribed to the Emperor Yüan (552-555). According to 
Chang Yen-yiian's list this series contained scenes from the lives of 
foreign races, the pictures of foreign noblemen and of the ambassadors 
from foreign tributary countries, in other words, a variety of foreign 
folk types. A similar subject was treated in the next series mentioned, 
the Chung-V ien-chu-huo-V u, literally, "pictures of middle India." It 
was in three volumes and became part of a comprehensive description of 
travel in ten volumes, which was completed in the year 658 by an official, 
Wang Hsuan-tze, who had been sent to India by the Emperor. Another 
series, Pen-tsfau-fu, which according to its title contained plant illustra- 
tions, is described as dating from the period Ming-ching (Hsien-ch*ing, 
656-661), and consisted of twenty-five sheets. These, doubtless, are the 
illustrations for the big Pharmacopoeia of the T*ang dynasty, which was 
issued at that time and which was a predecessor of the modem Peip-ts'au- 
kang-mu. Some of the works mentioned in this list are ascribed to the 
Han dynasty. 

The fourth to the tenth books contain the biographical material. The 
publishers of the great catalogue of the Imperial Library in Peking be- 
lieve that these biographies comprised, originally, a separate work of the 
author's which was published as an appendix to his history of art, and 
was only combined with it later under the present title. In its present 
form the lists of painters already given in the first book would be super- 
fluous in connection with the later repetition. Occasionally his 
biographical material is covered by other sources, especially by the his- 
tories of the various dynasties, but for most of the old masters, who 
because of political or other Reasons were omitted in the Imperial his- 
tories, the records in the Li-tai-ming-huchchi represent the principal, as 
well as the oldest, of the sources now obtainable. The Li-tai-ming-huorchi 
should be placed at the head of all the ancient literary records on the art 
of painting because it is actually the oldest of the exhaustive works on the 
subject. Older works of a specialized nature were already plentiful when 
Chang Yen-yiian was writing, and as some of them are still in existence, 
I will now give a general outline of a few of these. 

" 74-139 A.D. Eua-ahih'hui-chtLan, 
" Li-tai-ming-hua-chi, Chap. 4, p. 3. 




The painter Hsieh Ho, a prominent portraitist at the end of the fifth 
century, was probably the first man to make a lengthy critical study of 
the productions of his art predecessors, for he attempted, in the Ku-hua- 
p'in-lu, to classify the different masters according to his own estimation 
of the worth of their work. He based his criticisms upon very definite 
principles which constitute his chief claim to fame, for they became the 
alpha and omega of Chinese art criticism from his time to the present day. 
These six principles, the Liu-fa of Hsieh Ho, are brought up at every op- 
portunity in Chinese art literature to indicate the height of the artistic 
achievement of a painter or to indicate what one painter can do and 
what the other can not. 

One must really be Chinese, and indeed a Chinese painter, to com- 
prehend €ven the superficial significance of these six principles, to say 
nothing of the philosophical and artistic subtleties that hundreds of years 
of study by the most exquisite intelligences have read into them. The 
following translation pretends to nothing but an attempt to be as literal 
as possible : 

1. Ch' i-yiin-sh eng-tung : Spiritual expression and life-movement. 

2. Ku-fa-yung-pi: Structure and style. 

3. Ying-wu-hsiang-hsing : Representation of form according to the 

4. Sui'lei'fU'ts'ai: Spreading color according to the nature (of the 
object) . 

5. Ching-ying-wei-chih : Organizing and constnicting positions ac- 
cording to the space. 

6. Ch《 uan-mu-i-hsieh : Tracing and copying. 

An instance of the manner in which these six principles were used can 
be found in Chang Yen-yiian's comparison of the masters of antiquity 
with his contemporaries of the ninth century. The old masters, he says, 
in achieving correctness of outline never sacrificed the spiritual quality 
and life-movement, whereas the painters of his day expected their correct 
outlines to take the place of their total lack of spirituality. 

Hsieh Ho himself divided all his predecessors up to the sixth century 
into six classes according to their manner of expressing in their art the 
six essentials as defined by him. In the first class there were only five 
painters including Lu T'an-wei, Ts《au Pu-hsing and Wei Hsieh ; in the 
second were only three names, led by that of Ku Chün-chih. Ku K<ai- 
chih (fourth century) 一 the first Chinese painter to maintain that the 
highest problem of art was the representation of man, whom Chang Yen- 
yüan considered the equal of Lu T'an-wei, Chang Seng-yu and Wu 
Tao-tze— is placed only in the third class by Hsieh Ho, together with eight 



other men. The fourth class contains five names, the fifth three, and the 
sixth only two. In all he gives place to only twenty-seven artists in his 
classification, which does not by any means include all the painters known 
to him, for the 8hu-hua-p《u (Chap. 45) contains eighty biographies of 
men who lived before the time of Hsieh Ho. 

Yau Tsui, who does not seem to have been known as a painter, pub- 
lished a continuation of Hsieh Ho's classification of painters in the sixth 
century under the name of Hsii-hua-pHn (Continued Classification of 
Painters) • To him we owe the oldest mention, though but a scant one, of 
the classic painter Chang Seng-yu. 

Another of the oldest art works which has been preserved to the 
present day is the Cheng-kttan-kung-ssü-hua-shih (** Concerning Public 
and Privately Owned Paintings of the Masters in the Period Cheng- 
kuan, 627-650"), which was published in the year 639 by P'e'i Hsiau- 
yiian. We know only the author's official title, Chung-shu-she-jen, which 
from the time of North Wei (fifth century) to only shortly before the 
Mongolian supremacy (thirteenth century), corresponded to the com- 
bined functions of the Vice-Chancellor of the Imperial Cabinet (Nei-ko- 
hsiao-shih) and Minister of Ceremonies (Li-pu-shang-she) }^ This book 
contains a catalogue of the important paintings in public and private col- 
lections in the year 639, in all two hundred and thirty-nine scrolls. Of 
the paintings by Lu T*an-wei, the classical painter of the fifth century, 
thirteen originals are still mentioned, all of them portraits that had come 
from the Imperial collection of the Sui dynasty after its fall in the year 
618. Twelve copies after this master are also mentioned. Other pictures 
from the Sui collection were seventeen rolls by Ku K'ai-chih, five rolls by 
Ts'au Pu-hsing (third century), one of the oldest masters of eminence, 
who in spite of all the legends attached to his name seems to have been 
an actual person. Six rolls were the work of the Emperor Yuan-ti, who 
reigned from 552-554 and bore his inscriptions and seals. But the author 
says of these paintings, as he does in the case of others from the 
gallery of the Liang dynasty, that they are not mentioned in the still ex- 
isting catalogue of the period T*ai-ts*ing (547-550). In private possession 
were six rolls of the Indian priest Kabodha (Chia-fo-t(o). among which 
are the titles "People and objects in the land of Fu-lin (Syria)," and 
"All sorts of animals from foreign lands." Chang Seng-yu was repre- 
sented by nineteen pictures, of which nine had been taken over with the 
Imperial Sui collection. In short, we find even in that day that the 
principal old masters were represented in the court possessions, although a 
hundred years later, through the efforts of the Emperor Hsiian-tsung, the 
Imperial gallery was enriched by many an old picture until then un- 

" L i'tai-chih-Jcuan-piau, Chap. 1, p. 3. 



known. By means of later catalogues we can trace the history of these 
very ancient paintings and though we must look upon almost all of these 
old treasures as lost forever, it is interesting to be able to determine where, 
and at what time, a picture is last mentioned in the literary histories. 

Picture catalogue literature, so far as it has survived, began with this 
catalogue of P*ei Hsiau-yiian. Numerous extracts from this branch of 
literature can be found in the treatises on the history of gallery posses- 
sions {Li'tai-chien-ts^ ang-hua ) in the Shu-hria-p'u (Chapter 95-100). 

A survey of the painters of the T《ang dynasty (618-907) has been left 
to us in the form of another classifying work under the title Tang-cWao- 
ming-hua-lu, by an art historian of the tenth century, Chu Ching-hsüan. 
The habit of dividing into classes artists of all sorts according to the 
grade of their ability developed early with the Chinese. The arch-type 
of all classifiers was the historian Pan Ku, who in the twentieth chapter of 
his history of the older Han dynasty set up a scale of nine grades for the 
entire human race. The highest stage of development (shang, shang, "the 
first and foremost") was "the holy one," "tiie all wise one" (sheng). 
With this title only the good old Emperors of prehistoric times and men 
like Confucius and Lao-tze are honored, whereas the lowest rung (hsia 
、! isia, "the lowest of the low") is occupied by the stupid ones, by those in- 
capable of cultural development. Pan Ku explains bis divisions," as did 
many of the Chinese inventors of theories, by a saying of Confucius, 
"He who was bom wise stands highest, after him comes he who has 
achieved wisdom through learning, lower still is he who learns without 
understanding, lowest is he who has neither understanding nor learning." 

The principles of Hsieh Ho, with which we have become acquainted in 
his six rules, have no immediate relationship to this subjective ranging 
of humanity. The first artist to apply the class system of Pan Ku was 
Li Ssü-hsün {651-716 a.D.), in his essay on calligraphists. He was 
followed in the eighth century by Chang Huai-huan, who completed 
the heretofore unsystematic grading of artists through a more detailed 
characterization by establishing, in his little treatise on famous 
calligraphists {Shu-tuan, "Critique of Calligraphists"), the three classes 
"Sh§n,, (spirit, genius) , "Miau" (talent), and "N§ng,, (mechanical 

These classifications, which were established in the eighth century for 
the intimately related art öf calligraphy, were applied for the first time 
to paintings by Chu Ching-hsüan, who added a fourth class under the 
name "i,,, for those artists who would not accept the classic rules of art. 
The three main divisions "shSn-pIn," "miaii-p《in,,, and "n§iig-p《in,, 
he again divided into three subdivisions, shang, chung and hsia (above, 
middle and below). The artists belonging to the class "shSn-p(in,,, the 

" Ch' iin-han-shu, Chap. 20, p. 1. 



"spiritual" ones or the "geniuses by the grace of God,, are those who 
were, so to speak, born with their art, who like Wu Tao-tze would have 
been great painters no matter what obstacles they may have had to over- 
come. "Miau-p《in," the "class worthy of admiration," also is supposed 
to indicate high praise, but the artists relegated to this category possessed 
no innate genius, only a talent achieved through hard work. The third 
class, "nSng-p'in," literally, the "class of the able/' probably refers only 
to mechanical or technical ability, but the meaning of "i-p《in,, can only 
be arrived at through an exact knowledge of the traditional regulations, 
the observation of which was necessary in order to achieve admission into 
one of the three ofthodox classes. It is interesting to note that some 
art critics put the "i-p(in,, first, whereas other, perhaps more academic- 
minded critics put it last. 

As hors de concours, Chu Ching-hsüan places the names of a few im- 
perial princes who were known as painters. These are followed by a 
marvelous array of names, ninety-four in number, that had made the 
fame and glory of the three centuries during which the might of the 
T<ang dynasty resounded through the greatest part of Asia. In the 
^ ' shen-p' in-shang, ' ' that is the "geniuses of the spirit," we find the 
famous eighth century painter Wu Tao-tze. He is the only one of this 
rank. In the * ' shen-p* in-chung ' ' class, the middle division" of the 
genius class, we find only Chou Fang, a contemporary of Wu Tao-tze. 
The geniuses of the third class (shen-p'in-hsia) are the equally famous 
masters Yen Li-pen, Yen Li-te, Wei-ch* ih I-seng, the Khoten painter ; 
Chang Tsau; Han Kan, thie painter of horses ; Li Ssü-hsün, the water- 
color landscape painter ; and Hsüeh Chi, painter of cranes in all possible 
attitudes. Wang Wei, the landscape painter and founder of the black 
and white school, is put down under the class "miau-p'in-shang" 
(talented painters of the first class). About two-thirds of the list belongs 
to those of mechanical ability or technical skill (neng-p*in) and the 
specialties of each painter are enumerated. 

This classification of the painters, as we find it arranged by Chu 
Ching-hsüan, is worthy of special attention because the fundamental prin- 
ciples "sMn," "miau," "nSng,,, and "i" have been retained up to 
recent times. Every painter is given his title, and although differences of 
opinion among art historians must frequently occur, nevertheless, in the 
judgments on many of the prominent masters, we find a consensus of 
ppinion that shows quite clearly how the Chinese estimated theit painters, 
and is, therefore, not without interest to us. 

We 'will pass over several monographs like that of Wu-tai-ming-huc^ 
pU'i ("Essays on the Famous Painters of the Five Dynasties"), with 
an introduction in 1059 by Liu Tau-ch'un, which is devoted to the short, 
but artistically very important era between the T《ang and the Sung 
dynasties (907-960). There is also another book by the same author, 



Sung-chatirming-hua-p' ing ("A Critique of Famous Painters of the 
Sung Dynasty"), in which the Sung painters from the year 960 up to 
the time of the author (eleventh century) are divided according to 
the classification of Chang Huai-huan. There are in addition two works 
by the painter Ching Hao, namely, the Hua-shan-shui-fu ("Poetical 
Description of the Art of Landscape Painting") and his Pi-forchi 
("Notes on the Laws of the Brush"). Paldologue " says of these that 
they have not been preserved, but a description of them can still be 
found in the catalogue of the Imperial Library (Tsung-mu, chapter 112, 
page 14). Another book of importance is the I-ckou-ming-hua4u in two 
books, by Huang Hsiu-fu, which covers the period 758-968 with special 
attention to painting in Ch*eng-tu, the capital of the province Ssu-ch*uan, 
which at this time was at its height. In this short outline we must set 
aside these interesting but specialized volumes and devote our attention 
to the next general history of painting after the Li-tai-ming-hua-chL 
This book, as we have seen, closes with the year 841. With this same 
year Kuo Jo-hü, the leading art historian of the eleventh century, begins 
his history and carries it on to the year 1074. It is called the Tu-huo 
chidn-wSn-chik, and contains six books. 


The first book, as in the work of Chang Yen-yiian, begins with a series 
of short essays on such subjects as the Emperor T*ai-tsung's search for 
old pictures, on the impossibility of learning Ch*i-yün (the expression of 
the spiritual), on the colors of Wu Tao-tze, on the superiorities and the 
weaknesses of the ancients in comparison with the more modern painters. 
In connection with the last subject we find for the first time in the works 
of a Chinese connoisseur, the opinion that later was generally accepted, 
namely, that the ancients were not equalled by the men of his time (tenth 
and eleventh centuries) in figure painting (Buddhist and Tauist saints, 
interiors, portraits, cattle and horses), but on the other hand that the 
old classic painters were surpassed by the modems (the painters of the 
tenth and eleventh centuries) in the representation of landscapes, flowers, 
bamboo groves, birds and fishes. He points to the masters Ku 
K*ai-chih, Lu T'an-wei, Chang Seng-yu, Yen Li-pen, and his brother 
Li-te, and finally Wu Tao-tze, who is praised as the greatest master of 
all times, as unequalled in the representation of Buddhist and Tauist 
figures. He mentions Chang Hüan and Chou Fang as portraitists, the 
great horse painter Han Kan, and the painter of water-buffalos, Tai 
Sung, as examples of the highest accomplishment in the "expression of 

" L 'Art Chinois, p. 265 



the spiritual, , , and adds that they were unequalled by any of his con- 
temporaries. On the other hand, landscape painters, such as Li Ch^eng 
and Fan K*uan, or flower painters, such as Hsii Hsi and Huang-Ts'iian, 
were not equalled by any painters of ancient times. 

In the second, third and fourth volumes we find the necessary 
biographical material for the period that he covers, in the fifth volume, 
a string of miscellaneous anecdotes in two parts, the first of which is de- 
voted to the older paintings, the second to the works of the author's 

Following the chronological order, our consideration should next be 
given to the Hua-shih, in one volume, by the famous painter and 
orthographist, Mi Fu. But interesting as are the lively narratives of 
this intense personality, their scope is scarcely broad enough to give the 
Hua-shih a place beside such works as have already been mentioned. 
While describing his own work and all his idiosyncrasies in great detail, 
he gives much interesting information about Ms predecessors and con- 
temporaries in art, but the temper of his criticisms ean be readily seen in 
one passage on his own work that ends "nor is there one single stroke 
in my pictures that breathes such vulgarity as those of Li Ch*eng and 


We now come to the third comprehensive work ~ the history of paint- 
ing from the year 1074, where the work of Kuo Jo-hü ends, to the year 
1167 一 the Hua-chi ("Continuation of Painting"), in ten volumes, by 
Teng Ch'un. The author even as a young man was occupied with literary 
activities and had helped his father, Teng Ming-shih, with the publishing, 
in 1134, of an extensive treatise on the family names of the Chinese. In 
spite of the existence of a lengthy descriptive catalogue of the Emperor 
Hui-tsung's collection, which we will mention later in detail, it seemed 
highly desirable that the general history of painting, which had been 
begun by Chang Yen-yüan and Kuo Jo-hü, should be continued. We 
have in this work a history of the development of Chinese art to the end 
of the twelfth century. 

The Li'tai-ming-hua-ch i carries us from the mythological period to 
the year 841. 

The Tu -h iiorch ie n-iven-ch ih from 841 to 1074, and lastly, 
The Hua-chi from 1074 to 1167. 

The first seven books of the Hua-chi are largely biographical. The 
construction of this history has very apparent defects as the author be- 

^« Hua-shih, as quoted in the P' ei-wen-chai^hu-hua-p' u, Chap. 15, pp. 11-13. 



gins with "Holy art" or "Imperial art" (sheng-i), a discussion of the 
artistic products of the Emperor Hui-tsung, who had died in 1135, sixteen 
years after his abdication, an exile and prisoner of the Kin Tartars. 
This is followed by a discussion of the other members of the imperial 
family who were known as painters, among them Chao Po-chü. This 
takes up the first and second books. The third, fourth and fifth books 
are devoted to painters distin^ished by their positions as scholars, 
officials, priests or women of prominence. In the sixth and seventh books 
he has grouped all others according to their special department of paint- 
ing. If we overlook the structural weaknesses of the book, we find that 
the biographical information is fully as important as that of the two 
previously mentioned histories. The eighth book contains a list of all the 
important old paintings which were then in private possession, a small 
critical selection of the best among the best, or, as the author expresses 
himself : "Among a thousand, a hundred ; among a hundred, ten; of 
ten, one^"; for says he, "If I wished to note what one sees every day it 
would burden two oxen." Those which are not included in the list are 
the things of which Mi Yiian-chang said that "they would cause one 
to die for shame. , , 

The picture catalogue of Teng Ch'un contains only a few of the im- 
portant names of antiquity, such as Ku K'ai-chih, whose painting of the 
"Three Religions" (Confucius, Lao-tze, and Buddha) then belonged 
to a great art collector of K*ai-feng-fu. The masters of the T'ang dynasty 
are better represented, especially Wu Tao-tze and Wang Wei, as well 
as Han Kan with a horse picture, but the majority of the paintings 
belong to the masters of the tenth and eleventh centuries. Through this, 
as well as many another list of paintings still preserved in the literature 
of China, we are able to find out the addresses of the various art collectors 
scattered in different parts of the Empire, each of whom owned only a 
few, rarely more than a half dozen of the famous treasures. In this 
catalogue, the one hundred and forty-seven paintings mentioned are 
divided among thirty different owners. In the ninth and tenth books 
Teng Ch'un gives us a series of short comments on painting, reflections, 
based not so much upon historical facts as upon the personal views of the 
author, that show the severity of his judgment. The six principles of 
Hsieh Ho, said he, are rarely found in the art of a single master. This 
was the case in Wu Tao-tze and, among the later painters, in Li Lung- 
mien. The end of the ninth book consists of some very interesting facts 
about Korean, Japanese and Indian paintings. He gives descriptions of 
the Korean willow-wood and paper fans, notes their use of "sky-blue" 
and "sea-green," and contrasts them with the Japanese and Chinese 
folding fans. In comparing Indian images of Buddha with those of the 
Chinese he says: "The Buddhistic monks of the monastery of Nälandä 

Mi Fu ,8 cognomen. 



in Central India (of the Westem Heaven) like to paint images of the 
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats on pieces of Indian cloth. These 
images always differ in appearance from our Chinese physiognomy. 
The eyes are somewhat bigger, the mouths and ears all very strange, the 
ears being long. Either in sitting postures or standing, they invariably 
have their right shoulders bare. . • . (In making these pictures) they 
first draw the *five viscera' on the back of the paper, then they apply 
the five colors on the front surface, the- ground being laid in either with 
gilt or red lead." 

The author's conclusion shows us that the direct Indian influence on 
Chinese art was continued even at this date, for he tells us that "Shou 
Po, the Academician, when he was Prefect in Li Chou (Ssü-ch*uan) 
employed priests who had come from India to paint Buddha pictures in 
his administrative building." 


Having outlined the three principal histories of Chinese painting 
which mutually complete each other, ranging from ancient times to the 
year 1167, we must now return to one of the most important monuments 
of Chinese art history which dates back sixty years before the Huorchi. 
This is the great art catalogue of the Emperor Hui-tsung, the Hsilan-ho- 
hua-p'u. Hui-tsung, who reigned from 1101 to 1126, and was certainly the 
most important art collector among the Chinese Emperors, brought the 
organization of the Imperial collection to its highest point of develop- 
ment when the political power of the dynasty had already begun to wane. 
He not only had bronzes, jades and manuscripts, but he added to his col- 
lection the greatest treasures that Chinese painting had to show, which, 
for the most part, had been in private possession up to that time. This 
collection was housed in the palace Hsüan-ho in his capital K*ai-feng-fu. 
A painter himself, he had called to his court the greatest artists of his 
day, had founded an academy of painting and by means of an almost 
reckless encouragement of artists, the distribution, among other things, 
of titles and high political offices, had discovered many a hidden talent. 
His picture gallery, which surpassed anything that had yet been seen 
in China, was described in a catalogue of twenty volumes, the Hsüan-ho- 
hua-p^u ("A Description of the Paintings in the Palace Hsüan-ho"), 
which, as no author is mentioned, we may suppose to have been compiled 
at the Emperor's command by a group of artists and critics. The intro- 
duction as well as the Emperor's own paintings are dated "at the palace 
Hsüan-ho ,, in the year 1120, that is, during the Hsüan-ho period of his 
reign (1119-1126), which was named after the famous art palace. 
The Po-kU'fU'lu, a description of the bronzes, had been completed 



in 1107, whereas the catalogue of handwritings which has no intro- 
duction, the Hsilan-ko-shu-p< u, appeared together with the catalogue 
of paintings." Hui-tsung's gallery still contained some paintings of 
antiquity dating back as far as the Tsin dynasty (third century) . It 
contained in all 231 masters with 6,396 paintings. The important place 
which this catalogue has in the history of Chinese art justifies a more de- 
tailed description. 


The entire catalogue is arranged according to the classification of the 
subjects. of the paintings, and, as the categories which were created for 
painting by Chinese art historians, do not alwj^ys coincide with ours, I 
will mention the ten main groups with their technical names as found in 
Hui-tsung's catalo^e. These categories (men, literally gate) are: 

1. TaO'Shih, literally, "Tauist and Buddhist bonzes." — This is the 
division which we can call the religious painting of the Chinese. To this 
class belong all the paintings that depict the Tauist and Buddhist tradi- 
tions, and all the mythological figures of the Chinese cosmogony, spirits 
(hsien), fairies (t'ien-nü, literally women of heaven), conjurers, hermits 
sages, as well as allegorical paintings of the heavenly firmament and 
mythological monsters. Also the entire Buddhistic pantheon, Buddha 
himself in all his various metamorphoses, and his disciples, the Arhats, 
Pusas, and bonzes, especially Kuan-yin, who originally was a local Chinese 
deity and only later became the equivalent of the Indian male deity 
Avalokites' vara or Padmapani." Descriptions of these religious subjects 
fill the first to the fifth books of the catalogue. 

2. Jen-wu, literally "human affairs" (fifth to seventh books). 一 If 
we except the religious category and that of the "paintings of things 
foreign," this is really the category of figure painting. In this class be- 
longed familiar subjects which have kept their popularity from ancient 
times down to the present day, such as illustrations of womanly virtue 
(lieh-nii), of the seven wise men (ch'i-ts'ai), historical paintings and 
even humorous genre paintings, as we may conclude from such titles as 
"The Drunken Man" (tsui-k*o), "Men and Women in a Summer Land- 
scape" (pi-shu-shih-nii), "Priests in a Thunder Storm" (feng-yü-seng). 
Under this head are also placed various other sorts of figure paintings 
such as paintings of manners and morals, illustrations of popular occu- 

", Chap. 112, p. 31, and for the Esuan-ho-hua-pu, 《&td., pp. 29-31. 

" " As a god he is of Indian origin, but as a goddess she is, at least partly, a 
native deity." ~ Waiters. Essays on the Chinese Language, p. 448. Edkins ' Chinese 
Buddhism gives the twelfth century as the date of the metamorphosis, but this is an 
error, as numerous earlier representations of this Bodhisattva in female form still 



pations such as "A Picture of Peasant Life" (tien-chia-f eng-su) , "Ladies 
Making Musie" (ku-ch* in-shih-nü) , and an entire array of illustrated 
anecdotes as we find them told by the broad humorists of Chinese history. 

3. Kung-skih, literally, "palace and house" (eighth book). 一 This 
consists of a group of architectural paintings. Among these famous and 
often repeated subjects belongs the Han Kiing-t*u, "The Imperial Palace 
of the Han Dynasty," which usually consists of representations of huge 
parks furnished with all the luxuries of ancient Asia, dotted with towers, 
kiosks, and lai^e halls, and animated by groups of people engaged in 
every sort of pleasurable pursuit. We also find representations of snow- 
covered roofs, and mountain monasteries perched upon remote and un- 
approachable mountaiii heights. The appendix of this category includes 
ship paintings and paintings of vehicles. 

4. Fan'tsu, literally, "foreign tribes" (close of the eighth book). ~ A 
small group of paintings representing scenes from the life of the northern 
border tribes, showing herdsmen, horsemen and hunting scenes, caravans 
and folk types. The painters of these pictures often belonged to the 
tribe whose mode of life they portrayed. 

5. Lung-yü, literally, "dragons and fish" (ninth book). 一 To which 
must be added all other water creatures, such as crabs, shrimps, and so on. 

6. Shan-shui, literally, "mountains and water," in other words land- 
scape (tenth to twelfth books). 一 It is noteworthy for the history of 
Chinese art that the gallery of Hui-tsung contains no landscape paintings 
of antiquity, whereas the other group of religious and figure paintings 
is represented by examples dating back several centuries before the 
T'ang dynasty. The oldest landscape painter represented was Li Ssü- 
shün (651-716), who had inspired the entire coloristic tendency and still 
dominated the contemporaries of Hui-tsung. Few as the landscape 
painters are which date from the T*ang period (618-907) in this museum, 
nevertheless it contained examples by the greatest masters, namely, Lu 
Hung, Wang Wei, the founder of the black and white school, and Chang 
Tsau, the originator of finger painting. The landscape painters of the 
Sung dynasty were represented by Tung Pei-yiian with 78 paintings, 
Li Ch'eng with 159, Fan K*uan by 58, Kuo Hsi by 30, and the monk 
Kü-jan by 136 paintings. In addition three paintings by an unknown 
Japanese artist, which had been presented to the court in the years 
976-984 by traveling Japanese priests, had been given a place in the land- 
scape division. 

7. Ch/u-shou, literally, "domestic animals and wild beasts" (books 
thirteen and fourteen). ~ Principally horses, cattle, dogs, rabbits and 
cats, also lions and tigers, the latter probably painted in captivity. Li 
Ai-chih, the greatest of the Chinese cat painters (tenth century), was 
alone represented by eighteen paintings devoted to his favorite subject, 



some of the titles being "Playing Cats," "Chicks with Cats," and 
"Drunken Cats." Horses and cattle were a favorite subject as far back 
as the fourth century, for the gallery contained three animal paintings 
by Shih Tau-she (fourth century) which belonged to the most ancient 
examples of painting. Han Kan, the greatest horse painter of the eighth 
century who would acknowledge only the Imperial stable as his master, 
was represented by fifty-two paintings and Ts'au Pa, Han Kan's teacher, 
by fourteen pictures, also of horses. 

8. Hua-niau, literally, "flowers and birds" (books fifteen to nineteen). 
~ Under this heading we find no pre-T*ang pictures and examples even 
of T'ang paintings of these subjects are very few in comparison with the 
number belonging to the Sung dynasty. The group Hua-niau also in- 
cludes butterflies and bees, apparently as constant companions of the 
flowers. The oldest butterfly and bee picture in the collection was by 
Prince T'eng, a member of the Imperial house of T'ang, who is first men- 
tioned by Ghu Ching-hsiian as a painter of bees and butterflies, swallows 
and other little birds, donkeys and water buffaloes. Hsiieh Chi (end of 
the seventh century), who was the first painter to specialize in the de- 
piction of cranes, had seven crane paintings preserved in this collection 
which probably became the models for this department of painting so 
frequently copied in the East Asiatic countries. Among the few remain- 
ing T*ang pictures we also find, aside from those already mentioned, 
paintings of peacocks, doves, hawks and pheasants, among the flower 
paintings, peonies, pomegranate blossoms, plum and peach blossoms, sun- 
flowers and banana trees. The number of species represented in later 
examples is very much greater and at that time a certain traditional and 
largely symbolical grouping of certain flowers, plants and trees, with 
certain birds, begins to make its appearance. 


They liked, for example, to combine apricot blossoms and swallows as 
representative of spring, and the grouping of lotus flowers and wild ducks 
was emblematical of autumn. The crane and pine-tree as symbols of 
long life are often found together, but many of the traditional combina- 
tions of objects are quite incomprehensible to us to-day. Any grouping 
once established became a generally accepted type that served as a model 
and was faithfully copied for many centuries. 

The typical, or the tendency to adhere to tradition, is, in fact, charac- 
teristic of Chinese art in all its branches. In fi^re painting where the 
selection and combining of the different objects to be represented usually 
depends upon some literary heritage, whether the subject be historical, 
mythical or religious, the symbolism can be readily traced by us to-day, 



but in the group Hua-niau we often search in vain to find a reason why 
the painters show such preference for certain apparently heterogeneous 
combinations. What, for instance, is the connection between a cock (chi) 
and the flower cockscomb (chi-kuan-hua, literally, cockscap), except per- 
haps the name and the resemblance in form between the cock's head- 
gear and the shape of the flower ? But when a Chinese painter depicts 
a cock he invariably decorates the background with plants, and when he 
can think of nothing better he invariably uses for this purpose celosia 
cristata with its reddish purple flowers. Of course, many of these com- 
binations may have no significance whatever. Often it is sufficient that 
a picture, in which such heterogeneous objects are used, should have been 
famous in antiquity to cause it to be copied hundreds of years later, and 
frequently the mere mention in some literary classic of a favorite com- 
bination of the ancients, causes it to be used by successive generations of 
artists. One of these, for example, is the composition of "Cat and 
Peony. , , The popularity of this subject may be attributed to an anecdote 
told by Shen Kua in his Meng-chi-pi-f an, a still popular encyclopedia 
of the eleventh century. The famous historian and epigraphist Oü-yang 
Siu (1007-1072), got possession of an ancient painting, a group of 
peonies in blossom with a cat sitting beneath them. Ou-yang Siu was at 
a loss to explain the significance of the picture until a friend 
of his discovered that the name of the picture must be "Peonies at 
Noon, , , for this reason : * 《 The flowers were completely opened and dried, 
which could only be the case by day, whereas the pupils of the cat's eyes 
were narrowed to a mere slit which could only be observed at noon. A 
flower which is covered with dew would be closed and moist, and the 
pupils of the cat's eyes are round in the morning and evening, growing 
longer during the day and being merely threadlike in shape at noon." 
"By such keen observation," explained the friend, "could one recognize 
the manner of the ancients.'' All well-read Chinese are familiar with 
hundreds of similar anecdotes and in this way compositions such as that 
of the "Peony and Cat" are frequently chosen even by much later 
painters. Flower painting reached its height at the court of Li Yü, who 
ruled in Nan King from 962 to 975, but surrendered without a struggle 
to the victorious army of the new Sung dynasty. 

9. MO'Chu, literally, **ink bamboos" (twentieth book). ― This includes 
black and white sketching of bamboo trees, which was a sort of intellectual 
sport in the East Asiatic world from the tenth century on. 

10. Su'kuo, literally, "vegetables and fruit" (end of the twentieth 
book). 一 This is a type of design which seems to have been used in the 
earliest days, for one of the ancient painters, Ku Yeh-wang, famous in 

"疆 Mr. T. Y. Leo suggests that the idea of the 《 ' hat upon the hat " is a STinbolical 
depiction of progress in official life. 



the sixth century for his plant paintings, was represented by a painting 
"Plants with Insects" (ts'a1i-ch*ung-t*u) . 


All the paintings in Hui-tsimg's collection were forced into these ten 
categories, but they by no means include all the established categories. 
Chu Ching-hsüan, in his classification of the T'ang painters, had already 
defined the specialty of each of the great masters. From this attempt to 
group the great monuments of painting according to subjects had arisen 
a group of technical expressions which, in part, are still in use. Having 
given the ten categories of Hui-tsung's gallery according to its catalogue, 
it might be well to go back to the works of Chu Ching-hsüan in order to 
point out the principal groups of which one can say that they reflect the 
preference of the painters of the T*ang dynasty in regard to the selection 
of subjects. According to the earlier work, Hui-tsung's first category, 
religions painting/, can easily be divided into a series of additional 
groups, of which the principal ones named by Chu Ching-hsüan are : 

1. Fu-hsiang, literally, "Buddha pictures," the representations of the 
sage in his various manifestations, and under different names, mostly 
Indian. 一 The expression Fu-hsiang is chiefly used to indicate stone repre- 
sentations of the sage, like its Japanese equivalent "imtem." Only 
secondarily does it refer to paintings. The original models for this class 
of religious painting were probably brought as finished products from 
India to China, together with the oldest Buddhistic statues. Among the 
Indian art centers the monastery at Nälandä was particularly prominent 
and was praised by a Chinese art historian for its excellent Buddha paint- 
ings as late as the twelfth century. The most famous representative of 
this branch of painting in the far East is the master of masters, Wu 

2. Pu-sa, corruption of Pu-ti-sa-to, the Chinese transcription of the 
Indian Bodhisattva, is the name of the "Enlightened Ones" who rank im- 
mediately after Buddha himself, Buddhistic saints who have only one' 
more life to live before they become Buddhas themselves. The repre- 
sentation of the Pu-sa was one of the specialties of the Khoten painter 
Wei-ch*ih I-seng, who liked particularly to depict the Pu-sa, Ta-pei' or 
AvalokitesWara^ the Chinese Kuan-yin, who in Khoten, after Indian 
example, was probably still represented as a man. Another Pu-sa painter 
was the classic Chang Seng-yu, by whom Hui-tsung's museum contained 
representations among others of the Pu-sa Mandjus'ri (Chinese, Wen- 
shu-pu-sa) , and also of a divinity greatly honored in Chinese temples, 
VimalaMrtti (Chinese, Wei-mo-chi), a subject which was popular with 
the Chinese painters of all times. After the Pu-sa come the Arhats 



(Chinese, Lo-han), Buddhist saints, eighteen in number, who are usually 
conceived as disciples of Buddha. 

3. T< ien-wang, literally, 《 《 Lord of Heaven, , , is probably Indra. 

4. Ti-yU, literaHy, "the earthly prisons" or "hells" of the Buddhists, 
a popular subject even in recent times, which served the great Wu Tao- 
tze for some of his masterpieces. 

5. Kui'Shen, literally, "devils and spirits" — "Demons" in the 
Buddhist sense. ~ Two sorts of Bishi (immortals), namely Purusha 
(shen), the good spirits that inhabit the air, and Preta (kui), horrible 
night spirits such as inhabit hell. But under the title Kiii-shen, we must 
also group the entire horde of spirit forms created by the imagination of 
the Chinese people^ in part much older than Buddhism itself and to 
which even the non-Buddhistic peoples bring sacrifices of all sorts. But 
as far as Buddhist, art is concerned, only the Bishi are included under 
this heading. 

6. EaO'Seng, literally, "high priests." ~ By this are meant the great 
traveling missionaries such as Fa-hsien and Hüan-chuang, the Buddhist 
patriarchs, in short the entire semi-legendary clergy of ancient times 
as it has been pictorially preserved to posterity. , 

7. Seng-fu, literally, "Bonzes and Buddha pictures." 

8. 8hen-fu, literally, "Spirit and Buddha ! Pictures." ~ Under the 
former term (shen-spirit) may be understood the divinities of the non- 
Buddhistic sects. These naturally were subjects of religious painting, 
especially the mythological figures of Tauist teaching. 

9. Kung-iS, literally, "Merit and Virtue." ~ This is a Buddhist term 
which, according to the Indo-Chinese glossaries, is the translation of the 
Indian Gunabhadra, but it seems doubtful whether this refers to the 
personality known under this name who is mentioned in the Life of 
Hüan-chuang or to the translator of Buddhist writings of the same name 
who lived in the fifth century;® It is more likely that the term refers 
to representations t)f Buddhist Labors and Virtues" (guna), perhaps a 
series of pictures such as the well-known, often-repeated scenes of purely 
Chinese origin, "Examples of Childish Love." Kung-te or Guna pic- 
tures were painted by the leading classical painters, such as Yen Li-pen, 
Wei-ch* ih I-seng and Wu Tao-tze. * 

10. The category Jevrwu, or non-religious figure painting, naturally 
includes many different groups, of which I will mention a few that, ac- 
cording to Chu Ching-hsüan, were common to the T*ang dynasty : 

Hsieh'Chen, literally, "true" (chen) "drawing" (hsieh), that is 

" See Edkins' Chinese Buddhism, p. 280. 



Shih-nü, portraits of, "gentlewomen." 
Feng-su, literally, **folk scenes." 

Eu'hsien, literally, "the wise men of antiquity," Confucian philoso- 
phers and scholars. 

KaU'Shih, literally, "great scholars," hermits. 
Wu'Chiang, literally, "military men." 

11. Under the headings Kung-shih, the category for architectural 
pictures, distinctions were made between groups such as L6u-t*ai 
("houses and terraces of several stories"), Ts*un-t*ien ("villages and 
fields"), and Kung-yüan ("palaces and parks")- Many divisions could 
be admitted to the category of landscape painting (shan-shui). Indeed, 
several of the different divisions which we find in the literature of paint- 
ing could readily be grouped together. In Chu Ching-hsüan's list we find 
such specialties as Shan-tse ("hills and seas"), Ts* ao-mu ("plants and 
trees"), Sung-shih ("pines and cliffs"), Shu-shih ("trees and 
cliffs"), Chu-mu ("bamboos and trees"), etc. Some of these combina- 
tions intrude upon the categories of flowers, trees and other plant groups, 
often they combine with animal groups as He-chu ("cranes and 
bamboos"). Very frequent are combinations taken from the animal 
world, for example, Ying-ko ("hawks and doves"), ch*iian-t*u ("dogs 
and rabbits"), Chi-t*u ("chickens and rabbits"), Yen-t*siau ("swallows 
and small birds"), Feng-ch*an ("bees and cicadas"). It is evident 
that in the majority of these group-subjects two different elements are 
put together. Such combinations were eternally repeated by the Chinese 
painters V from the T*ang dynasty on. They became in a sense con- 
ventional in Chinese, as well as in Japanese art, and left the painter 
who, particularly in China, had to submit to the traditional prejudices 
of his public, but little opportunity for the selection of other subjects. 
Thus the chief emphasis in Chinese painting lay not upon the nature of 
the subject, but upon the art with which it was executed. Even where 
the group name implies the elimination of more than one element, as 
must be the case in the following titles mentioned by Chu Ching-hsüan : 
An-ma ("saddled horses"), Lii-tzu ("donkey"), Shui-niu ("water- 
buffalo, Ö, Ying-hu ("hawk"), Chu-chi ("snipe," literally, "bamboo 
chicken"), Mau-erh ("house cats"), we must remember that there was 
an inherited tradition for the arrangement of these figures. 


We have now examined the most important sources for the history 
of Chinese painting to the middle of the twelfth century. Up to that 
time the principal works on the subject followed one another regularly 
and systematically. The volumes that we will now consider treat, for the 



most part, of the entire history of art although with less detail, but we are 
dependent upon these from the year 1167 when the Hua-chi ends. In the 
year 1330 tiiere appeared a short rfisume, in one volume, under the 
title Euorchien, by T*ang Hou. The author was an art critic of the early 
Yuan dynasty ,20 whose short and careful characterizations help us to 
differentiate the important from the unimportant in the earlier periods. 
But for the painters from 1167 to 1330 we must refer to later works, as for 
this period the Hua-chien contains merely an enumeration of names. A 
few remarks on the art of foreign nations which was found in this little 
work correspond with data which can be found in the later T^u-hui-pau- 
chün, and only serves to establish their existence in the year 1330. 


This U'hui-paU'Chien, in five volumes, which is more detailed and 
more comprehensive, was published by Hsia Wen-yen toward the end 
of the Yuan dynasty in 1368. T'au-tsungrI, who is the author of an 
encyclopedia 21 of great importance for the study of the Mongolian era, 
and calls himself the friend of Hsia Wen-yen, describes for us on per- 
sonal knowledge the education of this art historian and adds his opinion 
of the painters discussed in the work. According to him the T^u-hui-pau- 
chien contained biographical information for the period beginning with 
the earliest times up to 1275 (the end of the Sung dynasty) on 1,280 
artists, to which we must add the names of thirty Tartar painters who 
as foreigners stood outside the national art. The period beginning with 
the Mongol supremacy up to the publishing of the book (1365) is repre- 
sented by 200 additional names, so that the total is 1,500 masters (Neng- 
hua-che, "those that can paint"). The T' u-hui-pau-chün is an important 
source, especially for the period of the Southern Sung dynasty, the 
period of Tartar supremacy in Northern China, and that of the Mon- 
golian supremacy, for it is the work nearest m time to the century and a 
half between 1227 and 1366. At the end of this period the Ming dynasty 
(1368-1644) with its numerous writers begins, so that it is possible to 
check up Hsia Wen-yen in many later manuscripts. But even for the 
earliest periods this work of the Mongol era contains many things omitted 
by the older writers. The u-hui-pau-chien is important for the 
European student, as all the unnecessary details for the older period are 
omitted, and only the most important artists are discussed. In order not to 
repeat mere hearsay, the author gives a list in his first book of the names 
of the ancient painters up to the T'ang dynasty whose work had not come 
down to posterity. He contents himself witii their mere enumeration, 

" See Cho-JcSng-lu, 

" Cho-Jceng-lu, Chap. 18, p. 8. 



referring the reader for further details to the older source, the Li-tai- 
ming-huorchi. We therefore find in the second book, after the elimination 
of all ballast, that the information is confined to the really notable masters 
of antiquity. As these correspond with the names that are again and 
again repeated in the history of Chinese art, I will here repeat his list 
up to the time of the great classic painter Wu Tao-tze : 



Ts'au Pu-hsing 



Wei Hsieh 





Shih Tau-she 



Hsieh Chih 



Chanfl? Senff-vu ' 


6 th 





















Wu Tao-tze 



These are the names of the painters of the oldest epoch to whom the 
history of Chinese art ascribes a traceable influence upon posterity. 
Everything that antedates the time of Ts'au Pu-hsing is partly legendary 
and doubtless for this reason is set aside by the practical Hsia Wen-yen. 
He has likewise omitted the names of famous people who painted as a 
secondary interest, and this helps to simplify the otherwise burdensome 
accumulation of material. 

The painters of the Sung dynasty are treated more comprehensively, 
the North Sung painters in the third book, the South Sung in the fourth, 
whereas the short period of Mongolian supremacy fills the whole fifth 
book. At the end of this book are some interesting comments on the paint- 
ing of Japan, of the Uigurs, the Tanguts, the Tibetans and Koreans, some 



of which seem to have been taken from the older work, the Huorchien. 
The most interesting of these comments is the one on Korea: "The 
Koreans can make very fine pictures of Kuan-yin. Their style comes 
from that of Wei-chih I-seng, very lively in motion and exceedingly fine 
in technique." As Wei-ch* ih I-seiig was a native of Khoten" this 
allusion to his presence and influence in Korea may explain in part the 
purely Indian and quite un-Chinese characteristics that are found in 
early Japanese art According to their own tradition, the art of the 
Japanese is based on that of Korea" and this fact, together with the 
presence in Korea of an Indian painter, would explain how Japan arrived 
in its early days at achieving a Buddhistic art that was not Chinese. 

Contrary to the friendly praises of the encyclopedist T*au-tsung-I, the 
critics of the great catalogue of the Imperial Library in Peking have 
much fault to find with the T u-hui-pau-chien. They rightly say that the 
author gave very little attention to chronology, a point upon which other 
Chinese authors are very careful. As a result the entire period between 
the T'ang and Sung dynasties, called Wu-tai or the Five Dynasties, is 
suppressed and its painters, whose works, comprise one of the most im- 
portant periods in the development of Chinese art, are placed among the 
Sung painters, so that painters like Li-yü and the great Hsii-Hsi 
(tenth century) are discussed after Li Lung-mien, who belongs to the 
eleventh century. Aside from the short notice of biographical dates, 
he adds no characterizations of the styles of the epoch-making masters. 
This omission, however, is amply met by the very detailed later literature. 

Under the Ming dynasty the enlarged edition of the T^Vrhui-paur 
chidn was issued by the first assistant in the astronomical institute Han 
Ang, and treats of the 170 painters that are found in the first 150 years 
of the Ming dynasty. This edition, which was probably published in the 
year 1519, contains names such as Lü Chi (1496-1576) and other 
painters of the Chia4sing period (1522-1567), so that the critics of the 
great catalogue rightly conclude that there were later insertions. With 
the original first five books the u-hui-pau-chien the sources for the 
history of painting up to the end of the Mongol dynasty (1368) are 
closed. This and the other works mentioned are the most important of 
all the ancient art histories. During the Ming period art criticism de- 

" T' u-hui-paU'Chien, Chap. 2, p. 5. 

" Gonse, I 'Art Japonais, Vol. I, p. 166. "Et ä vrai dire, cette influence de la 
Cor6e, dont on parle si souvent sans en pröciser le caractöre, nous parait ötre, en 
tant qu 'interm^iare, le . vrai noeud de la question. II parait prouvö aujourd'hui 
que le presqu 'ile cor^enne, conquise par le bouddhisme, a 6t6 bien longtemps r6- 
fractaire k 1 'influence chinoise, et que cette race singuli^re, tout a fait differente ä 
1 'origine de la raee mongolienne, ayant ses moeurs, sa civilisation, mdine ses arts, a 
conserve jusqu'ä une 6poque relativement r^cente, son autonomie. La Cor6e a done 
pu et a dü avoir une grande influence sur le Japon bien avant celle de la Chine*" 

•* Taung-mu Chap. 112, p. 47. ' 


veloped to such an extent that even the officials of the Imperial Library 
at Peking have made no attempt to collect the entire literature on the 
• subject. The interest in the history and criticism of art has continued 
up to the present time and is still a popular subject with China's student- 


Chan Tze-ch* ien, 24. 
Chang HSng, 7. 
Chang Hsiao-shih, 24. 
Chang Huai-lmaD, 10, 12. 
Chang Hüan, 12. 

Chang Söng-yn, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 20, 24. 
Chang Tsau, 11, 17. 

Chang Yen-yuan, 1 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13. 

Chao Po-chü, 14. 

Ch^ng Fa-ahih, 24. 

Cheng IctMn-Jcung-ssu-htia-shih, 9. 

Chiang Kuan, 6. 

Ch' ien-han-shu, 2, 10. 

Chih-kung-t* u, 7, 

Chinese Buddhism, 16, 21. 

Ching Hao, 12. 

Chiu-t' ang-shu, 3. 

Cho-Jceng-lu, 23. 

Chou Fang, 11, 12. 

Chu Ching-hsüan, 10, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22. 
Chung-t' ien-chu-kuo-t* u, 7. 
Ehr-ya-t' u, 6 

Essays on the Chinese Language, 16. 
Fan Ch' ang-shou, 24. 
Fan K'uan, 13, 17. 
Fan-yö, 5. 

Han Kan, 11, 12, 14, 18. 
Ho Chang-shou, 24. 
Hou-han-shu, 5, 7. 
Hsi-ch' ing-tsa-chi, 1. 
Hsieh Cbih, 24. 
Hsieh Ho, 4, 8, 10. 
Hsü Hsi, 13, 25. 
HsiUhua-p' in, 9 
Hsüeh Chi, 11, 18. 
Hsüm-ho-htta^p* u, 15, 16. 
Hsiian-hO'Shu-p* u, 16. 
Hua-chi, 13-15. 
Hua-ohien, 22, 25. 
Hua-shan-shuufu, 12. 
Hua-shih, 13. 

Huang Hfidu-fu, 12. 
Huang-Ts'üan, 13. 

Hui-tsung, Emperor, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20 

I-chou-ming-hiia-lu, 12. 

Kabddha, 9. 

Ku Ghün-eMh, 8. 

Ku-hua-p' in-lu, 8. 

Kü-jan, 17. 

Ku K'ai-chih, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 24. 

Ku Yeh-wang, 19, 24. 

Kuo Hsi, 17. 

Kuo Jo-hü, 12, 13. 

L'Art Chinois, 12. 

L'Art Japonais, 25, 

Li Ai-chih, 17. 

Li Ch'öng, 13, 17. 

Li Lung-mien, 14, 25. 

Li Ssu-hsün 10, 11, 17. 

Li'tauchien-ts* ang-hua, 10. 

TA'tai-chih'hmn-piau, 9. 

Lirtai-ming-haa-chiy 1, 2-7, 12, 13. 

Liu Tau-ch'un, 11, 12. 

Li-yü, 25. 

LÜ Chi, 25. 

Lu Hung, 17. 

Lu T'an-wei, 4, 8, 9, 12, 24. 

Ming-chi-pi'V an, 19. 

Mi Fu, 13, 14. 

Mi Yuan-Chang, 14. 

Ming-sTKm-J^ua-lu, 2. 

Pan Ku, 10. 

P'ei Hsiau-yüan, 10. 

P'ei Siu, 7. 

P' ei-win-chai^hu-hua-p* u, 13. 
Pin-ts* aU'kang-mu, 7. 
Pin-ts' aU't'u, 7. 
Pi-fa-chi, 12. 
PO'Jcu-t' Umlu, 15. 
San-li't* u, 6. 
Shan-hat'Ching-t* u, 6. 
Shgn Kua 19. 



Shih'Chi, 2. 
Shih Tau-shö, 18, 24. 
Shumhua-p^u, 9, 10. 
JShft-tuan, 10. 
Ssii-ma Ch^ien 2. 
Sui'Shu, 2. 

Sung-ch* au-ming-hua-p* ing, 12. 
Sung-shu, 5. 
Tai Sung, 13. . 
Tang-eh* ao-ming-hua-lu, 10« 
T'ang Hou, 23. 
T'ang shu, 2, 3. 
T'au-Tsung-I, 23, 25. 
T<§Dg, Prince, 18. 
Tgng Ch'mi, 13, 14. 
Tuhstng-fang-chang-t' «, 6. 
Ti-hsing-t' ii, 7. 


Ts'au Pa, 18. 

Ts'au Pu-hsing 8, 9, 24. 

Tsung-mu, 12, 16, 23, 25. 

T* U'hua-chidn-win-chih, 12,13. 

T' U'hui-pau-chiin, 23.25. 

Tung. Pei-yüan, 17. 

Tung Po-jßn, 24. 

Wang Hsoan-tze, 7. 

Wang Wei 11, 14, 17. 

Wei-ch'ih I-s^ng, 11, 20, 21, 24, 25. 

Wei Hcdeh, 8, 24. 

Wu-tai-ming-hua-pumi, 11. 

Wu Tao-tze, 4, 6 8, 11, 12, 14, 20, 21 

Yen Li-pSn, 11, 12, 21, 24. 

Yen Li te, 11, 12, 24. 

Yuan-ti, Emperor, 9. 

,e ret 

3 2044 034