The chosen painting is from the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) and is by one of the periods foremost painters, Ma Yüan (1190 –1225).The Sung period is believed to have been one of the greatest periods in terms ofchinese painting.A Royal art academy was set up enabling the Emperors of the time to patronise the artists.Although there were many different styles in this period, the Sung Dynasty is best known for its landscape paintings.During thefirst period of this dynasty, the Northern Sung Dynasty, landscape painting tended towards the grandiose painting of tall cliff precipices with violent waterfalls and a tiny group of people. However this was a troubled time and the court was forced to flee towards the south and thus began the Southern Sung Period.
During this time the emperors’ painting academy produced a style of landscape known as the Ma-Hsia school. The name is derived from its two greatest artists, Ma Yuan and Hsia Kuei. Drawing on the expansiveness found in the Northern Sung tradition, they created views with less brushwork, mists became an important device to suggest landmass and to give the painting a light, ethereal quality. . Ma Yuan was often called “one-corner Ma,” as he would restrict much of his painting to a single corner of the work, leaving the rest blank. This technique enhanced the sensation of open space and suggested infinity, qualities much prized in the Ma-Hsia tradition.
Indigenous to China,Taoism is the oldest and most influencial of China;s religions.It spread to all areas ofthought and life such as, political theory, medicine, painting, calligraphy. Tao means theroad ;the way;.In the Tao Teh Ching it is described as, ;something formless yet complete that existed before heaven and earth, without sound, without substance, dependant on nothing, unchanging, all-pervading, unfailing.One may think of it as the mother of all things under heaven. It;s ..