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The chosen painting is from the Sung Dynasty 960-1279 and is by one of the periods foremost painters Ma Yan 1190 1225 The Sung period is believed to have been one of the greatest periods in terms of chinese 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 the first 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 Chinas religions It spread to all areas of thought and life such as political theory medicine painting calligraphy Tao means the road the wayIn the Tao Th 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 Its true name we do not
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