Wei & Jin Dynasties

During the Wei, Jin, and South and North Dynasties, the concept of art for the sake of its own intrinsic beauty gradually developed. To a certain degree, figure painting is imbued with an air of elegance and refined beauty, though some of the painting of this period tended to be unbridled and assertive. Buddhism entered China, and monasteries and temples were built in the natural beauty of secluded mountains. The Taoists thought of Lao Tzu and Zhuang Tzu already promoted the concept of reclusion, and the Confucian believed in the ultimate return to a life appreciative of the beauty of nature following one’s service to the state. All of this encouraged artists to turn their attention to the description of landscape in painting, the portrayal of mountains, streams and mists and the transcendental freedom such scenes inspired.

Early developments of Chinese Brush Painting

Wei Dynasty (220-265)

Nymph of the Lo River by Gu Kai-Zhi (c. 345-406)


The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies by Gu Kai-Zhi


Goddess (Zhang Zen-Yao)


Jin Dynasty (West Jin 265-316, East Jin 317-420)



North Dynasty (386-577), South Dynasty (420-589), and Sui Dynasty (581-618)




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