The Landscape Painting of China and Japan

By Hugo Munsterberg | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Beginnings of Chinese
Landscape Painting

THE earliest landscapes in Chinese art are found in the Han period ( 202 B.C.--220A.D.) some two thousand years ago. At that time mountains, clouds, trees, and buildings first appeared in relief carvings, textile designs, mirror backs, and inlaid metal objects, but the elements of nature were rendered in a highly symbolic and abstract way. Although similar forms must also have appeared in the paintings of the period, no examples of such works have survived, and our knowledge, at best, is fragmentary. However, the evidence clearly suggests that nothing but the most stylized and primitive kind of landscape setting appeared in these early examples of landscape painting. The main elements were no doubt highly simplified, with very geometric trees and mountains rendered so abstractly that they would hardly have been recognizable. The reason for this was not so much a lack of skill on the part of the artists, since Han painters were in many ways highly competent, even sophisticated craftsmen; it was rather that they concentrated more on figure painting, devoting their major effort to the portrayal of scenes from myths, legends, history, and filial piety, and hence were little interested in landscape painting as such.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Landscape Painting of China and Japan


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 250

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?