IN approaching any subject lying close to the heart of a race far removed from us in history, conventions and philosophy, and yet deeply conscious and creative within itself, all of which is more true of China than any other people we can name, we undertake to encounter and then to enter into fimdamental differences of technique and purpose. These differences of externals and of methods are so very marked that we shall surely fail unless we begin with all the sympathetic and catholic spirit we can command; we must set out to look first for the likenesses, and not permit our attention or vision to be distracted by the curiosity of the differences.
Of no human subject is all this more true than of Art, that subject of a myriad definitions, all true from some point of view, none complete — that most intimate work of man whereby he ever seeks to create and translate his inner spiritual vision, at its highest formless and soundless, and almost timeless, into some visible material and speaking picture on earth.
From a dozen points of view, Art becomes an equilibrium of contending dualities. And in this subject above all we must seek the point of unity. However various the aspects of its expression, there is ever a something constant in human thought that keeps it one with itself in all climes. Nature, Art, Civilization are, each one, a unity always. Under many vestments, imposed by historic periods or by different civilizations, the heart of man, the intimate home of his spirit, ever works out the same issues; the differences are all but accidents. Arts, civilizations, languages, natures, grow old; forms change, are outgrown, re-created, and re-bom; but Nature, Civilization, Language, Art, are dowered with eternal youth, as they externalize and eternalize themselves in this equilibriiun of contending or blending and co-operating dualities. When Art holds its true course and purpose, it awakes in the soul those higher emotions which neither time nor culture has ever greatly transformed.
The essence of Chinese art and technique is above all to be fotmd in its early landscape paintings; there did the Chinese philosophers and artists, who have through all her periods of greatness been the real teachers and leaders of the people, put their understanding of the great Nature in whose heart and company they lived and kept their inspiration. And it is directly here that all the differences of externals and of methods, by the side of ours, are most marked. But their cause lies so much in the deeper differences of purpose and of inner vision, that they cannot be appreciated, much less judged, apart from an understanding of these latter.
It is natural that very marked differences of technique will exist as a result of the use of different materials and tools: the ground, whether stone, wood, plaster, paper, linen, canvas, or silk; the colors, mineral, vegetable, oil, fresco, pastel, water-color, ink and monochrome ; the Western or the Oriental brush, the pencil, the pen. These and many others will inevitably develop great variance of handling and method, and will even, by their special adaptability to this or that, stimulate or subordinate entire schools of artistic expression. To enter into a study of Chinese painting by taking up these technical elements through which it is brought into being, would go far beyond an evening's talk; it would require whole volumes to do the matter any fair justice. The slightest possible reference to these subjects can therefore be permitted us; we must only remember that their influence is ever-present; they control the syntax of the expression. That they certainly do; but at the same time they do not hamper the expression itself, or restrict the thought and ideas behind, in the very least. Good English grammar is not good Greek; but the Greek sentence and the English are each the vehicle of the master's thought.
Two differences of technique must however be studied and understood before we can even begin to look with true appreciation at Chinese painting. One is the much mentioned and little understood matter of the perspective, and the other that of the composition. These two points are closely interwoven, both find the origin and explanation partly in historical questions of the utensils and tools, the origins of art (so far as our present data go back), and also in the position in society of the philosopher-artist-statesman (rearrange those in any order), as well as very much indeed in the philosophy of nature and the relation in which men saw and thought of themselves, in and to the great whole. One very important and influential element in the development both of the perspective and the composition was the final shape of the painting, done on a roll of silk or strip of paper, and so giving rise to two forms in this regard — the hanging strip, called by the Japanese kakemono, and the unrolling scroll, the makimono. But we should make a great mistake here again if we should regard these two standard shapes as either a restriction to the artist, or a merely blindly conventional habit. Together and separately they had a conscious and intentional relation to the fundamental purposes of the art and the underlying philosophy and concepts of nature. Philosophy, the technique of perspective and of composition, and these two unrolling shapes were definitely interblended. Paintings in the West tend to a nearly square rectangle, in either direction; but this form would have been wholely inadequate to develop what had to be expressed in Chinese art and, in somewhat less degree, in Japanese. We shall see this clearly later.
But into the matter of perspective technique we must go definitely and critically ; it is at the heart of the whole question. The common judgment, only just these past few years beginning to be countervailed, is that Chinese and Japanese painters, even the masters, were ignorant of any such thing as perspective. That is wholly false ; we are not here dealing with an absence of perspective in paintings, but with two distinct and well-developed systems of perspective, the Western and the Eastern. And the Eastern is immeasurably the deeper, fuller, more developed and expressive. To see this we must analyse the growth of Western perspective, historically and philosophically — for it comes of both; and then study the rise of the Eastern in like fashion.
The purpose of painting is to represent or suggest something seen or conceived as being in space — in three dimensions, on a flat surface, or in two dimensions. That requires a convention, of some sort; and however much we may forget the fact, it requires the appeal to both the imagination and sentiment, to fill out the picture and receive the message, even be it the simplest. Even a photograph does not show the thing as it is ; it shows just one face of the object, as seen by a single eye placed at a single point; the imagination supplies the unseen rest of the shape. Feeling and sentiment are evoked, and modified by a changed position; yet in very limited degree, for the attention is primarily focused and arrested on the physical form and its reconstruction to the " mind's eye.''
Perspective is a pictorial representation of distance, and the Western method of accomplishing this includes the reproduction to the eye of two incidental effects produced upon the eye by an object or objects at receding distances : the incident of increasing apparent smallness, and of the shadows that mark the sides of an object played upon by light falling from a single point. The distant object is not really smaller; the side of the object away from the light is not really darker ; those are the sense impressions on the eye adopted as our conventional indications of " distance " and the " round." While the East, having other ideas and purposes in its art, has also other methods as we shall see.
Two elements entered historically into the growth of Western perspective methods, and each has grown on and continued to bind it, down to our present time. European perspective became definitely established in the fifteenth century on the revived basis of Greek geometrical science, and at the same time under the parallel influence of Greek sculpture, with its laws of harmonic form, and its supreme devotion to the human form, as such, as the paragon of beauty and proportion. All this has philosophy, the position of Man in nature, and even religion intimately interwoven. And its self-set goal is the physical world of form and sensuous perception.
From the renascent physical science of the day, and since, came and stayed on the tendency to photographic external accuracy; the eye and thought was tied to the physical form and constitution, and its details in every sense. In the effort to develop the representation along these lines, painting drew from sculpture its concepts of the " round " and the use of shadows to that end, only. From geometrical science Europe derived its " monocular " perspective, of a physical
object portrayed on a flat surface as seen by a single eye from a single point in space.
And then further, as art in Europe developed, the vigorous physical realism, and perhaps we might say — daily democracy, of the North, united with the Renaissance in the South, into an effort which we have glorified and justified, to ourselves, by calling it " seeing life as it is." Some paragraphs by a recent English writer, one of the very few so far that have justly entered into appreciation of the inspiration that underlies Chinese and Far Eastern art in general, are so aptly critical of this aa to be worth our quoting. The sympathetic literature of this subject in the West is still in its earliest years, which only increases our obligation to the few who have led it : Rafael Petrucci, Laurence Binyon and Ernest FenoUosa.
Realism in the North; in the South, scientific curiosity. In painters like Paolo Ucello we find the struggle to master perspective overshadowing the purely artistic quest for beauty, just as in our own time an intense interest in scientific discoveries about the nature of light has led a whole school of landscape to sacrifice fundamental qualities of design in a passionate endeavor to realize on canvas the vibration of sunlight.
It is the besetting vice of our Western life as a whole, so complex and entangled in materials, that we do not see things clearly; we are always mixing issues and confounding ends with means. We are so immersed in getting the means for enjoying life that we quite forget how to enjoy it, and what is called success is, oftener than not, defeat. So too, in current criticism of painting, we find it commonly asstmied that an advance in science is of itself an advance in art; as if correct anatomy, a thorough knowledge of perspective, or a stringent application of optical laws were of the slightest value to art except as aids to the effective realization of an imaginative idea.
The painting of Asia limits itself severely. It leaves to sculpture and to architecture the effects proper to those arts. But it has not remained merely decorative; it is fully as mature as art, as is our own.
The very ease with which relief can be represented by shadows, as with us, has taken away from our painters the necessity for this concentration, and weakened their sense for expressive line.
Now we shall not understand any art if we do not constantly remember that it has to work always by and through conventions, methods and technique. This is equally true of West and of East. And just as we have already declared Art to be the equilibrium of contending dualities, whether those of human nature, of effort and environment, of sentiment and intelligence — so also has every master had to find the line of balance (the master finds the balance, where the
unskilled only can compromise) between the concept and the form, between the dominating essence, the message, and the limiting technique. Photography in art is not Art ; and by sheer force the western painters were driven out of strict physical perspective toward a " perspective of idea or of sentiment." No object is seen truly from one single point in space; each man has to use his two eyes to judge mere distances alone. And so while Western art is based on the monocular theory of directed vision, it is the distinguishing mark of the true master that he more or less imperceptibly modifies his work to something like binocular viewing. And there is even a painting by Rubens in which the shadows are cast from two distinct directions. But the limitations on free action here are very great; our canons are those of scientific physical accuracy, and anything more than a very subtle adjustment becomes an impossible falsity.
We all know how strong has been the urge in later years towards breaking away from this tendency to live in the external in Art, to follow a tritmiphant Science and ask of a picture first of all perfection in correct portrayal. The difficulties were enormous ; but much of the work of the best Impressionist school, frankly rejecting the sculptural and geometrical traditions, and seeking to suggest the service and the experience lying within the subject, was a distinct gain to Western life. The latest schools of Futurism, Vorticism and the like, as well as some much heralded sculpture, seem also to represent a reaction against the monocular limitations, offering a phantasmagoria of broken points of view; they fail because they are wholly materialist.
Perspective and composition grew in China from different historical origins. At its birth, so far as our records yet show us, there was still in use on the bas-reliefs the method of superposition of registers to give different planes of action. These bas-reliefs were also panoramic in their story; we see them in the Han sculptures of the Fourth century in China, and also their parallels, in a measure, both in Chaldaea and Egypt. It is the supreme guerdon of Chinese painting that out of this non-artistic structure it developed the exquisite technique of combined composition and perspective afforded us by the canons of the kakemono and makimono art. In both directions the different sections of the panorama, upwards or sideways, were blended into one perfect unity; reaching from Heaven to Earth and Man, with one life shining through and binding all together into a harmonic relation that is the very essence of religion — as above, so below ; or else unrolling the action of Nature herself before our eyes in a succession of experiences to the soul.
But the differences we are dealing with are far more than historical and external; they are differences of method and purpose, conscious and intentional. We have not just to do with brushes and surfaces, but with a complete and whole philosophy of life and nature.
Ch'uen asked of Ch'eng-tscu, Can one obtain the Tao, to have it for oneself?
Your own body is not yours, how then can be the Tao?.
If my body is not mine, whose is it?
It is the image reflected from above. Your life is not your own possession, it is the harmony delegated by above. Your individuality is not your own possession, it is the adaptability delegated irom above. You move, but know not how. You dwell, but know not why. You taste the savor, but know not the cause. These are the operations of the laws of Heaven. How then can one possess Tao for himself? . . . The Present is the Infinite on the march, the sphere of what is relative. Relativity implies adjustment, and that adjustment is Art
We began the subject by an emphasis upon the eternal unity of the htunan heart in every age and race; the essential unity too of Art and all its varied technique as the expressive means, bridging the inner and outer worlds, the thought and form. Were it not for this unity we might stand with unseeing eyes before this art of the Far East, for its point of view and ours are hemispheres apart. When the man of the East looks out upon things, he always looks at and for the problem of existence — mountain, earth, water, cloud and sky, plant, animal or insect, and himself; all are to him but a part of that problem. But in the West we do not even know whether there be any such thing as the problem of existence — ^the very words only suggest the bread-andbutter question to us. To the West, God is either separate quite from nature, or non-existent ; the East sees Nature as the garment woven by the divine for itself, and man a conscious and immortal part of that, if he will. The philosophy of the East is impersonal, and Nature is man's friend. That of the West is individualistic and personal, and finds its last word in a cosmic theory of the " survival of the fittest " — in self-assertion and war. No wonder that we find the human form, and even the naked form the highest effort of Western art, and called "the form divine''; and Greek sculpture, in the round, the historical antetype of all that has been attempted since; while the supreme end of Chinese painting is the intimate study and contemplation of Nature, and the interpretation of her inner flow and message. The impress and interweaving of this philosophy with the whole of our subject is so full that we must let it develop out of the description and study of the pictures we must now come to viewing. But there is first another paragraph, written by Laurence Binyon whom we quoted once before, in relation to architecture in the East, which is so apt to our present point that I wish to read it here as an introduction to the real business of the evening — the reproductions of typical masterpieces in China, from the Fourth century and on.
He says :
so far as I understand the architecture of Japan, for instance, I would say that it was conceived in a different spirit from our own ; that a building was regarded less in itself than as a fusion of man's handiwork into Nature, the whole surroundings of the scene taking part, and perhaps the chief part, of the architect's conception.
This difference is rooted in philosophy of life, in mental habit and character. An opposition between man and Nature has been ingrained in Western thought . . . only very slowly and unwillingly has the man of the West taken trouble to consider the non-human life around him, and to consider it as a life lived for its own sake : for centuries he has heeded it only in so far as it has opposed his will or ministered to his needs and appetites. But in China and Japan, as in India, we find no barrier set up between the life of man and the life of the rest of God's creatures. The continuity of the universe, the perpetual stream of change through its matter, are accepted as things of Nature, felt in the heart and not merely learned as the conclusions of delving science. In the East, not the glory of the naked human form ; not the proud and conscious assertion of human personality ; but, instead of all these, all thoughts that lead us out from ourselves into the universal life, hints of the infinite, whispers from secret sources -* mountains, waters, mists, flowering trees, whatever tells of powers and presences mightier than ourselves.
We are about to enter an art lasting with full vigor for more than a millennium, at least from Ku K'ai-chih in the Fourth century to Mu Hsi in the Sixteenth. But it is also the flower of a civilization whose unity and course we can trace with historical precision for another twelve hundred years before Ku K'ai-chih, and then with substantial clearness and meaning for another fourteen hundred years back of that, before we reach the more or less legendary age. The Chinese have always been great annalists, and the rights of almost unlimited independent thought, free speech and criticism even of the government have always (with rare interruptions) been recognized prerogatives of the literati ; the books are full of stories of philosophers like Chang Chih-ho, refusing to take office under a government they disapproved, and retiring to the mountains. The result has been a definiteness and certainty in their history which is far beyond that of any Western nation. The reliability of Chinese records two and a half millenniums ago has come to be now accepted by all the best Western students ; and it may help us to appreciate this if we recall that though Confucius was born 551 b. c, his lineal descendant in the direct line still enjoys the one hereditary dukedom in China, granted only to the line of the sage.
Let us therefore here point a few dates as landmarks for our study. We can fix the line between the " marvelous " (which certainly means history written in parable and symbol), with the beginning of the Hia dynasty and the emperors Yao, Shun and Yu, beginning about 2200 b. c, a millenniimi and a half before the reputed first Greek Olympiad, and the story of Romulus and Remus. The great Chao dynasty, the Confucian model whose principles are still a vital thread in China, began about 1150 b. c; specific dates are recognized as being approximately close, by a substantial correlation of annals, and eclipse and other astronomical records, down to 842 b. c, after which a complete agreement exists, and (to quote Bushell) " Chinese dates can be accepted with entire confidence."
About this time also begins our extant and definite art tradition, as distinct from the philosophical and national principles whose controlling influence we will trace. But with the magnificent archaic ceremonial bronzes from the Chao period we find ourselves on solid artistic ground of a very high order, in both the form and decoration. In 604 Lao-tseu, the founder of Taoism, was bom; in 551 Confucius — fifty years before Perikles. The Chao dynasty ended in 246; Ts'in Che Huang-ti attempted in 221 to destroy all books which served as supports of the critical literati, and ordained that his descendants should reign tmtil the ten-thousandth generation ; his son, succeeding in 209, was killed by a eunuch of the palace in 207, and his infant grandson in 206 was replaced by the great Han dynasty, from which the Chinese have ever since called themselves the " sons of Han."
Under this dynasty trade routes were opened to the West, to Persia and Rome, to Khotan and Turkestan, to India and Cochin China. The interplay of the oldest Chinese philosophy of nature, of its vivified spiritual Taoism, and practical harmonizing Confucianism, we will see later in our study of the paintings themselves. And meanwhile into this realm of thought and feeling and aspiration there was added Buddhism, in 67 a. d. But this too, as we shall see, came not to destroy but to strengthen and fill out. The year 67 is the official date of its introduction, at the invitation of the emperor Ming-ti; but it was not imtil after the return of Hiuen Tsang from his great pilgrimage that it came to its full influence. The Han d)masty closed in 220, after which followed about four centuries of readjustment and inner ferment, politically ; but that the nation was alive in the keenest sense is seen from the fact that the great artist Ku K'ai-chih belongs to the Fourth century, and in the Fifth we find fully established the six great canons of Hsieh Ho. Of actual paintings remaining from these centuries we have almost none; but canons never come into being until after a long and active period of vital growth, and the whole philosophy of Chinese art is summed up in these Six Canons; the ideals tiiey then crystallized must have inspired whole generations of artists before them.
With the great T'ang era, 618 to 905, the influence of Buddhism had reached its full, and the three centuries are marked by extreme vigor, and by the definite development of the so-called Northern and Southern Schools. To give this period some illustration to aid our apprehension of its place, we might compare it to the Chaucerian period of English ; and then we can think of the equally great Sung period, from 960 to 1280, as comparable in terms to an Elizabethan era, save that in each case we must measure the sustained strength of the periods not by one life or reign, but by the full life of the dynasty, three hundred years.
The Sungs were succeeded by the Mongols, the Yuan dynasty; its meaning for art being a sort of accentuation of the Northern School, plus a meticulous refinement corresponding to a withdrawal from the grander side of nature, to greater luxury of living. This latter element became still more pronounced with the return of the ultra-Chinese Ming dynasty, in 1368, after barely eighty-eight years of Mongol rule. The Ming dynasty lasted until the coming of the Manchus in 1644; but we will close our subject for the evening with the Fifteenth century, the first hundred years of the Mings. Many good paintings were produced even after this time; but as a whole the vigor and purity of the style we have followed for 1200 years from Ku K'ai-chih ceases with this time. Yet not without great masters to close the term; we will see some of Mu Hsi's pictures for ourselves, and his contemporary Lu Fu is referred to by M. Rafael Petrucci as " equal to the greatest masters of Simple.
There are no known paintings extant earlier than the few we have of Ku K'ai-chih's; prior to that we must rely on literary evidences, on some bronzes and sculptures. According to the native historians, painting and calligraphy began 2700 b. c. Portraiture is definitely mentioned in the Fourteenth century b. c, references to it multiply and it must have been greatly cultivated. In early Han days other kinds of painting are known to have been common, and in the Third century of our era we have the name of one Wei Hsieh, as painter of " Taoist and Buddhist subjects."
In the Third century a certain Chang Hua wrote a treatise of "Admonitions of the Instructress of the Palace.'* This Ku K'ai-chih illustrated in a roll now in the British Musetmi. The beginning is lost, and the silk has been cared for and repaired with the utmost care. It bears many seals, including that of the great artist-emperor Huei Tsong in the Eleventh century, and the emperor Ch'ien Limg in 1746, with a note by the latter 's own hands, proclaiming it the best of the painter's remaining " four works.'* It has the seal of the imperial collection in the Eleventh century; and in the published catalog of that collection we find it listed, tmder the above title, the same as the roll itself now bears on its outside.
It is hardly believable, though only the fact, that we know more of Ku K'ai-chih's personality, sayings, paintings and life than of many painters of our own past century. We could spend our whole evening as we go through our pictures, either with the most interesting even though technical study of the various " points " of style and execution, or with delightful causerie about the painters and their times and subject. But all such we must forgo, save for just enough of this to follow the course of our subject. And since we can only look at the pictures themselves in photographic and mostly monochrome reproductions, I will prefer occasionally to allow others who have described them from direct viewing of the originals, pass on to us the inspiration received, in their own words. And so first of Ku K'ai-chih Mr. Laurence Binyon says that he
breathed an atmosphere of an age of civilized grace, of leisured tfiought, of refined culture. He deals in critical ideas. There is a modem tone in his comments on art. . . . There is an undercurrent of humor and playfulness perceptible in the work, revealing something of the painter*s personality. It was said of him that he was supreme in poetry, supreme in painting, and supreme in foolishness. We may conceive of him as an original nature, careless of the world's opinion, going his own way and rather enjoying the bewilderment of ordinary people at his behavior. He was noted for his way of eating sugar-cane: he began at the wrong end, and entered, as he expressed it, gradually into Paradise. He is said to have been a believer in magic.
He was especially famed for the spirituality and expressiveness of his portraits. Expression, not merely likeness, was what he aimed at. He remarked himself on the difficulty in portraiture of imparting to his subjects the air that each should have — in short, of revealing personality. The bloom and soft modeling of a young girl's face appealed to him less than features showing character and experience. " Painting a pretty girl is like carving in silver," he said ; " it is no use trying to get a likeness here by elaboration ; one must trust to a touch here and a stroke there to suggest the essence of her beauty." When he painted a certain noble character, he set him in a background of " lofty peaks and deep ravines," to harmonize with the lofty, great nature of the man.
Although written of Ku K'ai-chih, we can take the foregoing as equally indicative of every painter and every painting of the master schools throughout the whole period of Chinese art. Take these personal sentences, put with them the Six Canons of Hsieh Ho in the following century, understand them both, sympathetically; and with a few specific notations here and there, on points of line or stroke, contrast and tonality of ink or color, we are prepared to follow with that appreciative comprehension which will at least bring us in touch with the inspiration of that message which these Masters have sought to transmit.
These Six Canons, model for all who followed, are:
Rhythmic vitality — the life-movement of the spirit through the rhythm of things.
Organic structure — the creative spirit incarnating itself in a pictorial conception.
Conformity with nature. (We must understand these words in the Chinese sense: Nature is the ever-flowing, ever-producing, ever-manifesting life about and in us; really more the inner world than the mere external world of forms. And Conformity means — conformity, not just photographic accuracy, as we would be apt at first to interpret it according to Western objects in art.)
Appropriate coloring. (Here a similar note as before: the coloring must of course not be false, it must be real, true ; but also it is the appropriate which is the true; the type and essence must be grasped from within, as a matter of the mind and not merely of the eye. We can see that coloring might be externally accurate, and yet be really false ; to see and give this is the mission of the art.)
Arrangement — which again means not merely sensuously beautiful arrangement, but one that recognizes the ever-living mission of painting to tell that Nature provides the experiences of the soul, and that the Superior World, the Inner Divine Meaning, is the inspiration and the Model of the other.
Transmission of classic models. (This Canon proves a long previous chain and inheritance of artistic tradition, the antetype of what we have left.)
The T'ang period, and indeed the vsrhole of Chinese art and artphilosophy, finds its fullest expression and flower in three great artists, at the beginning of the Eighth century, Wu Tao-tseu, Wang Wei and Li Ssu-hsiin, all contemporary, although the latter was bom some fifty years the earlier. Li Ssu-hsiin is much less essentially Chinese than the others, and his influence has been much less. Wang Wei was the founder of the Southern School, a creative artist of supreme ability, only surpassed by the almost incredible genius of Wu Tao• tseu; the latter stands by universal recognition not only of his countrymen of all periods since, but of the Japanese and Western critics as well, as being to Far Eastern art as Shakespeare to English drama, Dante to Italian literature. If I remember rightly, FenoUosa was inclined to call him the greatest artist of all time, ancient or modem, East or West. The influence of his study was so potent upon our already quoted Laurence Binyon that I must tell it here again, in the latter's own words.
Alas! of all the mighty works of Wu Tao-tzu none is known certainly to survive.* Once, in a dream I myself beheld them all, but awoke with the memory of them faded in a confusion of gorgeous color, all except one, which remained with me, strangely distinct. A goddess-like form was standing between two pillars of the mountains, not less tall herself. I remember the beauty of the drawing of her hands, as their touch lingered on either stunmit; for her arms were extended, and between them, as her head bent forward, the deep mass of her hair was slowly slipping to her breast, half-hiding the one side of her face, which gazed downward. At her feet was a mist, hung above dim woods, and from human dwellings unseen the smoke rose faintly. The whole painting was of a rare translucent, glaucous tone.
Wu Tao-tzu's fertility of imagination and his fiery swiftness of execution
* Complete certainty is, in truth, not possible, so universal was the genius of successive artists painting all " in the style of the Master," and caring more for the work than to have their own name remembered — in the last word, the final mark of the true artist The balance of opinion among connoisseurs does however accept a small number of existing paintings as due to Wu Tao-tseu's own brush. Three of these are shown herewith.
alike astounded his contemporaries. He is said to have painted over three hundred frescoes on the walls of temples alone. He was prodigal of various detail, but what chiefly impressed spectators was the overpowering reality of his creations. We cannot doubt that he possessed the T'ang ideal of the union of calligraphy with painting in an extraordinary degree. But though his calligraphic mastery was so wonderful, it was his imaginative realism and his tremendous powers of conception that made him supreme.
In the time of the Twangs, then, the deep-rooted philosophy of Nature, the ever-flowing robe and manif ester of the inner divine worlds ; the mysticism and conquering, shining intelligence of the Tao; the faith and devotion and divine compassion of Buddhism — all came to their full flower in a time of national vitality almost beyond comparison in known history. The Northern and Southern Schools took on their definite shape ; these two schools were less geographical than elemental. The scenery of the south is the more mountainous and in itself much grander than the plains of the north; that a painter was of one or the other school was not a matter of his home or birth, but his style; and some indeed painted in either at will. So that the Northern School came to stand for fuller coloring, sterner and stronger compositions and sharper outline; the paintings were less mystical and airy. Mountain and nature greatness were there equally with the paintings of the South, but the greatness was closer, more immediately dominating; it was less grandiose and universal — less cosmic. These elements all appear in the work shown by Li Ssu-hstin, born in 651, and the founder of the School.
Of the paintings of Wang Wei quite a number have survived. In a Japanese temple is a painting at least in his style, said to have been brought over by Kobo-Daishi. The British Museum has a roll, seventeen feet long, dated in 1309, by Chao Meng-fu, so in the style of Wang Wei as to give us the key to his technique. It is a continuous landscape, one scene melting into the next, just as Nature imroUs experiences for the soul which can see; and on the ground of the warm brown silk pass the half-clear, half-misty blues and greens which are Wang Wei's special introduction.
Another Chao Meng-fu, which we show here, not less beautiful nor less illustrative of Wang Wei's character, was sent by the late Empress Dowager to M. fimile Guimet in acknowledgement of a special courtesy on the latter's part — returning to her some personally prized treasures looted from Pekin, and later bought by him in Europe.
Wang Wei was an idealist; he has left us a treatise on perspective which shows itself to have been based on the closest observation of natural appearances, weather, and the shifting moods of nature. We have already seen how from the original historical principle of superposed planes and the panoramic rather than the single point of view, Eastern perspective from the very beginning was free from the geometric limitations of Greek traditions. To this Wang Wei developed and added tonality as the key and mark of distance, instead of artificially increasing smallness. In other words, the perspective is aerial, or atmospheric. It is just as true that objects in the distance grow more misty and softly defined, as it is that they appear to grow smaller. And the effect of this on the freedom given the artist is almost unlimited.
Wang Wei developed this method mainly by a mineral color of his own, known as luo tsHng, whose shades go from malachite green to lapis-lazuli. As one comes toward the foreground the distant blues become through the layers of air the greens of the leaves and plants. And then by the addition of qualities which Chinese artists have ever cultivated as a prime element of technique, and which we may roughly describe as the variation from richness to mistiness or to clearness in the color as laid on, the whole gamut of depth and power lay imder the artist's hand. It is due to the development of this, and also to the greater adaptability of the Eastern materials (that is, not only the pigments but the silk or paper grounds) that monochrome has gone so much further in the East than in the West. Tonality and not formality became the master power ; and of Li-Long mien, who was to the later Simg period what Wu Tao-tseu was to the T'ang, we are told that he never painted in color save when copying earlier works.
As we look at the landscapes in which these qualities have been put by these master hands, the impression received is often so beautiful that it hurts; it appeals to the contemplative spirit; and yet it does this in moods of keenest, most poignant sensitiveness — never in sensuous self-submersion. The art rests more in the power of a hint to the imagination than in the satiety of completed forms. It brings us apparitions of beauty or power from the unknown; and it behooves us to be present. The suggestiveness and allusions are unparalleled, yet there is never any explicit factitious symbolism or allegory added in it. It inspires the one who looks, and neither narcotizes by sense touch, nor makes appeal to the curiosity.
We must remember that it is rhythm that holds the paramount place ; not, be it observed, that imitation of nature which the general instinct of the Western races makes the root-concern of art. In this theory, every work of art is thought of as an incarnation of the genius of rhythm, manifesting the living spirit of things with a clearer beauty and intenser power than the gross impediments of complex matter allow to be transmitted to our senses in the visible world around us. A picture is conceived as a sort of apparition from a more real world of essential life. The object of art is not the outer representation, the seeming, but the informing spirit — we might say, the flaming pearl for which the mounting dragons rise.
Before passing on to Wu Tao-tseu and his influence on the later Simg period, we must note a piece of T'ang portrait painting, by Teng Chang-yeu of the Ninth century. Lu Tong-pin, the subject, was patriarch, master, legislator ; he lived at the end of the Eighth century. In the first of these two portraits, that by Teng Chang-yeu, we see him in ordinary, personal human guise. Surely who could ask to go down to posterity showing more of dignity and grace than here ! And then in the second painting, evidently derived from the former, and by an anonymous artist of the Fourteenth century, we see the legislator in his immortal form, less close and personal; more remote in himself, he seems to stand less a mover among men than a Helper of them at their need. That such was the artist's intent is shown by the long staff, the gourd holding the water of immortality, the magical fan hanging at his wrist. To the unseeing and imknowing these marks might pass telling nothing; the figure is a natural one.
As one looks at these two portraits one is moved to compare the Far Eastern ideal of constant life and action with that of the West. In the West we think that an ideal ceases to be such when it is put into realization; we even make an apothegm of that; but it is a heresy born of the thought of the desire-principle seeking for gratification, which ever dies and fails in the very moment of each successive attainment. But in the East the ideal ever exists behind ; it comes out from Nature's heart only when we call it and put it into constant, flowing vital action, into very realization. Only the ideal in practice remains ever young, and when we cease to keep it in constant action, the background of what we do, it retires away to sleep ; — not to final death, for it is in itself real, and only waits our call to life again.
In the same way, we seek in the West an objective completeness as the goal in art; but in that very effort art eludes us; for it lies in the revelation and not in the objective completeness, and is ever flowing and passes on.
Of Wu Tao-tseu, the supreme T'ang master, we have already spoken. He was bom just a few years after Wang Wei, about the year 700, near the capital Lo-Yang. Through all Chinese painting history we find recurring the calligraphic motive ; purity and strength of line were held of first importance, and included stroke, value and fluidity of tone. All these qualities distinguish in a pre-eminent degree the work of the three great leaders, Ku K'ai-chih first, then Wu Tao-tseu in the T'ang, and lastly Li Long-mien in the Sung era. It was particularly striven for by all T'ang artists, and is again related to the strict recognition of the fact that a painting is by necessity on a flat surface, and so leaves to sculpture and architecture their own technique exclusively. Shadows and the " round '* pertain to art in three dimensions, and the technique of their representation never is admitted to confuse the method here.
We must constantly remember that we have to do with a thoroughly conscious and true art; the more we study it we will find that its underlying philosophy is both living and deep, and that it is consistently and logically followed out. In the equilibrium of forces no misfitting directions are admitted; the composition grows as from a musical motif subject to all the special laws of the composition or method chosen for its expression. Indeed, a modern Italian critic, connoisseur of this art as much as of that of his native country, has called these unrolling landscapes, such as the Chao Meng-fu we have shown, comparable to nothing so much as the sonatas of Beethoven.
Still another consequence of trueness to this calligraphic and plane surface technique, will be noted later in looking at a Twelfth-century painting by Ma Yiian. And to Wu Tao-tseu we will also return in coming to the specific Buddhist element, later.
As immediately following Ku K'ai-chih there came the Six Canons of Hsieh Ho, introducing the art of T'ang — so we have after Wu Tao-tseu the Injunctions of Kuo Hsi, to set the goal for Sung. Said he : " Penetrate the secrets of nature with wisdom ; mark the differences between the evenings or mornings, and as they are in the four seasons: why in spring the mountains seem to smile, in summer to melt and blend with blues and greens, in autumn to be clear as a drop
of honey, and in winter wrap themselves in sleep. Cultivate a complete and universal spirit. Observe largely and comprehensively. Disengage the essential; avoid the trivial. Study airy phenomena, and the effects of gradual distance."
Of mountains Jao Tseu-jan also tells us, that they should have a breath and pulse as they were living beings, and not dead things. Seen in the light of this devotion, the pair of Spring and Summer landscapes here shown, by Wu Tao-tseu, take on a new meaning, and begin to give us the painter's message.
The great flower of Sung began with the middle of the Tenth century; the dynasty lasted from 960 to 1280. Of its capital, Hangchao, Marco Polo tells us that it had 12,000 stone bridges; the lake inside the city was thirty miles in extent, with palaces at the use of citizens to give feasts or other entertainment ; there were three hundred public hot baths. And so on, and on. The age had come to its crown ; Sung art is built upon tones and the mastery of them ; as its subjects were whatever is august and elemental, whether in peace or storm. Just as a touch of the types which painters and poets alike aim to express, we are told of the Eight Views of Hsiao and Hsiang:
The evening bell from a distant temple;
Sunset glow at a fishing village;
Fine weather after storm at a lonely mountain town;
Homeward bound boats off a distant coast;
The autumn moon over Lake Tung-t'ing;
Wild geese alighting on a sandy plain ;
Night rain on the rivers Hsiao and Hsiang;
Evening snow on the hills.
As showing two masterpieces of this art, we will take first a painting by Mi Fu, of " Cloudy Mountains in Summer," and then a " Winter," by the great artist-emperor Huei Tsong. The Mi Fu is in the collection of the Marquis Kuroda, in Tokyo; by some critics it has been attributed to Kao Jan-hui, of the Yiian period in the Thirteenth century. If this be so, it only marks the wonderful vitality of the tradition.
Of the second painting, by the emperor, one must speak by association, and more fully. For in the West the suggestion of a picture, its appeal, is always to something personal to the beholder ; an autumn picture makes us think of particular past autumns we remember; an evening bell, or the grace and sweetness of a flower, arouse our memories. If there are allegories, they are those we have previously associated with the subject — not what we recognize as the out-springing life. The mysticism, when we permit any, is whatever of mysticism (usually to be read mere dreaminess) there is in our own make-up, for the painting to arouse. We have a particular story in mind, and so paint a picture around it.
But in the East art seeks to interpret the life essence, the motion, the inspiration that lies within and behind the subject. In the West we try to paint as much as we can of the external forms ; but in the East one tries to paint as little, that their very rhythm might pass untrammeled or bound, from line or airy depth to eye and soul. A Western painting suggests the experiences of the painter or the beholder, and we make it to do that — even the "Angelus" of Millet; but the Eastern painting reveals the experiences of nature, and it is made for that. If the Western is a mirror before the working eye or mind of man, the Eastern is an unbacked transparent lens of crystal set in a frame, through which to look into the working heart of Nature on the other side.
We spoke before of the calligraphic element. The beauty and sweep of line and stroke required for writing, is a constant element in painting; at times it is dominant, again sub-dominant, again evanescent and unseen ; but its force and power is always there potentially.
In this connexion it is that we find the painter nearly always the litterateur, the poet. He is the one who, when writing the characters, causes that most marvelous of all artistic tools, the Chinese brush, to dance on the paper, so that the character which arises has attitude, a physiognomy, motion, life ; a soul. And all these elements, put into the writing in intimate touch with a directing inspiration, speak again to every later looker or reader. There is nothing whatever like it or possible with western modes of writing. The Chinese character, like all hieroglyphic writing, speaks with its own soul directly to mind and soul. Each written word-character is in itself on the paper an organic thing, instead of a mere concourse of letters to which the meaning is attached. And when written by one master or another, it is in each instance a separate and speaking vital creation. It is designed, not just written.
You ask me whether this is not far-fetched; I answer that all Chinese litterateurs have and do actually apprehend and enjoy these qualities in every respect as fully as we apprehend the messages that are sent by our artists into and out of our own poetry, pictures and music. And all three of those impulses and impressions, moreover, are combined both in Chinese writing and in Chinese painting. In this light let us look at this winter picture by the artist-emperor.
Another picture by the emperor is also worth including, since it represents his predecessor, Ming Huang, whose reign was the climax of the T'angs. We see him seated on a dais, instructing his son ; later in his reign he wasted the shower of beauty that had descended upon the time with the coming of T'ai Tsong, of Hiuen Tsang and his Buddhist devotion and rentmciation, of impulses from Greece, and Persia and India, of Tientai and Zen ; it is told of him that he hung tiny golden bells on his favorite plants to frighten the birds that would harm them; that he would have his peonies watered by a fair maiden in rich attire, but the winter plum by a " pale, slender monk." There are many screens by Yeitoku in this country, both in the Boston Museum and in Mr. Freer's collection, of scenes of his court and its poetic revels under the presidency of the lovely and ill-fated Yang Kuei-fei. China has not always succeeded, any more than other nations ; but the story only tells again how the painters who have been so great philosophers, have been her teachers and the keepers of her soul. Ming Huang reigned in the time of Wu Tao-tseu; and Chinese art tradition lived vital and effective another seven centuries; and may even now be only asleep.
One more landscape now from the Sung era, a '' Villa and Pine Tree," by Ma Yiian of the Twelfth century, selected not only for its own beauty, but also as a hardly surpassable example of another phase of the art we are studying. It is the one already referred to in speaking of the constant trueness to type and motive, controlling every branch of the technique.
.Contrast of light and shade is one of the great tests of mastery in every art. With us in the West it is developed by means of the shadows incidental to our methods of perspective and representation of the " round." It could not exist but for our admission of the sculptural element, the "three-dimensional," into our plane surface pictures. Chiaroscuro, our name for this quality, is thus tied to these conditions of shadow just as our form and distance is to monocular perspective; and this however much the master artist may draw on color combinations to help. The correspondence of chiaroscuro in Eastern art is a " light-dark " balance which does not derive at all from shadow, but depends solely on the requirements of harmony and rhythm. When we remember that the art is always " a recognized representation on a flat surface '' ; the perspective aerial instead of geometric ; the brush work always potentially at least calligraphic — bearing the rhythm of life and form in the stroke instead of the rounded flesh; as well as the great evolution of monochrome as a result of the attained fluidity or richness of the flat color — even brush-used ink, a thing hardly attempted in the West: — remembering all this, with many other harmonic qualities sought in Eastern composition, we will see the necessity for using a different term. This FenoUosa recognized, and so has given us the Japanese term notan. And so with this preface, we will let him also describe for us Ma Yiian's original in a way the photographic reproduction cannot possibly do.
Ma Yuan loved to paint the beautiful villas that surrounded the western lake, or were set like gems into the valleys that ran back into the mountains. A onestorey pavilion, open at the sides, but screenable by roll-up bamboo curtains, and edged with an irregular stone facing that dips into the waters of a river or lake. Behind a finely carved railing sits a Chinese gentleman with a roundbodied lute in his hand. We can trace the tiled floor and the solid cylindrical columns of the pavilion far back through the opening. There are beautiful tones of soft mauve and yellow in the hanging decorations. The roofs are beautifully tiled and are without that Tartar exaggeration in curve which modem Chinese drawing gives. Water-worn rocks painted in fine crisp outline, not unlike those of the Li-long-min landscape, edge the pond. Graceful sprays of bamboo cut springing curves across the roof-lines, and soft trees, of the oak or beech order, are spotted out into the mist at the back.
But the finest thing in the picture, and the most salient, is the large green pine tree — greens and soft browns — that rises from the foreground and springs high up in the air over the roofs, with the spirally resisting and tapering force of a rocket. Here individual pine needles are drawn, but so softly that you can hardly see them without a special focus. The counterpoint of the crossing pine and bamboo lines is magnificent; we cannot help recalling the Sung gentleman's idea of manliness, ''firm as a pine, yet pliant as a willow.^' Here both trees, while ccmtrasting, partake each of the quality of the other. The bamboo, like a great lady, has a gentler quality that will be found stronger when it comes to emergencies. The pine, though tough in fiber, as beseems a statesman's ability, has a perfect grace of finish in accordance with lovely manners.
These now bring our list of landscapes to an end for the evening, save one later to show the change and loss of power as the period came to its end under the Mongols in the Thirteenth century. Very many others might have been drawn upon as models of poetry, and grace, and the love of nature and flowers and birds: of a singing tone of beauty in everything that lives. Such might have been a landscape by Hsia Kuei, of the Thirteenth century —
Where my pathway came to an end
By the rising waters covered, I sat me down to watch the shapes
In the mist that over it hovered.
Again we might lie awake with Wang An-shih, when —
It is midnight; all is silent in the house; the water-clock has stopped. But I am unable to sleep because of the beauty of the trembling shapes of the spring flowers, thrown by the moon on the blind.
That is not Shelley's arrowy odors darting through the brain; it is far removed from the narcotic glutting of sorrow
On the rainbow of the salt sand-wave. Or on the wealth of globed peonies.
We might find indeed
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; such indeed we will surely find, but not the sensuous delight conveyed in the lines that tell of
violets dim. But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes Or Cytherea's breath.
There we hear the Greek note, the personal element of human form worship.
Yet this does not mean that the Chinese painter could not or did not paint the himian form with refinement and a mastery of conception and expression equal to anything the West has to show. We have already seen two examples of this in the portraits of Lu Tong-pin; we will close our study of the Stmg era by four others, whose exquisite htmianity and dignity and sweetness would be hard to equal, much less surpass.
With our Western htmianistic methods and tendencies, these pictures speak to us much more directly than the landscapes, to whose principles and philosophy we are so little used. Li Long-mien was to Sung what Wu Tao-tseu was to T'ang: an inheritor of the latter's tradition, he was a supreme master of line, and of this portrait by him of the Great Yuima one feels like saying once and for all that it is perhaps the greatest portrait ever painted by any artist. Criticise it one cannot. The Chinese artist is above all an impressionist. In the painting of living beings he demands first movement ; just as in landscapes, space. If the persons in a picture are in repose, the sweep of their garments, the folds themselves indicate that the wearers are ready for action; that they have but just come to a rest; that they are about to move off. It is told of one painter that he never posed a subject for a picture; if a young girl, he caused her to dance. And towards this effect every line of drapery and surrounding rock will conspire, either by force of repetition or of contrast. The hermit sage in contemplation in a mountain retreat; the warrior in action; birds that are winged creatures rejoicing in their flight; flowers that are sensitive blossoms tmfolding on pliant up-growing stems; the tiger, an embodied force, boundless in capacity for spring and fury: each is a force which in one mood or another nature loves.
And of Li Long-mien it was said that he had penetrated the heart of Nature, and his soul put itself in communion with all things, while his spirit comprehended the mysteries and all the ruses of the goddess.
The " Children at Play," by Su Han-chen, and the two paintings of " Ladies in a Palace," by Lin Sung-nein, both of the Thirteenth century, need no artistic criticism to tell their stories. The young girls, so evidently " discussing clothes," the child at play in the water tub, and the sweet and self-reliant womanliness of the guardian of the home — the nation's shrine — are all inimitably perfect.
Our subject for the evening draws to a close with the consideration of one other great element which has from the first been one of the mighty enlivening forces, which came in truth not to supplant but to enlarge and restore — Buddhism. And again we must compare the influences of the East and West.
Into the art of the West, founded on Greek beauty of form and rationalistic science, came at one critical period the limiting monocular, personal view-point. This was centered and fixed in religious matters by the personal salvation motive, special creation, fear of what is to come and death, and the separation of the soul of man from that of Nature. The future destiny of Europe was settled in the Third to the Sixth centuries of the Christian era. And finally it was clinched by the purely external and formal development of so-called science in the latter days.
But no such qualities ever entered Chinese art or life. Into the ancient world, which dated back for its previous inspirations to the era of the Upanishads, and is represented in Chinese art by the whole cycle of paintings of philosophers enjoying nature, of which we have seen many illustrations this evening, and also by its oldest poetry, came the great religion of the East, itself a true restoration of the inner essence of the Upanishad philosophy of ages gone before, peopling the vastnesses of nature, already conceived of as living and flowing patterns to men of concord, action and rhythm, with beneficent protectors and lovers of the race ; not specially created angels living in a far off point in space, but watchful spirits of Nature seeking to protect and guide, or else men themselves who had suffered and learned in the great task, and passed on, not to a personal selfish salvation but to the very renunciation of that, in order to become guides and helpers, or guardian stones in the wall to protect mankind from other forces that had also grown up to his hurt during the ages past.
Four or five paintings only are all we can show, within our time. Two of these are paintings of the symbol of divine Compassion, the abstraction of Love and Mercy, Avalokitesvara in India and Tibet, who about the Twelfth century becomes the feminine Kwan-yin. In this great figure personality is itself impersonal, and the divine union of justice and protection, of heart and mind, becomes symbolized by the blending sex, so that one cannot say in many pictures whether the figure is masculine or feminine. Though ultimately it becomes that sweetest and kindest of all the mother-goddesses of the world's races, the Chinese Kwan-yin — Kwannon, as usually called. The reproductions give the faintest idea of the originals, and we must again, as before, allow another to describe them — this time Ernest FenoUosa. Of the earlier Yen Li-pen, painted in the Seventh century, he says :
Rough rock of blue, green and gold, in a cave whose stalactites hang above the head. The Bodhisattva of Providence, it wears as in most Tang, a slight mustache. The flesh of gold, the headdress an elaborate tiara of gems and flowers. The whole body enshrouded in an elaborate lace veil, from the tiara, in thin tones of cream over the heavy colors. An aspiring of the lines to the tip of the head. A crystal vase on a jutting slab of rock. Two halos, head, and body. In water at feet corals and lotus buds. A small Chinese child, hands raised up in prayer, to whom the glance bends graciously. Colors rich reds, carmines, orange, greens and blues, heightened with touches of gold.
And he thus describes the standing figure, dating from the Sung period for its actual painting, but going back to a Wu Tao-tseu original :
Standing, lace veil, descending from heaven in cloudlike mass that breaks into foam of water as it pierces space. A cloud curtain at the top. Below two boys playing on a bright cloud, trying to plant fresh lotus flowers in vases. Rolling from the right a sinister dark green cloud, stopped at the figure's feet. In the hand a wicker basket and a fish, a tai, symbol of spiritual sustenance. Colors less opulent than the other ; strong red, blue and green on the boys. Kwan-Yin drapery subdued tones of these, tending to olives; fine patterning, and no gold anywhere.
One more Buddhist painting, showing this peopling of the realms of spiritual nature, bringing with it in technique some of that GrecoBuddhist influence which first came in with the T'angs and T'ai Tsong, and also is an example of that wonderful, brief century when Korean art rose to heights of grace and refinement that for a time placed it on on the heights above even China and Japan, is this painting of a flying Angel from the frescoes of the Horiuji Temple in Japan. According to FenoUosa's judgment, which must here stand unquestioned, it was painted at the time of the rebuilding of that temple after the great fire of the year 680. It thus brings us through another channel the overshadowing wave which we have already seen to climax at LoYang with Wu Tao-tseu and his contemporaries. It takes us back by another road to Ku K'ai-chih and Hsieh Ho, and shows the tradition passing in the two centuries after their time north to Korea, then to Japan; only to germinate and in due time re-flower in its own home, a guerdon to the faith and perseverance of the messenger Hiuen Tsang.
And now the fourth, the Gautama Sakyamuni, by Wu Tao-tseu, in the Freer collection. There is another similar painting in the Tof ukuji collection ; the Freer copy FenoUosa must again describe to us — for our benefit, and as the reward of his own lifelong devotion :
Robe quiet smoldering red, in the gleaming orange portions heightened into gold. The extraordinary power lies in the line, the most spiky, splintery, modulating and solid of all the Wu Tao-tseu pieces. The solid masses of the head, aided by the rich notan of the colors, make it and the shoulders and the hands rise up like great cliffs of mountains. There is scwnething elemental and ultimate ; all that is small in one actually shrivels before the direct spiritual power as one faces it.
Our time for more is wanting. Under the Mongol or Yiian period, we can only show a single landscape, a pair of panels showing a " Sage in a Forest/' enjoying Nature. It is an inheritor of the Northern School, with naught of the cosmic nor the airy and misty distances of nature. Strength of hand skill is left, but preciosity and overrefinement, the other side of the luxury and self-enjo)mient then the mark of life at the capital. This is no poet-philosopher who could not bend his back for a salary — and was the more honored therefor by the ruler he refused ; the inner essence has left the form, and the gods no longer are heard, however they may watch and wait afar for the time again.
Yet even so, pictures of this order are not all that we find. Many still kept much of the former purity and strength, and we even find it living in many pieces down to the present day. If the power of composition, the philosophy of Nature, and the Tao, were less understood, still in flowers per se we find its tradition preserved. The symbolism of plants as mirroring a living nature has stayed on, and its inspiration is a constant one. A " Bamboo " by Yiian Yang of the Fourteenth century, and a " Plum Branch in Flower, moved by the Breeze," by Lu Fu of the Fifteenth, are as flowers (all plants are flowers to the East) worthy of their art. It was in the Sung age that, we are told, plum branches were for the first time painted in ink, without color, though at times a very subdued color was added. One writer, Chinese, tells us that all the universe is contained in the blossoming plum branch, the emblem of virginity. And so the sensuous appeal of color grew to be left out. How far this flower worship went into the art and life of Japan, and how its Science came in to save the nation at a time when an over-accentuation of feudalism threatened the nation's balance, has been told elsewhere; but how fully all these beauties entered and sanctified the home-life of China is still almost unknown — outside of her own borders.
These two flower pictures, the first of the Yiian and the second of the Ming, must close our Chinese paintings for the evening, save for one single example by Wu Wei, taking us back by its masterly composition and tonality almost to the golden days of his predecessors. This " Fairy and Phoenix," of the Fifteenth century, and so well into the time of the Mings, is part of the Morrison collection in the British Museum. It is almost a monochrome, with just a tone of color.
Our evening among the Chinese paintings has come to an end, and we must cease with one last example of a very different t3rpe, from a different nation indeed, and yet springing from the same vivifying influence of Buddhism which has been so great a part of all Chinese life — that religion whose spread was not by the sword, nor its sanction claimed for war or violence. The relations of China with Tibet have always been peculiarly close, and this painting of the life-scenes of the Buddha, reproducing the stories of the Lalita Vistara and the chapters of the Tibetan Kanjur, is (as told by its inscriptions) a shrine piece of a Tibetan monastery, and dates from about the Seventeenth century. It was later sent to Pekin as a present, and from there reached Europe some years ago; whence it became part of one of the Point Loma collections. The whole of the work is miniature, the faces full of expression are smaller than the little finger-nail ; and the colors a combination of tones and brilliancy that never wearies.
Of all this Chinese art and its influence on the life of the nation, — of its poet-philosophers, at once painters and teachers and statesmen, we must form this conclusion; they can certainly be judged by no less standard, for as with all great characters and Teachers of life, it is the standard they mark up to :
Social and human evolution is a complex of forces, and those forces are introduced from time to time into human affairs by the medium of individuals. The inspiration of these so introduced forces is to be judged by their permanence and their efficaciousness. And it is essential to their character of grandness and reality that they shall transcend the occasional and the immediate, and that their formative, directive and protective social influence shall grow with time. If they are great, they cannot and will not be understood at their birth. If they are comprehensible and acclaimed as panaceas in the time of confusion wherein they have been planted, rest assured that their temporary and evanescent character is at once betrayed. This has been true in all the ages of human evolution ; and it also has its application today.
The enlargement of knowledge consists in a most minute acquaintance with the nature of things around us. A thorough acquaintance with the nature of things, renders knowledge deep and consummate ; from hence proceed just ideas and desires ; erroneous ideas once corrected, the affections of the soul move in a right direction ; the passions thus rectified, the mind naturally obeys reason ; and the empire of reason restored in the soul, domestic order follows of course ; hence flows order throughout the whole province; and one province rightly governed, may be a model for the whole empire. From the Son of Heaven to the common people, one rule applies, that self-government is the root of all virtue. — Vai-Hio, The foregoing paper is the sixth lecture of a University Extension Course, inaugurated by Mme. Katherine Tingley under the auspices of the School of Antiquity, of which she is Foundress and President The address was delivered in Isis Theater on November 10th, 1915.
The course includes lectures by different professors and students of the School of Antiquity, and other prominent speakers of the city of San Diego, upon Archaeology, Art, Peruvian and Central American Antiquities, China and the Far East, in earlier and later times, Egyptology, History, Psychology, Sociology, Law, Higher Education, Literature, Biology, Music and Drama. Many of the lectures are illustrated, from original and other material in the collecti(His of the School of Antiquity and elsewhere.
Besides the foregoing paper, the following are also now in course of publication in the present series :
* The Spirit of the Hour in Archaeology, by William E. Gates, Professor of American Archaeology and Linguistics, School of Antiquity.
The Relation of Religion to Art in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, by Osvald Siren, Professor of the History of Art, University of Stockholm, Sweden.
Notes on Peruvian Antiquities (illustrated), by Frederick J. Dick, M. inst. c. E., Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics, School of Antiquity.
Prehistoric Aegean Civilisation (illustrated), by F. S. Darrow, PH.D., Professor of Greek in the School of Antiquity.
Medical Psychology, by Lydia Ross, m. d.
Ancient Astronomy in Egypt and its Significance, by Prof. Fred. J. Dick.
Others will follow in due course.