During the Song period of Dynastic Chinese history the major styles are found within the Northern Song paintings, Southern Song paintings, and ceramics.
The Neo-Confusian ideas found visual expression in art, especially in landscape, which became the most highly esteemed subject for painting. Northern Song artists studied nature closely to master its many appearances and this passion for realistic detail was the artists form of self cultivation. Landscape became a vehicle for conveying human emotions. Landscapes display the general Chinese desire to avoid direct depiction of the human condition and to show things instead in a symbolic manner. The choice of landscape of the chief means of expression was the second great shift in the focus of Chinese art.
One of the great masters of Song landscape created "Travelers among Mountains and Streams" which conveys the feelings of climbing a high mountain. All the elements are depicted with precise detail and in exaggerated scale.
"Fishing in a Mountain Stream" is one of the finest to survive from the Northern Song. This painting seems to convey a feeling of communion with nature, which is the goal of Chinese artistic expression.
In sharp contrast to the landscapes of the Northern Song, Xia Gui presents an intimate and sooting view of nature. Simplified forms, stark contrasts of light and dark, assymetrical compositions, and great expanses of space suggest a world that can be captured only in glimpses. By limiting himself to a few essential details, the painter evokes a deeper feeling for what lies beyond. The subtle and sophisticated paintings of the Song were created for an audience that appreciated a piece which sparks the imagination.
The styles of Dynastic Chinese history are found in some of Japanese art. The sculpture named "Shaka Triad" reflects the strong influence of Chinese art...