Ma Yuan (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Together with his somewhat younger contemporary, Xia Gui, Ma Yuan formed the Ma-Hsia school of Chinese painting. In some ways, the school served as the prototype for Chinese landscape painting and heavily influenced both Chinese and Japanese painters.
Ma Yuan belonged to what was probably the most prolific and distinguished family of painter-scholars in Chinese history. Altogether, seven members of his family served the Northern and Southern Sung imperial families. This service lasted from the time of Yüan’s great-grandfather Ma Fen in the late eleventh century, to that of his son Ma Lin in the mid-thirteenth century. Besides Yüan, the Ma artists included his great-grandfather, Fen; his grandfather, Hsing-tsu; Shih-jung, his father; Kung-hsien, an uncle; K’uei, his brother; and his son Lin. Each of them received accolades from the imperial court, but unquestionably Ma Yuan became the most famous, and his legacy was the most profound.
Despite the acclaim which surrounded the Ma painters, little is known about their personal lives, and exact dates for their professional careers are generally missing. In part, the absence of such information reflects the turbulence of the times in which they lived. Ma Fen painted at a time when the Chinese rulers of the Northern Sung Dynasty were conspiring with a Tungusic people, the Juchen, to end the Khitan control over northern China....
(The entire section is 2001 words.)
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