Xia Gui (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Together with Ma Yuan, Xia Gui formed the Ma-Hsia school of painting, which was extremely influential in the subsequent development of landscape painting in China and Japan.
Known as the younger contemporary of Ma Yuan (fl. 1200), Xia Gui served the Southern Sung emperors Ning Tsung (reigned 1195-1224) and Li Tsung (reigned 1225-1264). Little information exists about Xia Gui’s life. It is known that, like Ma Yuan, Xia received the Golden Girdle honor from the court and was artist-in-attendance at the imperial palace in Hangchow. Unlike Ma, however, who came from northwestern China, Xia was apparently born very close to the capital, and Chinese art critics intimate that Xia received imperial honors earlier in his life than did Ma.
Hangchow had become the capital in 1126, when an alliance between the Chinese of the Northern Sung and the Tungusic Juchen turned sour, and North China fell to the Juchen. The Northern Sung rulers fled to the Yangtze and settled into what was, at the time, an unimposing provincial capital situated at the mouth of the Che estuary. The imperial court apparently chose the town in part because it was easier to defend against “barbarians” but also because of the beauty of its location. Hangchow is surrounded by scenic hills and lies just east of what is perhaps China’s most attractive lake, Hu.
In keeping with the generally favorable...
(The entire section is 2012 words.)
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