Xia Gui

Xia Gui

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Xia Gui

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Xia Gui (, style name Yüyü) (fl. 1195–1224) was a Chinese landscape painter of the Song Dynasty. Very little is known about his life, and only a few of his works survive, but he is generally considered one of China's greatest artists. He continued the tradition of Li Tang, further simplifying the earlier Song style to achieve a more immediate, striking effect. Together with Ma Yuan, he founded the so-called Ma-Xia school, one of the most important of the period.

Although Xia was popular during his lifetime, his reputation suffered after his death, together with that of all Southern Song academy painters. Nevertheless, a few artists, including the Japanese master Sesshū, continued Xia's tradition for hundreds of years, until the early 17th century. His hand scroll Pure and Remote View of Streams and Mountains has been described as "the most brilliant performance in the ink-monochrome technique in the whole of Chinese painting."


No information survives on Xia's birth and death dates, background, or education. He was most probably born in Hangzhou, then capital of China. During the reign of Emperor Ningzong Xia served in the Imperial Painting Academy (Yuhuayuan) in the same city, the way most major artists did at the time. His teachers are unknown, but the surviving works suggest strong influence of Li Tang, a prominent academy painter whose style was a prominent influence on virtually all 12th century Chinese landscape painters. Xia Gui and his...
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