China Underground > Magazine > China Magazine > 20 fascinating paintings of Song Dynasty painter Ma Yuan

20 fascinating paintings of Song Dynasty painter Ma Yuan

Ma Yuan (馬遠; Mǎ Yuǎn; c. 1160–65 – 1225) was an influential Chinese landscape painter of the Song dynasty.

His works, together with that of Xia Gui (夏珪), formed the basis of the Ma-Xia School of painting, and are considered among the finest from the period.

His paintings have inspired both Chinese artists of the Zhe School, as well as the great early Japanese painters Shūbun and Sesshū.

Related articles: The Skeleton Fantasy Show by Li Song

Ma Yuan – White Rose – between 1127 and 1279‎ – ink and watercolor on silk

Ma Yuan was born in Qiantang (now Hangzhou, Zhejiang) into a family of painters.

Close-up detail of Song Dynasty Chinese painter Ma Yuan’s Angler on a Wintry Lake, featuring the oldest known depiction of a fishing reel.

Download high-rez version here

His great grandfather Ma Fen served as painter in attendance at the Northern Song court in early 12th century, and both his grandfather Ma Xingzu and his father Ma Shirong held the same position at the Southern Song court in Hangzhou.

Composing Poetry on a Spring Outing, attributed to Ma Yuan, Southern Song Dynasty, Handscroll, ink, and color on silk, 29.54 x 301.63 cm, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

At some point after 1189, Ma Yuan received the same position under Emperor Guangzong. He evidently enjoyed a high reputation at the court and was a favorite of Emperor Ningzong (who wrote several poems inspired by Ma Yuan’s paintings); but nothing more is known about his life. He died in 1225.

Attributed to Ma Yuan. GENTLEMAN VIEWING THE MOON. 1200/1300

Download high-rez version here

His son, Ma Lin, who rose to the rank of painter-in-waiting, was the last painter in the family.

In this painting, an adept (xian) flies through the air on the back of a dragon. At the lower right, a demon thrall holds his master’s dragoon-headed staff. The scene takes place against a background of clouds, from which the dragon has just emerged. The transcendent gazes into space with an intense, knowing expression. Southern Song Dynasty, early 13th century. hanging scroll; ink and light colors on silk

Although a very versatile painter, Ma is known today primarily for his landscape scrolls. His technique, like that of many contemporaries, was at first inspired by Li Tang. Eventually, Ma developed a personal style, with marked decorative elements (“pine trees […] strong as if they were made of iron wire”, as described in a contemporary source).

Landscape attributed to Ma Yuan, MOA Museum of Art, Itami, Shizuoka, Japan. Southern Song (1127-1279)

A characteristic feature of many paintings is the so-called “one-corner” composition, in which the actual subjects of the painting are pushed to a corner or aside, leaving the other part of the painting more or less empty. [wikipedia]

Dancing and Singing (Peasants Returning from Work) (detail). 1160-1225. ink on silk
Dancing and Singing (Peasants Returning from Work) (detail). 1160-1225. ink on silk
Dancing and Singing (Peasants Returning from Work) (detail). 1160-1225. ink on silk
Dancing and Singing(Peasants Returning from Work). 1160-1225. ink on silk
Scholar by a Waterfall, Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), late 12th–early 13th century. Ma Yuan (Chinese, active ca. 1190–1225) Album leaf: ink and color on silk; 9 7/8 x 10 1/4 in. (25.1 x 26 cm) Signed: “Servitor, Ma Yuan”
Clouds Rising from the Green Sea, from a series of paintings of water. 1160-1225. ink on silk – 水圖卷﹝局部
Ten Thousand Riplets on the Yangzi, from a series of paintings of water. 水圖卷﹝局部. 1160-1225. ink on silk
The Waving Surface of the Autumn Flood, from a series of paintings of water. 水圖卷﹝局部. 1160-1225. ink on silk
The Yellow River Breaches its Course, from a series of paintings of water. 水圖卷﹝局部. 1160-1225. ink on silk
Walking on Path in Spring by Ma Yuan (马远 c.1190 – 1279年)), a Chinese painter of the Song Dynasty. [宋] 马远 山径春行图 – 绢本淡设色.
Banquet by Lantern Light – hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, 111.9 x 53.5 cm. Located at the National Palace Museum, Taibei. The poem at the top was either written by Emperor Ningzong (寧宗) or Empress Yang to celebrate a banquet. 华灯侍宴图 – 立轴 绢本 淡设色
Banquet by Lantern Light – hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, 111.9 x 53.5 cm. Located at the National Palace Museum, Taibei. The poem at the top was either written by Emperor Ningzong (寧宗) or Empress Yang to celebrate a banquet. circa 1198-1201年
Confucius (孔丘圖), ink and color on silk. 27.7 cm. high x 23.3 cm. wide. Located in the Palace Museum, Beijing (北京 故宫博物院). 12th century, Southern Song Dynasty

Download high-rez version here

Handscroll: The Four Sages of Shangshan.

Topic: paintings of Song Dynasty,Ma Yuan,Chinese landscape painter,Song Dynasty art

Subscribe to China Underground and get the free magazine 'Planet China'

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our terms and conditions.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

China to open up payment industry

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.