Fan Kuan
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Fan Kuan
Fan Kuan
Fan Kuan - Travelers Among Mountains and Streams - Google Art Project.jpg
Travellers among Mountains and Streams (?), ink and slight color on silk, dimensions of 6¾ ft x 2½ ft.[1]National Palace Museum, Taipei[2]
Bornc. 960
Diedc. 1030
Known forLandscapes
MovementNorthern Landscape style

Fan Zhongzheng (c. 960 - c. 1030),[3][1]courtesy name Zhongli, better known by his pseudonym Fan Kuan (Chinese: ; pinyin: Fàn Ku?n; Wade-Giles: Fan K'uan), was a Chinese landscape painter of the Song dynasty.

Travelers among Mountains and Streams, a large hanging scroll, is Fan Kuan's best known work and a seminal painting of the Northern Song school. It establishes an ideal in monumental landscape painting to which later painters were to return time and again for inspiration.[4] The classic Chinese perspective of three planes is evident - near, middle (represented by water and mist), and far. Unlike earlier examples of Chinese landscape art, the grandeur of nature is the main theme, rather than merely providing a backdrop.[3] A packhorse train can barely be seen emerging from a wood at the base of a towering precipice. The painting's style encompasses archaic conventions dating back to the Tang Dynasty.[5]

The historian Patricia Ebrey explains her view on the painting that the:

...foreground, presented at eye level, is executed in crisp, well-defined brush strokes. Jutting boulders, tough scrub trees, a mule train on the road, and a temple in the forest on the cliff are all vividly depicted. There is a suitable break between the foreground and the towering central peak behind, which is treated as if it were a backdrop, suspended and fitted into a slot behind the foreground. There are human figures in this scene, but it is easy to imagine them overpowered by the magnitude and mystery of their surroundings.[6]

Fan's masterpiece Travellers among Mountains and Streams bears a lost half-hidden signature rediscovered only in 1958.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 162.
  2. ^ Liu, 50.
  3. ^ a b Conrad Schirokauer; Miranda Brown; David Lurie; Suzanne Gay (1 January 2012). A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations. Cengage Learning. p. 223. ISBN 0-495-91322-7.
  4. ^ Sullivan, The Arts of China, 179.
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, The Arts of China, 180.
  6. ^ Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 162–163.


  • Liu, Pingheng (1989). Shui mo yin yun, qi yun sheng dong de Zhongguo hui hua (?, ) = Misty and Lively Chinese Painting. Taibei Shi: Guo li li shi bo wu guan (?).
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

External links

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