Reference Entry

Zhe school

James Cahill

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T093440

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[Chin. Zhe pai]

Term used to refer to a school of Chinese painting within the Ming period (1368–1644). Derived from the south-eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, the name has been in common usage since the early 17th century. However, the definition and art-historical boundaries of the Zhe school are far from clear, since many of its artists are also included in the ‘Ming academy’, an equally problematic term loosely applied to a group of painters serving at the imperial court in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is true that the designation of a Zhe school as a local phenomenon has some validity in that many of its members, and notably its founder, Dai Jin, were from Zhejiang. Moreover, Zhe school masters followed an older, conservative stylistic tradition, that of the Southern Song (1127–1279) Academy ( see China, People’s Republic of, §V, 4, (i) ), centred from its beginnings in the Hangzhou region of Zhejiang. Nevertheless, the school also included artists from other parts of China and drew on different stylistic traditions. In the end it seems best to retain both the term ‘Zhe school’ and the term ‘Ming academy’, while admitting that they do not define either a truly local school, in the strict sense, or an organized academy....

Reference Entry.  1632 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Art

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