Compare and Contrast: Asian Paintings

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Compare and Contrast: Asian Paintings

The Fan Kuan’s “Travelers among the Mountains and Streams” and the Xia Gui’s “Detail of Twelve views from a thatched hut”, both of these paintings are related to nature. Both of them are made in the reign of the Song dynasty. Both of them are made of ink and silk. They are masterworks of their famous creators, Fan Kuan on “The Travelers among the Mountains and Streams” and Xia Gui on “Twelve Views from a Thatched hut”. These two art pieces are both models for other Chinese artists from their time until now.

The differences between the two paintings are as follows: in the painting of Fan Kuan, because of the distance, the observer may realize how small he is compared to the big picture of nature. This gently graduated image embraces both great distances from and great intimacy with the very specific yet transcendent forms of nature as experienced by the travelers.

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The painting, as the viewer may see it, it has its full detail. While in the painting of Xia Gui the image is much closer because it has a removed distance. Also, its style allows the viewers to occupy more space of the picture with the imagination. The painting of Fan Kuan focuses more on the image. While the painting of Xia Gui is said to have a poetic turn that is much different from the works of Fan Kuan.

Comparing the Dong Qichang’s “The Qingbian Mountains” and Shitao’s “Landscape”, both of the materials used in those works are ink and paper. Both of their creators are leading calligraphers and authority in painting. Both of them feature nature, particularly the mountains having a house in the midst of it. The difference with them is that the painting of Dong Qichang has longer inscriptions written along with the piece.

Their era is also different, the Qingbian Mountains is created in the reign of the Ming dynasty while the landscape of Shitao was made in the reign of the Qing dynasty. The lines in the work of Dong Qichang are much heavier than what Shitao used in his landscape. The landscape of Shitao is more modern than what Dong Qichang’s, due to the colors that the creation of Shitao has. Dong Qichang’s “The Qingbian Mountains” doesn’t use any other color in it but one, unlike the landscape of Shitao, it has used some other colors to merely emphasize the subjects in his creation. The characters in the Landscape of Shitao are more realistic because of its details.

Bunsen’s “Landscape” and Sesshu’s “Winter Landscape”, both are made up of ink on paper. The creators of these masterpieces are both Japanese in different eras. Both of the paintings consist of a tree within it that has left even though these paintings signify different seasons. The Bunsei’s Landscape is made within the years of 1400 – 1499, while, Sesshu’s “Winter Landscape” is made in the years 1501 – 1600. Both of the pictures constitute mountains that are far from a hut or a house.

In Sesshu’s “Winter Landscape” the mountains featured have steep white peaks that signify the snow over the mountains. This feature of Sesshu’s “Winter Landscape” emphasizes a single season. The Bunsei’s “Landscape” depicts the change of season from winter (top) to spring (down). The shadows on the creation of Sesshu are more vivid than what Bunsei’s painting has. The mist in Busey’s Landscape makes it have more distance. The comparison of size between man and nature is observed in Sesshu’s painting but, because of darker shades, the objects in the painting are much nearer.

The Forbidden City and Sen no Rikyu’s Tai and Tea Room, both have sheltered important people of their countries. These two historical places serve as important establishments. Both of these establishments are termed as one of a kind and exceptional. Tai a tea room is only one of the tea rooms that Sen no Rikyu had made, even though, it is very exceptional of them all because it is the only remaining tea room that he made.

While the Forbidden City is exceptional due to its description as the best-preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. Both of these creations also are perfectly architecture and designed by their creators, the Forbidden City’s splendid architecture represents the essence and culmination of traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment, the Taian Tea Room has only a floor area as usually as large as 4 straws (2.7 sqm), even though it was that small for three people (the tea master and two guests), that it was very difficult for them to move without touching their outfits, they see it very meaningful, to show the intention of Sen no Rikyu to serve his tea under equal footing (even to those who are in the higher ranks).

The difference of the Forbidden City with the Sen no Rikyu is that the Forbidden City is recognized internationally as one of the five important places of the world in line with the world’s greatest establishments such as the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US and the Kremlin in Russia, while the Sen no Rikyu is not.

The size also differs between the Forbidden City and the Sen no Rikyu, Forbidden City is approximately about 72 hectares with a total floor space of approximately 150, 000 square meters. It consists of 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms. To represent the supreme power of the emperor given from God, and the place where he loved being the center of the world, all the gates, palace and other structures of the Forbidden City were arranged about the south-north central axis of Beijing, while the Sen no Rikyu Tea room has only 2.7 square meters.

The Tawaraya Sotatsu “Matsushima Screen” and Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave” of Kanagawa both considered as masterpieces of Japan. Both of these artworks feature the sea in waves with a little detail of a land form. Both of them also depict waves. These two creations are also both made in the same period, the Edo period. The difference between the Great wave and Matsushima Screen is that the Matsushima features more series of waves unlike the great wave, although it has different kinds of waves in it, the biggest wave is more emphasized. The material that has been used and the purpose of the creation of these two artworks are not the same; the Matsushima is intended to be a screen while the Great wave is a designer’s print on a woodblock.

The waves of the Matsushima Screen are in animated forms delineated in alternating lines of ink and gold, producing a luminous effect, while the foams of the great wave is breaking into claws which grasps the fishermen. The great wave also formed a yin – yang like appearance with the empty space and the crash of the wave brings tension to the painting, while the waves of the Matsushima are plain and simple. The landforms in the paintings are also different; the Matsushima Screens have an Island while the Great Wave has a Mount Fuji in it just like the other 36 other prints of Hokusai where the Great Wave belonged.

There is also a conflict that is happening in the Great Wave, between the wave and the fishermen struggling for survival. On the other hand, the Matsushima screen only shows pine islands surrounded by series of waves. Also the Great Wave has a shading of the sky which makes it very subtle, but on the Matsushima Screen, instead of showing the sky, the painting shows a top view making the observer feel that he is on higher grounds or probably in the sky.

Works Cited

  1. Hokusai (1760 – 1849) “The great Wave, by Hokusai”,
  2. Collections “Waves at Matsushima”,
  3. Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art “Attractions of Oyamazaki”,
  4. China highlights “Forbidden City”,
  5. “Toya Sesshu”
  6. The Amica Library “Bunsei Landscape 15th century”,
  7. The Amica library “Shitao landscape, Qing dynasty, dated 1694”,
  8. The Amica library “Dong Qichang, The Qingbian Mountain 1617”,
  9. Chinese Art before 1280 “Xia Gui Twelve Views from a Thatched Hut”,
  10. Chinese Art before 1280 “Fan Kuan, Travelers among Mountains and Streams”,

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Compare and Contrast: Asian Paintings. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from

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