This is the second of the films I am showing by CCTV on the Chinese Treasures that have been preserved in Japan, and have consquently influenced Japanese culture.
This week they look at the extraordinary case of the Chinese painter-monk Mu-xi, who is now considered one of the greatest zen painters of all time.
Yet none of his work has survived in China, and if it hadn’t have been for Japan, everything would have been lost.
In Japan however he was long considered a great artist and his works even inspired a school of imitation works, as he was so popular.
To my eye, at least, his work is amongst some of the most evocative of the ink-wash paintings of China, and far surpasses the court painters of the period, whose works did survive.
The team travels all over Japan hunting down Mu-xi’s works, looking at their effect on the development of Japanese painting, and tracing how they survived.
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