Shih-T'ao

Shih-T'ao

(shûr-tou), 1641–c.1670, Chinese painter of the late Ming–early Ch'ing period, one of the major figures in 17th-century painting. A descendant of the imperial Ming family, he escaped persecution from the invading Manchus by becoming a Buddhist monk with the name Tao-chi. Settling in Yangzhou, he severed his ties to the Buddhist church and became a professional painter and a landscape architect. In his treatise, Hua Yu Lu, he emphasized the importance of the concept of "i hua," or one line, which is variously translatable as line, unity, or a sense of oneness with nature.
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It was also a very visual poetry: in the freshness of its images, I was reminded of Italian primitives, and of artists like Shih-T'ao, Philipp Otto Runge, Samuel Palmer, Cezanne, Max Ernst, and Paul Klee.