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Dong Qichang [Tung Chi-Chang] (1555-1636)

Dong Qichang (1555-1636) was one of the great painters and calligraphers of the late Ming Dynasty and was the principal spokesman and theoretical leader of a tightly knit group of literati who set the underlying critical and theoretical tone of painting and calligraphy for the next three-hundred years.

He had a mixed career as an official that reached as high as Minister of the Board of Rites. As a scholar he wrote a lot on the subject of Chinese painting, dividing art into a "northern school" which taught about acquiring truth through art, and a "southern school" which stressed an almost intuitive understanding. The names "north" and "south" refer to Chan (Zen) Buddhism rather than geographical locations. Qichang favored the Southern School as it was based on the principles of calligraphy.

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