Historians of both literati culture and art history have long been aware that Buddhist monasteries served as sites for appreciation of the visual arts. This study examines the role of the appreciation of art, particularly painting and calligraphy, in Buddhist monasteries during the height of the Jurchen Jin 金 dynasty (1115–1234). The identity of civil elites in northern China during this period drew on multiple cultural precedents, including primarily the Liao and Northern Song, each of which provided a model of lay elite involvement in Buddhist monasteries. By their society’s period of greatest prosperity and creativity in the late twelfth century, Jin elites had created a new repertoire of practices that adapted elements of both traditions while adding innovations that would then inform Chinese society under Mongol rule and in later periods. The detailed account provided by the diaries of Wang Ji 王寂 (1127?–1193) allows careful extrapolation from the briefer, more fragmentary writings left by other Jin literati, offering some indication of what types of paintings and calligraphy, by what artists, might have been found in what types of monasteries, in what condition they might be, and how literati visitors might respond to them in those settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies