Ma Yuan (马远) : courtesy name Yao Fu (遥父) style name Qinshan (钦山), native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He was admitted to the Imperial Painting Academy in the reigns of Emperors Guangzong and Ningzong (1190-1224) of the Song period. He was adept at landscape, figure and flower-and-bird painting. He used the axe-hewn wrinkle stroke to model mountains and rocks, and used double-outlining to define trees and the ruler in his painting of buildings. His colors were clean and mellow, his brushstrokes powerful; his choice of scene was often partial, taking only a section of a landscape, earning him the nickname of “Small Section Ma” (马一角).
Singing on the Road (踏歌图)
On a path in the mountain, a few old men come back after a hearty drink. They dance and sing joyfully; their gestures are amusing. Along the road, seedlings of cereal crops grow luxuriantly green, the rocks are as sharp as knives, bamboos and willows are green, and streams bubbling. Looking across the clouds and mist, we can see densely grown pine and cypress, and half-covered buildings and pavilions. Peaks in the distance stand erect, as sharp as knives. This is the stopping-over place for the emperor in his short trips away from the capital. The writer uses the side of the brush to sweep the paper horizontally in big “axe-hewn” light-ink strokes to paint granite rocks, and has successfully expressed the mass and texture of the suitable to paint soft southern landscapes emerged. The two combine to form light-ink stroke schools in Chinese landscape painting. Ma Yuan didn’t suitable to paint soft southern landscapes emerged. The two combine to form light-ink stroke schools in Chinese landscape painting. Ma Yuan didn’t create many large-sized paintings, and could not have know how important the axe-hewn light-ink stroke technique was to become in the future.
source: The Art Book of Chinese Paintings, published by Long River Press