Yao Zui: “Continued Classifications of Painters”(ca. 575-600?)
Yao Zui: “Continued Classifications of Painters”
Now the wonder of painting is so great that words can never wholly fathom it. For though in essence it never departs from the conceptions of antiquity, in its outward marks it changes according to present circumstances.
[Painters] can store a myriad phenomena in their breasts, and transmit [the events of] a thousand years with a tiny brush. For truly all the immortals and spirits were represented on the Nine Towers, and many wise men and sages were depicted on the lofty walls of the Four Schools. In the Cloud Pavilion [paintings] inspired emotions of reverence and awe; and even in the private apartments of the palace they could bring about the leave-taking [of brides who were] to be given in marriage in distant countries. But all such things of remote memory are hard to trace thoroughly. Of such things as still remain, the makers have sometimes disappeared in the darkness, and naturally, unless one has deep perception and wide...