There was a great twist in the Wei, Jin Dynasties. The variety of contents increased; the position of professional artists were radical and the painting techniques were improved.
Buddhism was introduced to China during the late Han dynasty. It was at the height of development during the Wei and Jin dynasties. Therefore, most paintings from northern China at that time were paintings of their daily lives, politics and literature were popular in Southern China. During this period, figure paintings had the greatest development. Landscape paintings acted only as backgrounds of human figures.
Paintings based on Buddhist stories are best seen in the murals at Dunhuang Mogaoku in the Gansu province. Other kinds of paintings were found in underground tombs and the Jia Yu Juncture. However, many of the paintings are only copies. >Click the picture to see more
There were two kinds of paintings in Northern China. One type of paintings was colorful,using red as the background color (Isn't that interesting?) The rough lines were bold and unrestrained. They are lack of details, but they were vivid. The other type was like the paintings of Southern China, painted in details. >Click the picture to see more.
In the paintings of Southern China, the strokes were the main element of the whole picture. The paintings had thin, delicate outlines. Because of the delicacy of the subjects, the paintings were lively, and that matched part of the first art theory in China, which appeared in this period: Figure paintings should be vivid and lively. And as this art theory appeared, artists paid attention to observe the object before painting, and painting skills were therefore improved.
Besides murals and painted brick on the wall, there were handscrolls made of silk, which were more convenient to be carried.
The first group of artists that could hand down a fine reputation through generations appeared in this period.
Jin (AD265 ~ 420): Wang Yu , Gu Kai Zhi etc.
Northern China (AD 304 ~ 577 ) :
Northern Qi -- Yang Zi Hua , Cao Zhong Da etc.
Northern Zhou -- Gao Xiao Heny , Yan Pi , Zhen Fa etc.