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29) Liang Kai (mid- I 3th cent.). Li Po Chanting a Poem. Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Southern Sung. Liang Kai began his career in the Academy but soon found the confining artistic and professional atmosphere there unsuited to his burgeoning talents. He left the academy and moved to a Ch'an Buddhist temple. His career manifests the link between the Academy style and Ch'an that we have seen in No. 28 above. His idealized portrait of Li Po, the famous T'ang dynasty poet, is a masterpiece of the Ch'an style. In only about a dozen major brush strokes, Liang Kai has captured the essence of the Li Po persona in a work that exudes spontaneity, freshness of inspiration, brevity of statement, and a simplicity yet dynamic energy of execution.

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