|Landscape Painting in China
Paintings of landscapes, whether monumental representations or more intimate scenes, are among the most important images in the history of Chinese art. Since at least the Northern Song period (960-1126), landscape paintings have played a critical role in Chinese art, culture, and thought, and they have been imbued with many interrelated levels of meaning. Landscape paintings have been seen as metaphors for religious and personal development, as statements of individual or cultural values, and as political icons, and they were an important means of communication among educated individuals, particularly the group of artists who have traditionally been classified as literati or scholar-gentlemen (wenjen). The perfection of this art form in the hands of these literati artists has been understood to reflect the self-cultivation and depth of knowledge of this group of painters.