Three perfections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kuncan, Landscape after Night Rain Shower, (China, Qing Dynasty), 1660, Palace Museum, Beijing.

Three perfections is the gathering of poets, calligraphers and painters to create an artwork in ancient China and Japan. The resulting product would be a painting that would include the work of a calligrapher to write a poem.

Legend holds that the Tang dynasty poets Du Fu and Li Bai were the first to introduce the combination of painting and poetry into one artwork. Several hundred years later, Su Shi, a poet and painter, promoted the use of poetry and painting together. Instruction of artists at the Northern Song Imperial Painting Academy included the integration of poetry and painting. As a result of the prevalence of the merged arts into the "Three perfections" a common expression emerged, the "soundless poem" to describe how one might experience a painting with sound, sight, smell, touch, and emotions.[1]


  • Anchorage on a Rainy Night, Shen Zhou, Chinese, 1427–1509
  • Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff, Qiao Zhongchang, Chinese, late 11th or early 12th century
  • Landscape after Li Bo's poem, Ike Taiga, Japanese, Edo period, 18th century


Qiao Zhongchang, Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff, late 11th or early 12th century, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


  1. ^ The Great Art of China's 'Soundless Poems'. The Schiller Institute. p. 45, 70. Retrieved 28 August 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Battista, Carolyn. (May 12, 1996). "Show of Three Perfections: Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy." The New York Times.
  • Chinese Painting. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art / Three Perfections: Poetry, Calligraphy, Painting, July 26 – Nov 12. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
  • Sullivan, Michael. (1999). The Three Perfections: Chinese Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy. George Braziller. ISBN 0-807-61452-1

External links[edit]