Maruyama Ōkyo by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Buddhist artists – The creative Buddha Mind

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Table of Contents

The origin of Buddha Art

During the Pre-iconic phase (5th–1st century BCE) artists were reluctant to depict the Buddha anthropomorphically, and developed sophisticated aniconic symbols to avoid doing so (even in narrative scenes where other human figures would appear).

This tendency remained as late as the 2nd century CE in the southern parts of India, in the of the Amaravati School.

In Tibet the vast majority of surviving artworks created before the mid-20th century are dedicated to the depiction of religious subjects, with the main forms being thangka, distemper paintings on cloth, Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings, and small statues in bronze, or large ones in clay, stucco or wood.

For more than a thousand years, Tibetan buddhist artists, including some prominent Rinpoches, have played a key role in the cultural life of Tibet.

Buddha Art in the Modern Era

Today many contemporary artists have made use of the Buddhist themes to express themselves.

In the UK for example, The Network of Buddhist Organisations has interested itself in identifying Buddhist practitioners across all the arts.

In 2005 it co-ordinated the UK-wide Buddhist arts festival, “A Lotus in Flower” and in 2009 it helped organise the two-day arts conference, “Buddha Mind, Creative Mind”. As a result of the latter an association of Buddhist artists was formed.

Life & achievements of well-known Artists

This is the life and achievements of some well-known Buddhist artists from around the world.

Chögyam Trungpa was a Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the eleventh Trungpa tülku, a tertön, supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision.

Lama Gonpo Tseten

Gonpo Tseten Rinpoche (1906–1991) was a Dzogchen master, author, painter, sculptor, and teacher of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Among Lama Gönpo Tseten’s artistic works are two murals in Clement Town, Dhera Dun, India: “Amitabha in Dewachen” at Tashi Gommo Gelugpa Monastery, and “Mount Meru and the Universe System” at the Nyingmapa Lamas College.

He also painted a large thangka of the Longchen Nyingtik Refuge Tree and smaller thangkas of Padmasambhava and Vajrakilaya, some of which he gave to Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.

Subsequently, the main figure of Guru Rinpoche of Lama Gönpo’s painting was used as the cover for the Padmakara Translation Group’s translation of White Lotus by the 1st Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche.

Matthieu Ricard

is a French writer, photographer, translator and Buddhist monk who resides at Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery in Nepal.

Matthieu Ricard uses three types of meditation: compassion, open awareness, and analytic.

He has spent a total of 5 years in solitary meditation, largely in a remote mountain hut.

He promotes veganism and animal rights and co-founded Karuna-Shechen in 2000 with Rabjam Rinpoche.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche is the title of a tulku lineage of Tibetan Buddhist lamas. They originate with Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, one of the most illustrious lamas of recent history, known for his central role in the rimé or non-sectarian movement in 19th Century Tibet. Jigme Namgyel is the present Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. He is the second or third incarnation, depending on whether Lodro Thaye is counted.

is the title of a tulku lineage of Tibetan Buddhist lamas. They originate with Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, one of the most illustrious lamas of recent history, known for his central role in the rimé or non-sectarian movement in 19th Century Tibet. Jigme Namgyel is the present Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. He is the second or third incarnation, depending on whether Lodro Thaye is counted.

Situ Panchen

(1700–1774), also known as the 8th Tai Situ Rinpoche, was an influential Tibetan painter, writer and medical innovator as well as a notable figure in the histories of Karma Kagyu and the Kingdom of Dêgê, where he served as senior court chaplain.

Anagarika Govinda

was the founder of the order of the Arya Maitreya Mandala and an expositor of Tibetan Buddhism, Abhidharma, and Buddhist meditation as well as other aspects of Buddhism. He was also a painter and poet.

Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Chagdud Tulku was a Tibetan teacher of the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Tibetan Buddhism. He was known and respected in the West for his teachings, his melodic chanting voice, his artistry as a sculptor and painter, and his skill as a physician. He acted as a spiritual guide for thousands of students worldwide. He was the sixteenth tülku of the Chagdud line.

Mikyö Dorje was the eighth Karmapa, head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dulduityn Danzanravjaa

was a prominent Mongolian writer, composer, painter, Buddhist scholar, physician and was the Fifth Noyon Khutagt, the Lama of the Gobi. His name is a Mongolian adaptation of the last part of the Tibetan name Lobsang Tenzin Rabgye given to Danzan Ravjaa by the 4th Bogd Gegeen, on his visit to the Mongolian capital, Urga in 1812 where Danzanravjaa was also recognized as an Incarnate Lama. There are several versions concerning the origins and use of “Dulduityn”. He was the 5th incarnation of the Gobi Noyon Hutagt, which is the title of a prominent line of tulkus of the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia and was found by the personal attendant of the 4th Noyon Hutagt in 1809. It was not possible to enthrone Danzan Ravjaa as the 5th Noyon Hutagt because of the ban from the ruling Manchu (Qing) Dynasty on recognition of this line of incarnations. Mongolia at the time was under Manchurian Qing control. He was enthroned as the Avshaa Gegeen in Ongiin Gol Monastery by Ishdonilhudev Rinpoche. He is primarily famous for his poetry, but is also known for his prophecies, and treatises on medicine, philosophy, and astrology.

Tenga Rinpoche

(1932–2012) was a Tibetan teacher (lama) in the Karma Kagyu tradition.


was a celebrated Buddhist monk, painter, poet, and calligrapher. His greatest works date from the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The collapse of the central Tang government in 907, meant artists and craftsmen lost their most powerful patrons. The imperial Tang court had inspired a golden age of literature and art at its apogee. The various provincial courts who claimed to represent a continuation of the tradition of Tang government also claimed continuity in the arts and culture. The state of the Former Shu had acted as the traditional western sanctuary ever since Emperor Xuanzong had sought refuge there during the An Shi Rebellion in 755. By the collapse of the Tang Dynasty something like a miniature Tang court existed at Chengdu. Guanxiu arrived in chengdu in 901, and remained there until his death.

John Cage

John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer and music theorist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.

Tōrei Enji (東嶺円慈) was an eminent Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, painter and calligrapher. He was the chief disciple and Dharma heir of famed Japanese Rinzai master (1685-1786) and was a major figure in the revival of the Rinzai school in eighteenth century Japan. He is also known as the author of an influential text on Zen practice called “The Undying Lamp of Zen”, which is his magnum opus and presents the comprehensive system of Rinzai Zen as it existed at the time of Hakuin.

Wuzhun Shifan

was a Chinese painter, calligrapher, and prominent Zen Buddhist monk who lived during the late Song Dynasty (960-1279).


or Muxi, also known as Fachang, was a Chinese Chan Buddhist monk and painter who lived in the 13th century, around the end of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). Today, he is considered to be one of the greatest Chan in history. His ink paintings, such as the Daitokuji triptych and Six Persimmons are regarded as essential Chan paintings. Muqi’s style of painting has also profoundly impacted painters from later periods to follow, especially monk painters in Japan.

Hakuin Ekaku

Hakuin Ekaku was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is regarded as the reviver of the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice.

Kun Can

(髡殘) was a Chinese Buddhist monk and painter during Ming and Qing dynasties. He hailed from Hunan, but spent most of his life in Nanjing. He became a Chan Buddhist monk at an early age and in Nanjing was abbot of a monastery on Niushou Shan. His style of landscape painting was influenced by Wang Meng and he is one of the Four Monk Masters in the early Qing Dynasty. The others being Zhu Da, , and . As he was also known as Shi Xi he was at times said to be one of the “Two Shi”. Few of Kun Can’s works survive.


Ryūki (1592–1673) was a poet, calligrapher, and monk of Linji Chan Buddhism from China. He is most known for founding the Ōbaku school of Zen in Japan.

Seison Maeda

was the art-name of a nihonga painter in the Taishō and Shōwa periods of Japan. His legal name was Maeda Renzō. He is considered one of the greatest contemporary Japanese painters, and one of the leaders of the Nihonga movement.


Gibon was a Japanese monk of the Rinzai school. He was known for his controversial teachings and writings, as well as for his lighthearted sumi-e paintings. After spending half of his life in Nagata near Yokohama, he secluded himself in Shōfuku-ji in Fukuoka, the first Zen temple in Japan, where he spent the rest of his life.

Sesshū Tōyō

Sesshū Tōyō was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai Oda family (小田家), before being brought up and educated to become a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest. However, early in life he displayed a talent for visual arts, and eventually became one of the greatest Japanese artists of his time, widely revered throughout Japan.

Shao Mi

; ca. 1592-1642 was a Chinese landscape painter, calligrapher, and poet during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

Saw Maung (painter)

Saw Maung was a Burmese artist. He was the son of the artist Saya Aye (painter) (1872–1930), who in turn was an apprentice of Saya Chone (1866–1917), a young Royal Artist under King Thibaw. Thus, Saw Maung could directly trace his history of training to the pre-colonial times of Upper Burma when the country was still a monarchy and when Traditional paintings of Buddhist religious scenes was the dominant genre of production.

Sambhu Lal Chakma

is a Chakma singer and politician representing Chawmanu in the Tripura Legislative Assembly. He is the candidate of the BJP to win a seat for the party in the state.

Sherab Palden Beru

was an exiled Tibetan thangka artist who played a key role in preserving the art-form through the training of western students over a period of more than four decades.

Shikō Munakata was a woodblock printmaker active in Shōwa period Japan. He is associated with the sōsaku-hanga movement and the mingei movement. Munakata was awarded the “Prize of Excellence” at the Second International Print Exhibition in Lugano, Switzerland in 1952, and first prize at the São Paulo Bienal Exhibition in Brazil in 1955, followed by Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale in 1956, and the Order of Culture, the highest honor in the arts by the Japanese government in 1970.

Sakai Hōitsu was a Japanese painter of the Rinpa school. He is known for having revived the style and popularity of , and for having created a number of reproductions of Kōrin’s work.

Shinjō Itō

Shinjō Itō is the founder of the Buddhist school Shinnyo-en.

Ran Hwang

is a sculptural artist primarily known for her mixed-media work with buttons, beads, pins, and thread. Born in Pusan, South Korea, in 1960 Hwang works and resides in New York and Seoul. She has exhibited internationally in Switzerland, France, Korea, Dubai, and numerous other cities. Her work resides in the collections of museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Des Moines Art Center, The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, and the King County Library. Her work will also be featured in the Brooklyn Museum show, “Diverse Works: Director’s Choice 1997-2015”.

Obaku Dokuryu

(1596–1672) was a Japanese calligrapher, scholar, monk and artist.

Paw Oo Thet

was a Burmese painter, prominent in the Mandalay art scene who became one of the initiators of a modernistic art movement in Burma in the early 1960s.

Martin Bradley (painter)

Martin Bradley is a British painter.

Lin Tinggui

was a Chinese painter of the Southern Song Dynasty. His artwork was greatly influenced by themes of Chinese Buddhism.

Lu Tin

is a Burmese watercolor artist.

Lun Gywe

is a Burmese painter who works in oil and watercolor. Outside of Myanmar his work has been exhibited, often in solo shows, in Japan, the Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Australia, New York City, the Republic of Singapore.

Luo Ping

was a Chinese painter of the Qing Dynasty who lived in Ganquan (甘泉; present-day Yangzhou, Jiangsu. His courtesy name was Dunfu and his pseudonyms were Liangfeng and Huazhisi Seng. He studied painting under and developed a unique personal style. He painted people, Buddhist images, plum with bamboo, flowers, and scenery paintings. He refused government service to live a life of poverty selling paintings. He was the youngest of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou.

Mapalagama Wipulasara Maha Thera

Venerable was a Theravada Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. He was also an artist and sculptor who has gained fame through his sculptures of Buddha statues that are worshiped in many places within Sri Lanka and abroad. He has held Exhibitions in Soviet Russia and China in the years 1961 and 1963 respectively.

Mariko Mori

is a Japanese multidisciplinary artist. She is known for her photographs and videos of her hybridized future self, often presented in various guises and featuring traditional Japanese motifs. Her work often explores themes of technology, spirituality and transcendence.

Maruyama Ōkyo , born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese, Japanese and Western sources. A personal style of Western naturalism mixed with Eastern decorative design emerged, and Ōkyo founded the Maruyama school of painting. Although many of his fellow artists criticized his work as too slavishly devoted to natural representation, it proved a success with laypeople.

Ōtagaki Rengetsu

Ōtagaki Rengetsu was a Buddhist nun who is widely regarded to have been one of the greatest Japanese poets of the 19th century. She was also a skilled potter and painter and expert calligrapher.

Matazō Kayama was a Japanese Nihonga painter of the 20th century, born in Kyoto in 1927.

Meiji Hashimoto

(1904-1991) was a Japanese Nihonga painter and designer.

Miya Ando

is an American visual artist recognized for her paintings, sculptures, and installation artworks that address concepts of temporality, interdependence, and impermanence. Ando’s artworks have been exhibited in museums, galleries, and public spaces worldwide.

Nakahara Nantenbō

Nakahara Nantenbō , also known as Tōjū Zenchū, Tōshū Zenchū 鄧州全忠, and as Nantenbō Tōjū, was a Japanese Zen Master. In his time known as a fiery reformer, he was also a prolific and accomplished artist. He produced many fine examples of Zen Art and helped bridge the gap between older forms of Zen Buddhist art and its continuation in the 20th century.

Ngwe Gaing

was a Burmese artist who worked in both oil and watercolor. After the death of his teacher Ba Nyan, he was recognized as the greatest living painter in Myanmar. He had great influence on the next generation of artists, and his works are now highly sought after.

Nishida Shun’ei

Nishida Shun’ei is a Japanese painter who specializes in portraits and is a professor of Japanese painting at Hiroshima City University.

Ogata Kōrin

Ogata Kōrin was a Japanese landscape illustrator, lacquerer, painter, and textile designer of the Rinpa School.


Shitao or Shi Tao, born into the Ming dynasty imperial clan as Zhu Ruoji (朱若極), was a Chinese Buddhist monk, calligrapher, and landscape painter during the early Qing dynasty.

Abanindranath Tagore

was the principal artist and creator of the “Indian Society of Oriental Art”. He was also the first major exponent of Swadeshi values in Indian art. He founded the influential Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting. He was also a noted writer, particularly for children. Popularly known as ‘Aban Thakur’, his books Rajkahini, Buro Angla, Nalak, and Khirer Putul were landmarks in Bengali language children’s literature and art.

Sonam Dolma Brauen

is a Tibetan-Swiss contemporary painter and sculptor. Her paintings, sculptures and installations are exhibited in Germany, Italy, in the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland and in the USA.

Yukihiko Yasuda

was the pseudonym of a major figure in Taishō and early Shōwa period Japanese painting, and is regarded as one of the founders of the Japanese painting technique of nihonga. His real name was Yasuda Shinzaburō.

Xu Gu

Xū Gǔ ; was a Chinese painter and poet during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).

Xue Susu

was a Chinese courtesan. Known as one of the “Eight Great Courtesans of the Ming Dynasty”, she was an accomplished painter and poet, and was noted for her skill at mounted archery. She was particularly noted for her figure paintings, which included many Buddhist subjects. Her works are held in a number of museums both in China and elsewhere. Her archery was commented upon by a number of contemporary writers, as were her masculine, martial tendencies; these were regarded as an attractive feature by the literati of the period.

Yan Hui (painter)

Yan Hui ; was a late 13th-century Chinese painter who lived during the Southern Song and early Yuan dynasties. His specific dates of birth and death are not known. His exquisite brushstrokes were highly regarded.

Yan Zhitui

courtesy name Jie was a Chinese calligrapher, painter, musician, writer, philosopher and politician who served four different Chinese states during the late Northern and Southern dynasties: the Liang Dynasty in southern China, the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou Dynasties of northern China, and their successor state that reunified China, the Sui Dynasty. Yan Zhitui was a supporter of Buddhism in China despite criticism by many of his Confucian-taught peers.

Yokoyama Taikan

was the art-name of a major figure in pre-World War II Japanese painting. He is notable for helping create the Japanese painting technique of Nihonga.

Yuki Ogura

was a Japanese nihonga painter. Her maiden name was Yuki Mizoguchi. She was known for her bijinga.

Zhang Han (Ming dynasty)

Zhang Han, courtesy name Ziwen (子文), art name Yuanzhou (元洲), was a leading scholar-official during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) of China. Although eventually posted to serve in the capital at Beijing, Zhang was a native of the thriving commercial city of Hangzhou and a descendant of a wealthy family that ran a textile business. He was also a literary author, a painter, a follower of Chinese Buddhism, and an essayist while in retirement from office during his later years. According to the historian Timothy Brook, he was a “close observer of the changes of his age”, in reference to China’s intensified commercialism and consumption of commodities in the late Ming era and its effects upon Chinese culture.

Wu Bin (painter)

Wu Bin was a Ming dynasty Chinese landscape painter during the reign of the Wanli Emperor. His courtesy name was “Wenzhong” and his art name “Zhiyin Toutuo” means “Mendicant monk at the temple hidden by tree branches”. His specific dates of birth and death are not known. Wu was born in Putian in the Fujian province. The local relation linked him to Ōbaku Buddhism sect. He painted a large Nirvana scene painting for them.

Zhang Huan

is a Chinese artist based in Shanghai and New York City. He began his career as a painter and then transitioned to performance art before making a comeback to painting. He is primarily known for his performance work, but also makes photographs and sculpture.

Zhang Renxi (artist)

Zhang Renxi, also known as Zhang Renxi (张仁熙), Jiaye (迦叶), Shengshi, and House of Flowing Water Sound Listening (听沨楼), was born in Quanzhou City, Fujian, China. He was a Chinese artist and poet, best known for his exquisite Chinese paintings of birds and flowers as well as fine seal carvings and calligraphy work.

Zhang Sengyou

was a famous Liang dynasty painter in the ink style in the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang.

Zhang Shengwen

; was a painter from the Kingdom of Dali during the 12th century.

Zhao Mengfu

, was a Chinese calligrapher, painter, and scholar during the Yuan Dynasty. He was a descendant of the Song Dynasty’s imperial family through Emperor Xiaozong’s brother Zhao Bogui who married a lady surnamed Song who was the granddaughter of Emperor Huizong. Zhao Bogui was a descendant of Emperor Taizu, through his son Zhao Defang.

Zhou Fang (Tang dynasty)

Zhou Fang, courtesy name Zhonglang (仲朗), was a Chinese painter during the Tang dynasty. Zhou lived in the Tang capital of Chang’an during the 8th century. He came from a noble background and this was reflected in his works, such as Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers (attributed) and Court Lady With Servants. Zhou Fang’s artistic activity is long, up to three to four decades, running parallel to the Dàlì to Zhenyuan era (766–805), his artistic activity was mainly concentrated in Chang’an and Jiangnan.

Zhou Jichang

, Japanese: Shuu Kijou) was a Chinese painter of the Song Dynasty. His artwork featured many central themes of Chinese Buddhism and Buddhist folklore.

Wu Daozi

, also known as Daoxuan, was a Chinese painter of the Tang dynasty. The British art historian Michael Sullivan considers him one of “the masters of the seventh century,” Some of his works survive; many, mostly murals, have been lost.

Wang Yiting

Wang Zhen, commonly known by his courtesy name , was a prominent businessman and celebrated modern Chinese artist of the Shanghai School. He also used the art name Bailong shanren and as a devote Buddhist under other names. He was originally from Wuxing in Zhejiang Province, although spent most of his life in the city of Shanghai where he was a successful businessman-banker. Wang Zhen was a master calligrapher as well as a painter of flowers, birds, personages and Buddhist subjects. He was closely associated with and considered the disciple of the painter Wu Changshuo. It is sometimes said that many of his teacher’s paintings were from Wang Zhen himself.

Song Xu

, was a Chinese landscape painter. His courtesy name was Chuyang (初炀) and pen name was Shimen. Song eventually became a Buddhist priest and adopted various religious names. He was, according to some sources from Jixing in Zhejiang province, but others assert that he was from Huzhou in Zhejiang Province.

Terris Nguyen Temple

, born in California 1944, studied the art of Tibetan thangka painting in Nepal during the years 1966 to 1975. For the past twenty five years, the Nguyen Temples have been the official artists to the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa and Tsurphu Monastery, Tibet.

Sopheap Pich

is a Cambodian American contemporary artist. His sculptures utilize traditional Cambodian materials, which reflect the history of the nation and the artist’s relation to his identity.

Su Shi

, courtesy name Zizhan, art name Dongpo, was a Chinese scholar-official, active as a poet, essayist, calligrapher and painter during the Song dynasty. A major personality of the Song era, at times holding high-level political positions, Su was also an important figure in Song Dynasty politics, aligning himself with Sima Guang and others, against the New Policy party led by Wang Anshi, gaining some level of popular support through his actions, and also sometimes experiencing politically motivated reversals to his government career.

Liang Kai

was a Chinese painter of the Southern Song Dynasty. He was also known as Madman Liang because of his very informal pictures. He was born in Shandong and worked in Lin An. He is known to have studied with the master Jia Shigu. He was awarded the rank of Painter-in-Attendance at the court of Jia Tai where he was known for mastery in painting figures, landscapes, and other minor subjects. He was also awarded the Golden Belt, however he left it behind when he left his position at court to practise Chan Buddhism.

Tam Shek-wing

Tam Shek-Wing

, pen name Wong Ting Tze or Wang Tingzhi, is a Buddhist scholar, painter, poet, writer and social critic, the founder of the Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies Association in North America, and a professor at Renmin University of China.

Tawaraya Sōtatsu was a Japanese furniture designer and painter of the Rinpa school.

Tenshō Shūbun was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk and painter of the Muromachi period.

Tōichi Katō

Tōichi Katō was a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style and board chairman of the Nitten, a significant Japanese art conference. He and his older brother, Eizō Katō, have a museum dedicated to their works in Gifu, Gifu Prefecture.

Wang Wei (Tang dynasty)

Wang Wei was a Chinese poet, musician, painter, and politician during the Tang dynasty. He was one of the most famous men of arts and letters of his time. Many of his poems are preserved, and twenty-nine were included in the highly influential 18th-century anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems.

Tomita Keisen

was a Japanese painter in the nihonga style.

Toyohara Kunichika

was a ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock print artist. Talented as a child, at about thirteen he became a student of Tokyo’s then-leading print maker, Utagawa Kunisada. His deep appreciation and knowledge of kabuki drama led to his production primarily of yakusha-e, which are woodblock prints of kabuki actors and scenes from popular plays of the time.

Tseten Dorjee

, is a Tibetan thangka painter.

Unkoku Togan

was a Japanese painter.

Utagawa Kunisada II

was a Japanese ukiyo-e print designer, one of three to take the name “Utagawa Kunisada”. He headed the Utagawa school.

Utagawa Toyokuni

, also often referred to as Toyokuni I, to distinguish him from the members of his school who took over his gō (art-name) after he died, was a great master of ukiyo-e, known in particular for his kabuki actor prints. He was the second head of the renowned Utagawa school of Japanese woodblock artists, and was the artist who elevated it to the position of great fame and power it occupied for the rest of the nineteenth century.


Kitagawa was a Japanese artist. He is one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, and is best known for his bijin ōkubi-e “large-headed pictures of beautiful women” of the 1790s. He also produced nature studies, particularly illustrated books of insects.

Takashi Murakami

is a Japanese contemporary artist. He works in fine arts media as well as commercial and is known for blurring the line between high and low arts as well as co aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese artistic tradition and the nature of postwar Japanese culture and society, and is also used for Murakami’s artistic style and other Japanese artists he has influenced.

Kose Kanaoka

was a ninth-century Japanese artist, court painter of Heian (Kyoto).

Li Gotami Govinda

was an Indian painter, photographer, writer and composer. She was also skilled in ballet and stagecraft. She gained fame with her conversion to Mahayana Buddhism and travels in Tibet.

George Keyt

George Percival Sproule Keyt, was a Sri Lankan painter. He is often considered Sri Lanka’s most distinguished modern painter. Keyt’s dominant style is influenced by cubism. He also claimed to be influenced by his contemporary Henri Matisse and the ancient Buddhist art and sculpture of Nagarjunakonda, Sanchi and Gandhara. The Jataka tales formed a recurring theme in many of his works.

David Nichtern

is an American songwriter and television composer, soundtrack artist and Buddhist teacher of the Shambala tradition of Chögyam Trungpa.

Ding Yunpeng

was a Chinese painter especially of human figures and landscapes during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

Frederick Franck

Frederick Sigfred Franck was a painter, sculptor, and author of more than 30 books on Buddhism and other subjects, who was known for his interest in human spirituality. He became a United States citizen in 1945. He was a dental surgeon by trade, and worked with Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa from 1958 to 1961.

Gai Qi

, courtesy name Bowen 伯蕰, art names Qiliang 七郎 and Yuhu Waishi 玉壶外史, was a poet and painter born in western China during the Qing dynasty. As an artist, he was active in Shanghai. In painting his works mainly concerned plants, beauty, and figures. However he also did numerous landscapes. In poetry he preferred the rhyming ci form and added such poems to his paintings.

Gakuryō Nakamura (1890–1969) was a Japanese Nihonga painter and designer.

Gendun Chompel,Gendün Chöphel (1903–1951) was a Tibetan scholar, thinker, writer, poet, linguist, and artist. He was born in 1903 in Shompongshe, Rebkong, Amdo. He was a creative and controversial figure and he is considered by many to have been one of the most important Tibetan intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Gim Jeong-hui

, also known as Kim Jeong-hui, was one of the most celebrated practitioners of calligraphy, epigraphists, and scholars of Korea’s later Joseon period. He was a member of the Gyeongju Gim clan. He used various Ho (pen-names): Wandang (阮堂), Chusa (秋史), Yedang (禮堂), Siam (詩庵), Gwapa (果坡), Nogwa (老果) etc.. He is especially celebrated for having transformed Korean epigraphy and for having created the “Chusa-che” inspired by his study of ancient Korean and Chinese epitaphs. His ink paintings, especially of orchids, are equally admired.

Chen Hongshou

(1598–1652), formerly romanized as Ch’en Hung-shou, was a Chinese painter of the late Ming dynasty.

Gim Myeong-guk

, also known as Kim Myeong-guk, was a full-time painter of the mid Joseon period of Korea.

Guan Daosheng

also known as Guan Zhongji or Lady Zhongji was a Chinese painter and poet who was active during the early Yuan Dynasty. She is credited with being “the most famous female painter and calligrapher in the Chinese history…remembered not only as a talented woman, but also as a prominent figure in the history of bamboo painting.” She is also a well-known poet in the Yuan dynasty.

Han Gan

was a Chinese painter during the Tang Dynasty.

Hasegawa Settan

was a Japanese artist who lived during the late Edo period, born in Edo.

Hasegawa Tōhaku was a Japanese painter and founder of the Hasegawa school.

Hata Teruo

was a Japanese painter and graphic artist. In his works, he attempted to synthesize the nihonga and yōga styles. Many of his later works have Buddhist themes.

Hen Sophal

, born 1958 is a Cambodian artist noted for his contrasting black and white art often with social representations of contemporary society.

Chöying Dorje (1604–1674) was the tenth Karmapa or head of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Chanthou Oeur

Chanthou Oeuror Chakra Oeur also known as O’Bon, is a Cambodian painter and sculptor who has lived in the United States since the 1980s.


Utagawa , born Andō Tokutarō, was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, considered the last great master of that tradition.

Aung Khin

was a Burmese painter who became prominent in the Mandalay art world. He is well known as one of the foremost and earliest of modernistic painters in Burma.

Adarsh Shinde

Adarsh Anand Shinde is an Indian playback singer. He records Ambedkarite songs and Marathi language film songs.

Aizu Yaichi

was a Japanese poet, calligrapher and historian.

Amdo Jampa

, also known as Jampa Tseten, was a Tibetan painter.

Ananda Samarakoon

Egodahage George Wilfred Alwis Samarakoon known as was a Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) composer and musician. He composed the Sri Lankan national anthem “Namo Namo Matha” and is considered the father of artistic Sinhala music and founder of the modern Sri Lankan Sinhala Geeta Sahitya. He committed suicide in 1962, possibly driven by unauthorized changes to lyrics in a composition.

Atasi Barua

was one of the prominent Indian women painters of the 20th century. Her work has been exhibited in places like Colombo, Tehran, Cairo, Bangkok and Tokyo, apart from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Her paintings usually contain classical themes while her techniques also show a mix of realism. There are a lot of references to Buddhism that can be found in her art.

Aung Aung Taik

is a Burmese artist and one of the pioneers of modern art in Burma.

Aung Myint

is a Burmese painter and performance artist. He is considered a pioneer in experimental art, rejecting traditional romanticism and confronting social and critical issues through a range of distinctive styles and media.

Chang Ucchin

was one of the representatives of modern Korean fine art. Chang was born in South Chungcheong Province when Korea was still under Japanese colonial rule. He studied western art at Tokyo’s Imperial School of Art. He became a professor of fine arts at Seoul National University in 1954, but resigned to paint full-time from 1960.

Aung Soe

Bagyi was a Burmese painter renowned for his modernistic, semi-abstract art, which caused such a shock in Burma when it appeared that many called it “psychopathic art”. The name “Bagyi” is his phonetic spelling of the word “pangyi”, meaning “painting”, which he first added to his name in 1955.

Awataguchi Takamitsu

was a Japanese painter during the Muromachi (Ashikaga) period of Japanese history. He helped produce the Yūzū nembutsu engi (融通念仏縁起絵) housed in the Seiryō-ji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. He followed the Yamato-e school. Most of the works he produced were based and inspired by his Buddhist beliefs. He was also a court painter who painted five volumes of the Ashibiki-e scroll paintings during the Ōei period.

Ba Kyi

, FRSA was a well-known and prolific Burmese artist. He was initially trained in western painting, but in the post-World War II independence period, he initiated a revival of Traditional painting, borrowing from the Western training he had received as well as his own cultural heritage of painting styles and techniques.

Bada Shanren

, born Zhu Da, was a Han Chinese painter of ink wash painting and a calligrapher. He was of royal descent, being a direct offspring of the Ming dynasty prince Zhu Quan who had a feudal establishment in Nanchang. His master lineage’s accession was revoked following the last Ning Lineage King Zhu Chenhao’s rebellion in 1521, but the rest of the lineage was allowed to retain status in Jiangxi. Art historians have named him as a brilliant painter of the period.

Bae Yong-kyun

is a South Korean film director, painter, and professor. He is best known for his Seon(Zen)-influenced 1989 film Dharmaga tongjoguro kan kkadalgun. He also wrote and directed one other film, Geomeuna dange huina baekseong.

Chalermchai Kositpipat

is a Thai visual artist. Primarily a painter, Chalermchai’s works have been exhibited worldwide, and he is known for his use of Buddhist imagery in his art.

Chang Dai-chien

or Zhang Daqian was one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the twentieth century. Originally known as a guohua (traditionalist) painter, by the 1960s he was also renowned as a modern impressionist and expressionist painter. In addition, he is regarded as one of the most gifted master forgers of the twentieth century.

Hiroshi Senju

is a Japanese Nihonga painter known for his large scale waterfall paintings.

Hishida Shunsō

Hishida Shunsō was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter from the Meiji period. One of Okakura Tenshin’s pupils along with Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, he played a role in the Meiji era innovation of Nihonga. His real name was Hishida Miyoji. He was also known for his numerous paintings of cats.

Li Gonglin

, style name Boshi (伯時), art name Longmian Jushi, was a Chinese antiquarian, painter, and politician during the Northern Song Dynasty.

Kawabata Ryūshi was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style, active during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. His real name was Kawabata Shotarō.

Kanjuro Shibata XX

On-yumishi was twentieth in a line of master bowmakers and a kyūdō teacher of the Heki Ryū Bishū Chikurin-ha (日置流尾州竹林派) tradition. Beginning in 1980, Shibata founded over 25 kyūdōjō in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Kanō Hōgai was a Japanese painter of the Kanō school.

Kanō Masanobu was a Japanese painter. He was the chief painter of the Ashikaga shogunate and is generally considered the founder of the Kanō school of painting. Kano Masanobu specialized in Zen paintings as well as elaborate paintings of Buddhist deities and Bodhisattvas.

Kanō Motonobu was a Japanese painter and calligrapher. He was a member of the Kanō school of painting. Through his political connections, patronage, organization, and influence he was able to make the Kanō school into what it is today. The system was responsible for the training of a great majority of painters throughout the Edo period (1603–1868). After his death, he was referred to as Kohōgen (古法眼).

Kanzan Shimomura

was the pseudonym of a nihonga painter in Meiji through to the early Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Shimomura Seizaburō.

Karma Phuntsok

is a Tibetan painter.

Kawahara Keiga

was a late Edo period Japanese painter of plants, fishes, birds, reptiles, crustaceans, social scenes, landscapes and portraits at the Dutch Factory of Dejima, and at Edo, Kyoto and Nagasaki. His works can be found in museums in Japan and in the Netherlands, among others.

Kaii Higashiyama

was a Japanese writer and artist particularly renowned for his Nihonga style paintings. As one of the most popular artists in post-war Japan, Higashiyama was awarded the Japan Art Academy Prize in 1956 and the Order of Culture in 1969.

Kawanabe Kyōsai was a Japanese artist, in the words of art historian Timothy Clarke, “an individualist and an independent, perhaps the last virtuoso in traditional Japanese painting”.

Kikuchi Yōsai , also known as Kikuchi Takeyasu and Kawahara Ryōhei, was a Japanese painter most famous for his monochrome portraits of historical figures.

Kokei Kobayashi

was a Japanese Nihonga painter.

Isoda Koryūsai was a Japanese ukiyo-e print designer and painter active from 1769 to 1790.

Abhijeet Sawant

is an Indian singer, television actor, anchor and the winner of first season of Indian Idol. He was the first runner up of Clinic All Clear – Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar and finished third in Asian Idol.

Kōyū Amano is a Japanese Buddhist monk of Kōyasan Shingon-shū. He currently serves as abbot at Kōzō-ji (高蔵寺) in Okayama Prefecture and has been active as a missionary, artist, sculptor and radio personality.

Laki Senanayake

was a Sri Lankan sculptor and painter.

Kampō Arai was a Japanese Buddhist painter and reproduction artist. His given name was Kanjūrō (寛十郎).

Kagaku Murakami

was a Japanese painter and illustrator, noted for his numerous Buddhist subjects and advancement in the techniques of nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in the early 20th century.

Hla Myint Swe (artist)

Hla Myint Swe is an artist, photographer and author from Myanmar. He was born in Bamaw, Kachin State, Myanmar in 1948. He attended the Defence Services Academy, Pyin Oo Lwin and after graduating served in various positions as an army officer. As of 2010, he was head of the Public Relations and Information Department of the Yangon City Development Committee.

Irie Hakō

Irie Hakō, originally Ikujirō was a Japanese painter in the nihonga style.


Katsushika , known simply as Hokusai, was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Hokusai is best known for the woodblock print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Hon’ami Kōetsu

Hon’ami Kōetsu was a Japanese craftsman, potter, lacquerer, and calligrapher, whose work is generally considered to have inspired the founding of the Rinpa school of painting.

Hong Ren

Hong Ren, who is also known as Hongren, was a Chinese Buddhist monk and painter of the early Qing dynasty and a member of the Anhui school of painting. His birth name was Jiang Fang. After the fall of the Ming dynasty, he became a monk, as did his artistic contemporaries, Zhu Da, Shitao, and Kun Can. They protested the fall of the Ming dynasty by becoming monks. Hong Ren’s style has been said to “[represent] the world in a dematerialized, cleansed version … revealing his personal peace through the liberating form of geometric abstraction.”

Hong Yi

, born Li Shutong was a Chinese Buddhist monk, artist and art teacher. He also went by the names Wen Tao, Guang Hou, and Shu Tong, but was most commonly known by his Buddhist name, Hong Yi. He was a master painter, musician, dramatist, calligrapher, seal cutter, poet, and Buddhist monk.

Htein Lin

is a Burmese painter, performance artist, and activist.

Ikuo Hirayama

, was a Japanese Nihonga painter and educator. Born in Setoda-chō, Hiroshima Prefecture, he was famous in Japan for Silk Road paintings of dreamy desert landscapes in Iran, Iraq, and China.

Inshō Dōmoto was a Japanese Nihonga artist.

Jamie Muir

is a Scottish painter and former musician, best known for his work as the percussionist in King Crimson from 1972–1973.

Juran (painter)

Juran was a Chinese landscape painter of the late Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms and early Northern Song periods.

Jeff Banks

PPCSD is a Welsh fashion designer of men’s and women’s clothing, jewellery, and home furnishings. Born in Ebbw Vale, Wales, Banks co-founded the fashion chain Warehouse in the late 1970s. He later created and presented the television programme The Clothes Show, broadcast on BBC One from 1986 to 2000.

Jin Goto

is a Japanese nihonga and picture book painter.

Jin Nong

Born in 1687 in Hangzhou, Jin Nong (金農) became popular as a painter and calligrapher while living as a childless widower in Yangzhou in his sixties. His paintings of mei blossoms were in particular demand there. Heralded as one of The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, Jin favored the amateur scholar style. A nonconformist, he generally painted more traditional images laden with symbolism and preserved his independence by selling works in an open market, rather than adopting an individual patron. Later styles included Buddhist imagery. However, Jin was the first artist in the Chinese tradition to paint a large number of self-portraits and did earn money through the patronage of wealthy individuals in Yangzhou who, in addition to buying works, were possible publishers for his numerous writings. Jin probably understood these contradictions as he argued that living off of painting should not be considered dishonorable.

Jin Tingbiao

, courtesy name Shikui, was a Chinese painter of the Qing dynasty, who served in the court of the Qianlong Emperor.

Jiun Aoki

was a Japanese Buddhist monk and artist. He served as head priest at Daihon-zan Myōson-ji (大本山妙尊寺) in Mie Prefecture, Sōhon-zan Ryūkaku-ji (総本山龍覚寺) in Yamanashi Prefecture, and Myōkai-ji (妙海寺) in Yamaguchi Prefecture.


was one of the first suiboku style Zen Japanese painters in the Muromachi Period. He was probably also a teacher of Tenshō Shūbun at the Shōkoku-ji monastery in Kyoto. A Chinese immigrant, he was naturalised in 1370 and is known as “the father of Japanese ink painting”.

Junsaku Koizumi

was a Japanese painter and pottery artist.

Zhou Shuxi

was a female Chinese painter in Qing Dynasty. She was a native of Jiangyin, Jiangsu Province, and the second daughter of Zhou Rongqi. Her sobriquet was ‘Lady on the River’.

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