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Four Monks

       The Four Monks were Zhu Da (朱耷), Shitao (石濤), Hongren (弘仁), and Kuncan (髡殘). They were painters from the late Ming to early Qing period, who became monks because they could not bare the fall of the Ming dynasty and the reign of the Manchus. The Four Monks expressed their frustration, confusion and feeling of loss in their paintings; they portrayed the complicated state of their inner world in their unique styles that differ from the old traditional patterns of the orthodox literati painters, such as their contemporary Four Wangs. Therefore they are also known as the individualist masters. The painting styles of the Four Monks exerted a great influence on the Yangzhou School and future generations of painters.