sanpin 三品
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: sanpin. Lit. three classes. Three classes of Chinese calligraphy and painting. In ascending order, the Capable Class nouhin 能品 (Ch: nengpin), the Marvelous Class myouhin 妙品 (Ch: miaopin) and the Divine Class shinpin 神品 (Ch: shenpin). Each class can be subdivided into three grades upper jou 上, middle chuu 中, and lower ge 下. These three grades are also used to rank artists. The whole system thus is called the Three Classes and Nine Grades sanpin kyuutou 三品九等 (Ch: sanpin chiuteng). The sanpin probably are based on Six dynasties classifications that were codified by the Tang calligraphy critic Zhang Huaiguan (Jp: Chou Kaikan 張懐かん, act. mid-8c). Another category, the *ippin 逸品 (Untrammeled Class) usually is considered outside the sanpin.


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