/lit'euh rah"tee, -ray"-/,, sing. literatus /-rah"teuhs, -ray"-/.
persons of scholarly or literary attainments; intellectuals.
[1615-25; < L literati learned, scholarly people, n. use of pl. of LITERATUS. See LITERATE]

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Scholars in China and Japan whose poetry, calligraphy, and paintings were supposed primarily to reveal their cultivation and express their personal feelings rather than demonstrate professional skill.

The concept of literati painters was first formulated in China in the Northern Song dynasty but was enduringly codified in the Ming dynasty by Dong Qichang. In the 18th–19th century, literati painting became popular with the Japanese, who exaggerated elements of Chinese composition and brushwork. See also Ike no Taiga.

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Universalium. 2010.

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