Nanga is a term which came from Chinese Southern Sung paintings, and the term is unique to the Japanese language. It is also called bunjinga (literati painting). Nansoga (Southern Sung painting) is an idea which was created from the name of a Zen school by a theorist who lived in the Ming dynasty during the 17th century, and it has nothing to do with geographical north and south. Although Nanga is an abbreviation of Nansoga, it is different from the idea circulating in China, and in Japan, the term refers to a school of painting which was generated on the basis of the Chinese paintings during the 17th - 19th centuries which were imported via Nagasaki city, text books of painting, theories of painting, block prints, etc. The meaning of 'bunjinga' is also different from that in China, and it indicates simply a style of painting. Some painters learned under the Qing painters who came to Nagasaki.
It does not aim at realism, but at 'describing feelings,' and makes it ideal to 'be filled with lively grace and dignity.'
It was widely liked from the latter half of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century (the first half of the Meiji period).
The representative painters were Nankai GION (1676-1751), Hyakusen SAKAKI (1698-1753), Kien YANAGISAWA (1706-1758), IKE no Taiga, Buson YOSA, Gyokudo URAGAMI, Mokubei AOKI, Buncho TANI, Kazan WATANABE, Chikuden TANOMURA, Chinzan TSUBAKI and Tessai TOMIOKA.