Walter Pall wrote:
Good art in the East is good copying.
Conforming to the tradition of a certain school is certainly part of the Eastern way of practicing art. However, since I am an avid admirer of Japanese and Chinese landscape painting, I can tell you that there is a treasure trove of brilliant works out there that nobody can accuse of being copies of anything.
Take a look of the works of Kawase Hasui here at the Castle Fine Arts website gallery:
The composition, colors, the ingenuity of discovering beauty in everything we encounter on a daily walk through a small town - the talent of this artist to transport us into his world of wonderment is simply magical.
Take a look of Hasui's gallery, by clicking on the individual works.
Would you call him a craftsman who just copies the works of his teachers?
Or calling all Eastern artists just craftsmen may be the result of stereotyping and oversimplifying the truth.
BTW, you may recall that Van Gogh was so fascinated by the uniqueness and originality of Japanese woodblock prints that he copied himself Hiroshige's work (one that shows a bridge in the rain, if I remember correctly).