While visiting China, you will have the opportunity to learn traditional Chinese painting as well as calligraphy. While touring the ancient city of Lijiang, the paradise scenic city of Guilin, or visiting the noted mountain Huangshan, You will find here the most popular thing to buy is scroll of Chinese painting. You will also find it is extremely interesting and intriguing to paint with soft brushes. If you are a Chinese art lover, don’t forget to take some of these stuffs back home.
Chinese painting is also called traditional Chinese painting. Just as its name implied, Chinese painting is painted with traditional Chinese painting tools in accordance with Chinese aesthetic standard. Chinese Painting has developed a unique style.
Chinese painting is painted on rice paper or thin silk with brushes, Chinese ink and Chinese painting dye. In terms of topics, Chinese painting can be classified into three branches: human figures; Landscapes; flowers and birds. So the painting of ladies, the painting of mountains and the painting of insects and fish belong to the three branches respectively.
On painting techniques, one is traditional Chinese realistic painting characterized by fine brushwork and close attention to detail, the other is freehand brushwork.
The Legend of Chinese Painting:
In 1949, the earliest work was unearthed from a tomb of the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C). The work was a painting on silk of human figures, dragons and phoenixes. This is the earliest work on silk ever discovered in China, it measures about 30cm long by 20cm wide.
From this and other early paintings on silk, it may be easily seen that the ancients were already familiar with the art of the writing or painting, brush, for the strokes show vigor or elegance whichever was desired. Paintings of this period are strongly religious or mythological in themes.
Paintings on paper appeared much later than those on silk for the simple reason that the invention of silk preceded that of paper by a long historical period.
In 1964, when a tomb dating to the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D) was excavated at Astana in Tinpan, Xinjiang, a colored painting on paper was discovered. It shows, on top, the sun, the moon and the Big Dipper and, below, the owner of the tomb sitting cross-legged on a couch and leisurely holding a fan in his hand. A portrayal in vivid lines of the life of a feudal land-owner, measuring 106.5cm long by 47cm high, it is the only known painting on paper of such antiquity in China.
The Classification of Chinese Painting:
Chinese Figure Painting: The style for paintings that illustrates human figures. “Figure” in short, is a major genre in the Chinese Paintings. Chinese Figure Painting is generally divided into Taoist-and-Buddhist Painting, Female Images, Portrait, Genre Painting, and History-story painting, etc. Figure Painting strives for precise and lifelike depiction of the character’s personality, both outlook and spirit. In the contemporary age, Figure Painting stresses more on “learn from the nature”, assimilates the western techniques, and has made progresses in both modeling and coloring.
Chinese Landscape Painting: regularly features mountains, water or mist which are symbolic. Water and mist donate happiness and good fortune with the mountains represents long life. Some artists who like to include people, animals and homes into the painting are trying to convey a feeling of a fortunate long and happy life with the unison of soul and nature coming together.
Chinese Flower-and- Bird Painting: Flowers and birds, being the leading figures since Neolithic ceramists painted their works, have conveyed the metaphors and images of artists for more than a thousand years. For example, the pine trees represent the uprightness and immortality. Together with the bamboo and prunes, the pine trees are known as the three friends of winter. The orchid, a modest flower, is often used to describe the virtuous artists and scholars. Another much depicted group of flowers are the flowers of the four seasons. They are the peony-standing for the riches and honors; the lotus-coming out of the mire without being smeared and meaning for purity; the chrysanthemum-meaning for elegance, righteousness and longevity; and the prunes-meaning for bravery and the messenger of spring.