Far East Painting – Chinese Painting – An Ancient Phenomenon

Far East Painting – Chinese Painting – An Ancient Phenomenon

Chinese Painting – History & Concept

The roots of Chinese Painting date back to the Neolithic Period, about 6,000 years ago, making it one of the most ancient artistries in the world. Despite the assumption about this Far East Painting style carrying the influence of many other cultures, there still are many elements, constant and unique to it. Chinese Paintings strongly reflected the time driven changes at social levels. Initially, the painting style was more ornamental, consisting of designs and patterns, rather than images as such. Associated with other primitive craft forms, such as carved jade, pottery, bronze ware, and lacquer, the Stone Age Chinese Pottery Painting styles included spirals, zigzag, dots, and animal patterns. The painting took a representational form since Warring States Period (403-221 B.C.). While, during Han (202 BC) to Tang (618-906) dynasties, human figures dominated the painting scenes, ‘The Great Age of Chinese Landscape’ spanned from Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms (907-960) to (960-1127).

The Details
There are two forms of Chinese Painting:
o Gong-bi Also known as Meticulous or Court style
o Xie-yi – Also known as Freehand Style, Shui-Mo, Watercolor or Brush Painting, is the most popular because:
– The images or items are drawn with few stokes
– These paintings not only pick up the correct shape of the object, but also manage to capture its spirit.

Derived from calligraphy, Chinese Painting is traditionally a Linear Art. The traditional painting style is called Guó Huà, meaning national or native painting. It is usually themed on landscapes, figures, birds, and flowers. The painting is mainly done on silk or paper, which further enhances the beauty of this art style. This type of work can be seen on Chinese walls, screens, and fans.

In the Chinese Painting, Landscape Artwork especially includes a great and esteemed collection, portraying nature, particularly mountains, bamboo, plum blossoms, and water. The earlier Ink and Wash Landscape Painting, which is done only with ink and not oils, required noticeable mastery over brush. The ones created through fine detailing and in ornamental styles however, used bright colors, such as green, blue, and red. Whether it is the stately pine & cypresses, vivid plum blossom, or the river, Chinese Landscape Paintings are elite in their structural combination. Other popular subjects for these paintings are fish, insects, and frogs. Through Landscape Painting, the artists easily express the poetic essence of nature.

Some of the elements in Chinese Painting include the use of colophons, seal, and different materials. The brushes used in these paintings have a very fine tip for drawing in various styles. Brush techniques include line drawing, texture, shading (cunfa), and dotting methods (dinfa). The different kinds of Chinese brushes are:
o Hsieh Chao Pi – A Crab Claw Brush, available in large and small sizes
o Hua Jan Pi – A brush, especially recommended for painting flowers
o Lan Yu Chu Pi – A brush for painting bamboo and orchids

Chinese painters have a peculiar style of holding their brush, which results in rhythmic stokes, thereby enhancing the visual beauty of the artwork. Interestingly enough, the brush stokes vary, as per the individual painting style of the artists.

The Artists
Gu Kaizi (344-406), Xie He (5th century), Wu Daozi (680-740), Jing Hao (910-40), Dong Yuan (934-62), Juran (10th century), Fan Kuan (990-1020), Yi Yuanji (1000-64), Guo Xi (1020-90), Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145), Ma Yuan (1160-1225), Xia Gui (1195-1224), Qi Baishi (1864-1957), and Wang Yani (b. 1975).