Basic Knowledge of Chinese Painting.

Basic Knowledge of Chinese Painting. Pain is very well-known to us. With out painting we can’t imagined our beauty of the world. Painting is one of the first recognized to expressed our think and taught of mind. Painting is also used as first language of the world. In the long history of development, Chinese painting has formed ins style and pursuit.

Most importantly, paintings are not true pictures of what you see with your eyes, but graphic expressions of people’s feelings, wisdom and morality. Therefore, Chinese painting is a window in which we can understand Chinese culture, Chinese people and Chinese ideology.

Basic Knowledge of Chinese Painting.

Chinese Painting

Chinese Painting.

Basic Knowledge of Chinese Painting. In ancient China, painting also had a name “danqing”. “Dan” () vermilion, or what we call “Chinese Red”. “Qing” (W) is a color between blue and green, which is often seen in Chinese landscape paintings. These two colors are the most common and characteristic in Chinese paintings, and thus become synonymous with painting.

The Origin of Chinese Painting.

When and where did Chinese painting originate?

Who created it?

There have been many arguments. It is generally accepted that “calligraphy and painting are of the same origin.” “Calligraphy” has two meanings. First it refers to characters written down in texts, meaning that Chinese painting and Chinese characters have similarities in origin. The Chinese characters have pictographic features, and many of the early ones look like a painting Secondly, calligraphy means writing the Chinese characters and so is closely related to Chinese painting which, like calligraphy, uses both brush and ink, and has similarities in artistic expression.

Materials for Chinese Painting:

The painter, like the calligrapher, paints with a brush and ink. But in addition to black ink, Chinese painting has many other colors, such as red, yellow, cyan, green, and white. Some of these colors come from natural ores and some from plants.

There are also two main sources of painting canvas in Chinese painting:

One is paper, the most famous being the Xuan Paper; the other is made of textiles, such as different kinds of silk and fabric. In addition, there are murals, brick paintings, porcelain paintings, etc. Of course, the most popular paintings are on paper and silk. Most of the Chinese paintings we see today are paper and silk paintings.

The Basic Forms of Chinese Painting Scroll.

Painting is the most characteristic form of Chinese painting. What isspecial about it is that the painting is not fixed in a frame, but slowly unfolds. There are two forms of scroll painting. One is a hanging scroll, opening from top to bottom and hanging on the wall. The other is a horizontal roll, held in thehand and unfolding from right to left, hence also called a “hand-scroll”. When viewing a scroll painting, hold it in your hands, and you can freely decide how long you want to see each scene; stop and go until the whole picture is presented in front of you.

Take “Along the River during the Qingming Festival” as an unique example. It is the work of the Northern Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) and one of the most famous scrolls in China. The painting details the lively social life and beautiful natural scenery of the capital city of Bianjing (now Kaifeng, Henan Province) during the Qingming Festival. There are many characters and scenery in the painting, which warrants a magnificent view. When we look at the painting, as the scroll unfolds little by little, we seem to have returned to a thousand years ago, following the artist’s footsteps, watching the life in the city.

In addition to scroll painting, another common form of Chinese painting is the album, which is like a book. People can open it and watch it page by page. Styles of Chinese Painting The two basic styles of Chinese painting are fine brushwork and freehand brushwork. Fine brushwork emphasizes meticulous painting as far as possible to show the details of things, and the colors are also bright. Freehand brushwork, on the contrary, emphasizes the use of simple lines to draw the characteristics of things; in addition to black ink, there is no other color.

Artistic Features of Chinese Painting.

The Power of the Lines.

Chinese painting is known for its “beauty of the line”. Painters are good at using the changes of the lines to express the posture of the objects. For example, in the Tang Dynasty painter Wu Daozi’s “Heavenly King Sending Sons” the cloth belt fluttering indicates a feeling of wind blowing. Wu Daozi (circa 680-760) is therefore also known as “Wu belt in the wind”. The lines of Chines painting also have a sense of rhythm. When combined, there is a resemblance dancing, as in the flying fairies in the Dunhuang murals. In reality, things themselves have no lines. For example, in a portrait, shaped line is used to represent the person’s face. But important note is that, In fact; there is no such line around the face. It can be seen that the artist uses lines not to draw the same as real objects, but to grasp the most characteristic parts of things.

Scattered Perspective.

Perspective is a skill of painting. When painting, the painter draws objects on plane according to a certain spatial relationship. This method is called perspective Western painting generally uses “focus (one-point) perspective”: Like taking pictures, the painter stands in a fixed spot without moving, and draws the scenes he sees. Chinese painting is different, and painters can draw from different spots. In this way, the painted picture does not have one focus, so we call it “scattered perspective” (flat or multi-point perspective).

“Scattered perspective” can be used to draw thousands of miles of scenery, as if it were seen on a train; we can also draw high mountains, thousands of feet up and down, as if they were seen in an elevator; we can also draw a complicated story that arranges different scenes in a chronological order on a painting. For example, “Han Xizai’s Night Banquet” is one of the most famous paintings of ancient China, portraying the scene of guests attending the banquet at the home of Han Xízai, a minister of the Southern Tang Dynasty. Five different scenes (listening to the Pipa, watching a dance, resting, enjoying a band performance, and leaving the banquet) appear in the same plane in succession, separated by screens but connected to make a complete story.

The World of Imagination.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, there was an emperor named Zhao Ji (1082-1135). One day, he wrote a poem, “A spring walk even makes horseshoes fragrant,” and let the students of the Painting Academy make a painting for the poem. “Painting is for people to see, but how can you paint a fragrance?” This question puzzled many of the students. One of the students made a painting, which earned him everyone’s admiration. In the painting, horses are running but there are no flowers, and butterflies dance with the horse’s hooves. Even though the picture is very simple, still at first glance you can feel the fragrant flowers.

Chinese painting emphasizes the artist’s imagination. Under the artist’s brush, there is nothing that cannot be drawn. Paintings not only have colors, but also tastes, sounds, aromas and so on. The picture is limited, but the imagination is infinite. In this way, painting breaks through its own limitations.

For another example, there is a famous painter in modern China called Qi Baishi (1864-1957). One day, his friend proposed a topic, “Frog croaks ten miles out of the mountain spring,” and let him paint it. He painted it like this: In a rapid-flowing stream in the mountain, six tadpoles shake their small tails and swim in the direction of the current. There are no frogs in the painting, but we seem to “listen” to the croaks of frogs coming from afar Chinese painting does not seek to draw all the details, but aims to simplify the details as much as possible, leaving room for imagination. For example, if you paint a night scene, there will be no bright or dim light, just add a bright moon or a candle to the background. When drawing landscapes, you may leave many blank spaces between the rocks, and the blanks represent the clouds and mist.

Therefore, viewing Chinese paintings also requires us to give full play to our imagination, starting from the feeling of the picture, to understand the beauty that the painter wants to convey.

Three Major Themes of the Chinese Painting and the Representative are Works.

There are three major themes of Chinese painting: landscapes, flowers and birds, and human figures. In the eyes of the painter, everything in the world, no matter how big or small, has its own life. Landscape paintings, flowers-and-birds paintings reflect people’s love for nature, and the idea that people and nature live in harmony.

Landscape Paintings.

Landscape paintings had the highest status in ancient China. Mountains and water are not only scenery, but also related to Chinese philosophy. Confucius said, “Benevolent people are happy with mountains and wise people are happy with water.” Landscape represents people’s moral pursuit. In addition, the mountains are quiet, the water is moving; the mountains are hard, the water is soft; therefore, the “landscapes” reflect the concept of complementing Yin and Yang in ancient China. “Landscapes” also have political implications because they represent rivers and mountains (that is, the country).

There are two main types of landscape paintings. One is ink-and-wash landscape, with only the color of ink and no other color. The other one is blue- and-green landscape, with the colors cyan and green added onto the ink and wash painting. The people in the landscape paintings are very small, and they are often indiscernable without careful observation. The reason is that Chinese people believe that people are part of nature. Nature is great, people are small, and the happiest thing for people is to melt into nature.

Appreciation of Famous Paintings.

“Thousands of Miles of Rivers and Mountains” by Wang Ximeng (1096-1115) of the Northern Song Dynasty is a long scroll of blue-and-green mountains and rivers. The whole painting is very rich in color: First all the objects are drawn with ink and then the color is added. The sky is dark blue at the top and gets lighter moving down, while the water is green gray. There are rolling mountains, mighty rivers, houses, bridges, figures, and trees. They are delicately painted and look magnificent as a whole. It shows the painter’s love and good wishes for the country “Fuchun Mountain Residence” is the work of Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) a painter of the Yuan Dynasty, and is regarded as a model of landscape painting by later generations. This painting depicts the scenery of the early autumn on both sides of the Fuchun Mountain in Zhejiang. The rivers, trees, mountains, villages, bridges, fishing boats, etc. in the paintings are drawn in a simple way, and the ink is also very light, giving the whole painting a feeling of peace.

Figure Paintings.

Figure paintings appeared very early in China. They feature a wide range of objects, including immortals, emperors, ladies, and ordinary people. Chinese figure paintings have the following outstanding characteristics: First, there are only characters in the painting, with no backgrounds. Second, the artist’s purpose is to express the character’s posture, not to pay attention to the proportion between the various parts of the human body. Third, there is no shadow on the face of the character.

Figure paintings are also divided into two categories. One is figure painting in fine brushwork: The first step is to draw the outline of the person with a brush, and then add the color. The other is freehand figure painting in freehand brushwork, which only draws the lines of a person with simple brush lines and black ink.

Emperor Taizong Receiving the Tibetan Envoy”, the work of the famous Tang Dynasty painter Yan Liben (circa 600-673), portrays Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty) meeting the Tubo (now Tibet) envoys. The image of the emperor is much larger than the palace ladies around him. That is also a feature of Chinese figure paintings. The higher the status, the larger the person is drawn. Facing the emperor are three people: the official of the Tang Dynasty in red clothes, who is tall and heavily bearded, followed by the envoy, who behaves deferently and looks quite exotic in his face and dress, and finally the translator, who has a nervous face, Different characters have different facial expressions, which are vividly painted.

“Li Bai’s Chant” is a work of Liang Kai (circa 1140-1210), a painter of the Southern Song Dynasty. The picture shows Li Hai, a great poet of the Tang Dynasty, singing poems while walking. The painter removes all unnecessary details and draws the poet’s image in the most concise way. With only four or five lines, the characters’ clothes (wide sleeves) and movements (walking slowly with hands behind his back) are displayed.

Flower-and-Bird Painting.

Flower-and-bird paintings portray not only flowers and birds, but also common animals and plants. Flower-and-bird paintings have formed two traditions over the course of the long history of development: One is fine sketching, that is, drawing like in real life, hopefully to teach people about the animals and plants around them; the other is freehand sketching, that is, grasping the relationship between animals, plants and people, in order to express people’s spiritual pursuit and yearning for a better life. Therefore, many images in flower-and-bird paintings have special cultural implications. For example, there are the most famous “Four Noblemen” paintings. “Four Noblemen” refers to four kinds of plants plum, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemums. “Nobleme originally refers to people with moral integrity. Why do these four plants have the same morality as people? Plum, growing in the cold winter, symbolizes streng orchid, growing in the deep valley, denounces fame and fortune; chrysanthemum with light color and aroma, indicates nobleness, and bamboo, which is hollow and straight, represents modesty and integrity. In addition, there some images to express the good wishes in people’s lives For example, bats represent happiness and peonies represent wealth, etc. are appreciate the flower- and-bird paintings, you must not only see the image of the painting, but also see the culture behind the image.

Appreciation of Famous Paintings.

“Hibiscus Pheasant” is the work of Zhao Ji, or Emperor Huizong of the Northern Song Dynasty. In the painting, a golden pheasant flies down on the hibiscus branch, and there are a few chrysanthemums in the lower left corner of the painting, indicating autumn scenery. The whole painting looks rich and elegant.

At the top right of the painting is a poem written by Zhao Ji, saying that the painter’s purpose is to convey man’s moral pursuit through the pheasant. It is believed that the pheasant represents the five ethics of man: There is a crown on its head, indicating that it is cultured; there are claws on its feet, indicating military might, it is brave when facing its enemy; when there is food, it calls others to eat together, a symbol of friendship, it always crows at daybreak, due to its trustworthiness.

Basic Knowledge of Chinese Painting.

Wuhan Institute of technology

Natural beauty of China.