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Styles & Periods
Chinese Painting

Painting in China is a tradition that spans over 2000 years, and the tenets of the practice are quite different, historically, than those of Western art. Whereas European traditions have primarily strived to depict space and form as they are perceived by the eye, that is, to depict reality, Chinese painting does not seek to recreate life precisely. Instead there is a focus on quality of line produced by the rich black ink, an escape from reality, and a mystical vision of nature. In the Chinese painting style, artists work with ink stones, ink blocks, water, and a bamboo brush. After grinding the ink in the stone, a black pool of pigment forms, and is applied to silk or paper. The finished painting is then embossed with the painter's carved seal. The highly ritualized method has not changed for centuries, and the same technique for writing is used. The driving forces behind Chinese painting are varied. Religious paintings have been informed by Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Chinese landscape paintings often explore the vast beauty of the country and depict the harmony between man and nature. Mountains, streams and pavilions stretch across the simple compositions, and often include a lone figure communing with the surroundings.


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