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Characteristics of Chinese Painting

Chinese painting, known well as Guohua, has its own system in the art field of the world and becomes the main stream of orient painting system. It is done with a writing brush dipped in black or colored ink and always drew on Xuan paper or silks. Therefore, compared with western painting, Chinese painting has developed a unique style and has its own characteristics.
Firstly, Chinese painting is very special in using writing brush and coloring. Due to the using of writing brush and ink, “brush and ink (bimo笔墨)” became an important term in the theory of Chinese painting techniques. Speaking from the point of Traditional Painting Techniques,  gongbi and xieyi are two main styles. The so-called “bi笔"means different skills in using writing brush.The head part of writing brushes  includes tip, belly and root. Lines vary with  the using of different parts.Consequently, the basic techniques of using the brush playes an important role in learning  traditional Chinese painting.Moving brushes quickly or slowly, lightly or heavily, and lifting or pressing in a flexible way,then Gou钩、le勒、cun皴 and dian点 appears. In traditional Chinese landscape painting, cun is a method of showing the shades and texture of rocks and mountains by light ink strokes.The so-called “mo(墨)” means Chinese painters uses ink as paint and skillfully use hong(烘), ran(染),po(泼) and ji(积). Through the change of chroma,ink can be classfied into five types: jiao焦,nong浓,zhong重,dan淡,qing 清.
Secondly, in the composition of a picture, Chinese painting does not be constrained by focus perspective but moving point perspective is used very often, which helps to enlarge the visual field and break through the limit of time and space.Taking famous landscape Mount Lu drew by Jing Hao in five dynasties for example; in this panorama wash painting, many objects are organized in a complete tableau skillfully, like high mountains and lofty hills, waterfalls and springs, houses with courts, passersby and boats. What a magnificent sight! If you see the Night Revel of Han Xizai, you will find Chinese painters will put events in different time and space together in one painting. Moreover, when come to Along the River During the Qingming Festival,prosperous scene at the two banks of Bian River is in front of your eyes because of moving point perspective. A totally flourishing capital of northern Song Dynasty, both with streets and markets inside the city and outskirts, appears.Suppose you are in the painting, no matter where you stand, the objects you see are approximate in scaling. However, many places actually are impossible to be included if according to the  focus perspective.
Thirdly, Chinese painting is a union of poem, calligraphy, painting and seal. When a connoisseur starts to appreciate Chinese painting, all these four elements will be included. Before Song Dynasty, it was very rare to inscribe on the paintings. If a painter did this, which would be his name in short characters. Until Yuan Dynasty, with the continuous development of "literati painting" (文人画, wenrenhua), seals also joined into the paintings. From then on, poems, calligraphies, paintings and seals, these four elements combined very well just like quadruplets. Without any question, this new art form gained favor from painters at that time immediately. When came to Ming and Qing Dynasties, "literati painting" monopolized art circles, making the new art form become better and approach perfection day by day.
A short sentence to distinguish the difference between Western painting and Chinese painting might be like this: Western painters think highly of the vivid emersion of objective things, while, Chinese painters pay more attention to the internal spirit of objects and expressions of painters’ emotions.That 's why when ancient Chinese people talked about paintings, they said:” For a good painting, it is better to let people feel happier than to win highly praise only, but still can not catch up with the painting that can make people think.”


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