The Origins of Chinese Painting
With a history of over 6000 years, Chinese Painting blossomed around 221 BC during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, when it was pursued by the wealth people who had plenty of spare time. Then, Chinese Painting became popular around 581 AD since more and more people began to appreciate its beauty. During this time, people began to paint real subjects like trees and flowers in Chinese painting, and the “six principles” of Chinese painting were widely introduced till the 1300s.
Ink brush is the major instrument in Chinese painting. At first, Chinese painting brushes were made of goat, hare, or fox hair because these animals’ hair was suitable in producing brushes that were both soft and stringy. These brushes have the advantage of holding up against pressure. Brown wolf hair is also used in making brushes, especially harder brushes.
Oil or acrylic are is popular in Western art, while Chinese ink is used in traditional Chinese painting. The ink was produced by a mixture of pine soot and animal glue originally. In most cases, the ink comes in the form of thick black sticks and used in combination with an ink stone. The way it used is largely different from that of the printer ink used today. The painter will wet the ink stone and then grind the ink brush on the stone, wetting the stick, and making the ink run so that it can be used for painting.
Silk and Paper
Most of the artworks in ancient China were done on the silk paper. However, the silk paper was quite expensive so only very important documents and paintings will use such kind of paper. By the first century, when the early form of paper was invented, it became much cheaper to write or paint.
Traditional painting can also be done in albums and on walls, lacquerwork or other media. When looking at a Chinese painting, you may not initially realize its complexities. Actually, there is much to learn about traditional Chinese painting and its elements. And through appreciating the Chinese painting, you will gain a full glimpse of the traditional Chinese art culture.