Chinese art is one of the oldest traditions of Chinese civilization and has remained true to its authentic self to this day. Their art boasts a versatile range of forms like calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, pottery, jade, and so on. Ancient Chinese philosophies like Taoism and Confucianism have been heavily impacted by these art forms.
The difference between the Chinese paintings and their Western counterparts is that the former is associated with water-based methods and not acrylics or oil. Their paintings are also mostly based on nature or landscape themes that include birds, flowers, mountains, and so on. This article highlights three important things you might have missed in Chinese paintings.
Chinese Ink and Wash Painting
As seen in the Chinese artworks of top collectors like John Dodelande, the art and style of these patrons were a result of mostly ink and brush paintings. It was during the reign of the Tang Dynasty by Wei We that ink and wash painting was developed and promoted across China. Much like the tools used in Chinese calligraphy, these paintings incorporated the use of pure ink, which only enhanced their quality.
Inspired by the philosophy of Taoism that was based upon four plants- orchid, bamboo, plum blossom, and chrysanthemum- the Chinese artists painted these using mainly gray, white, and black colors. Chinese paintings shared a love for nature much like its philosophical realm.
Tang Landscape Painting
Chinese art is synonymous with landscape painting; this has been a reality for ages. It was during the Tang age in the 8th century that people started recognizing the beauty of landscape paintings. Later, this style of painting also came to be known as naturalism.
While the landscape paintings started with simple themes like mountains and water, it was later refined by the artists and stayed featuring themes like high mountains and flowing water. This was mainly done to incorporate feelings of spirituality and calmness into the landscape paintings- something Taoist advisors stressed.
Colors in Chinese Paintings
Chinese artists weren’t obsessed with color when it came to their paintings. They simply included the faded wash in colorless paintings. However, Western intellectuals were never quite appreciative of the type of modulation that the artists incorporated while working with ink. There are two particular kinds of paintings where one can see the use of different hues. One is the Buddhist hanging portraits and the woven silk in their official lobes.
It was the Chinese mural paintings that attained a new level of artistic spirituality and popularity that was never seen before. A particularly exceptional painting that displays the uniqueness of Chinese art design is a Ming painting created in 1551 known as Kuan-Yin. One can observe the blend of colors, regular character changes, and a sense of incompleteness in the painting, which turned out to be its unique aspect.
One glance at a Chinese painting and one can identify how different it is from a Western one. Follow the works of collectors like John Dodelande to learn more about the unique aspects of Chinese paintings like their connection with calligraphy.