Choose languange China Travel Guide and China tour packagesChina Travel Guide China Travel Guide and China tour packagesvieje a china China Travel Guide and China tour packagesGiro giusto della Cina China Travel Guide and China tour packagesExcurs?o justa de China China Travel Guide and China tour packagesVoyage en Chine, Chine Excursions  China Travel Guide and China tour packageschina reisen China Travel Guide and China tour packages
China Travel Guide and China tour packages
Call us from USA: 415-287-0878
China travelog  |  China tours  |  Yangtze Cruise  |  City guide  |  China flight  |  China hotels  |  Travel tools 

Find a tour

Classic China Tours
Native Ethnic Visit
Three Gorges Cruise
Bike and Trek Adventure
City Tours
Cultural activities
Hong Kong


Click to see more details of our best-sell China tour packages
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Home : China Guide : Chinese Culture

Chinese Traditional Painting
"They were the oddest hills in the world, and the most Chinese, because these are the hills that are depicted in every Chinese scroll. It is almost a sacred landscape - it is certainly an emblematic one."

Chinese Traditional PaintingWhen looking at a Chinese painting, most visitors will remark upon the enormous differences from Western painting tradition. Foremost among the differences are the use of ink and silk paper as opposed to oil and canvas, the use of a silk scroll rather than a wood or metal frame as well as the general lack of verisimilitude to the original subject. Unlike most Western painting traditions, Chinese painting did not place great importance on depicting an exact likeness or replica of that which exists in reality, but instead emphasized the need to capture the spiritual essence of the subject. Whether it be a portrait in which the eyes were thought to reveal the true character of the sitter or a landscape in which the fluttering of leaves were thought to capture the hidden truths of nature, it was the rendering of the life force of the painting that was the ultimate goal of the painter.

Such ideas are revealed in the first theory on painting which was written in the fifth century by Hsieh Ho. Entitled the "Six Elements of Painting" they advocate that the painting:

1) Have a life of its own, be vibrant and resonant
2) Have good brushwork that gives it a sound structure
3) Bear some likeness to the nature of the subject
4) Have hues that answer the need of the situation
5) Have a well thought out composition
6) Inherit the best of tradition though learning from it

Chinese Traditional PaintingWhile very few paintings from this early period exist, from the Sui (589-618 AD) and Tang (618-907 AD) dynasties onwards, painting came to assume its predominant position in China's artistic tradition. Especially popular were portraits and scenes of the Emperor's life with envoys or court ladies, as well as scenes of nobles' lives found on tomb frescoes or Buddhist imagery found on grotto walls. Some of the greatest treasures of Chinese painting are the frescoes found on the walls of the 468 Buddhist grottoes in Dunhuang in Gansu province. For more than ten centuries, artists painted scenes from Buddhist sutras as well as portraits and scenes of the lives of the numerous people who traveled along the Silk Road.

During the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), a painting academy under imperial patronage was established, with two main styles of painting coming into emergence. The first style, known as academic painting, favoured bird and flower paintings depicted in minute detail. The second style, known as scholarly painting, favoured grandiose landscapes. Unlike Western landscapes which emphasized perspective and shading elements, Chinese landscapes stressed the brush stroke which could be variegated in thickness and tone. Also diverging from Western styles was the unimportance of man as figures were kept to a minimum and always depicted much smaller than the background landscape.

In the succeeding Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), a literati school comprised of scholar-painters, came into emergence. Painting was always considered the domain of the educated elite and at no other time was this ideal more apparent. The most widely painted subjects were the so-called four virtues of bamboo (a symbol of uprightness, humility and unbending loyalty), plum (a symbol of purity and endurance), chrysanthemum (a symbol of vitality) and orchid (a symbol of purity) as well as bird and flower paintings.

Chinese Traditional PaintingThe Ming dynasty (1368-1644) favoured a return to tradition as artists copied the masterpieces of early times. In fact, painting manuals were written which contained prototypes of a certain leaf, rock or flower which the artist could then copy and combine to create a new work. Unlike the West which always emphasized individuality and creativity, both in painting and literature, the Chinese greatly appreciated the need to master tradition before undertaking the new.

While traditional styles continued to dominate the work of painters of the subsequent Qing dynasty (1644-1911), increasing contact with the West brought about the inevitable influence of Western styles. The Italian painter, Guiseppe Castiglione once even worked under imperial patronage, thus introducing to his Chinese contemporaries such Western techniques as shading and perspective.   

Beijing Tour Packages     Page 1  2  3
Chinese Culture
Art of Kungfu
Bamboo culture
Chinese cart
Chinese Tea Culture
Traditional Chinese music
Chinese painting
Religion of Daoism
Religion of Buddhism
Religion of Muslem
Story of Baxian
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
China Quick Search
 Try Any word  
Need more informations?
Mr.   Mrs.   Miss
Remark: If you like any tour package, please tell us the tour code.
Home | Payment | About us | Contact us | Terms | Customer's Comment | Links | Travel Tips
When looking at a Chinese painting, most visitors will remark upon the enormous differences from Western painting

Partner sites:

China Travel China Tour Beijing Tour Shanghai Tour Guangzhou Hotel China Vacation Hong Kong Hotel Book China Hotel Canton Fair Business Yangshuo holiday Vietnam Tours

Expert in China travel services, China tours, China bike tours, Yangtze River cruise, China festivals, China trekking tour, China Minority Ethnic Culture tours. Copyright © 2004 China™ All rights reserved.