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An Approach to the Appreciation of Chinese Paintin


An Approach to the Appreciation of Chinese Painting




Chinese painting, closely related to Chinese calligraphy and poetry, is one of the most important manifestations of Chinese cultural life and ideas.To get more chinese painting, you can visit shine news official website.
Pictorial art can be traced back to the age of cavemen. Color painting was mentioned in the Confucian classics. Even the use of oil-paint has been discovered on specimens of silk, lacquer or pottery of a very early date. But Chinese painting in the classical form and style was only made possible after the 3rd century B.C., when the finely-pointed writing-brush, which we Chinese prefer to call a "pen," was first invented and then gradually improved.

Chinese painting, like the painting of other cultural areas, began with figure-painting for the purpose of keeping a vivid pictorial record of important events, such as hunts, battles, processions and the like. We know that mural paintings of historical scenes and figures already existed during the Han Dynasty (B.C. 206-A.D. 220), and that there were painters in attendance upon the emperor at the Han court. As an instance of this, we may recall the story, well-known to every Chinese, of the court painter, Mao Yen-shou, who maliciously disfigured the most beautiful lady Wang Chao-chun in her portrait, which he was commissioned to paint in order to aid the Emperor Yuan (B.C. 48-32) to select, from among his court ladies, a bride for a powerful Hunnish chieftain. The tragic fate of this charming and talented lady occasioned by this unscrupulous act became subsequently a source of inspiration for poets, playwrights and painters alike.

In spite of the many descriptive records of Han paintings, there is none of them extant. All we can see today are the rubbings taken from stone carvings in sacred buildings or sarcophagi. But there is a famous piece of painting by Ku K'ai-chih on a silk scroll, dating from the next period, Tsin Dynasty (A.D. 265-420), which is still well preserved. It is named "Admonitions of the Imperial Preceptress", after its subject-matter. Although some art critics hold the view that this is a copy of Ku's original, executed by a talented painter in the T'ang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), it remains immaterial to those whose main interest lies in a study of the composition, style and technique of a great painter of human figures in the Tsin period.

It was during the Tang Dynasty that classical Chinese painting came of age. The preceding age, Sui Dynasty (A.D. 589-618), was too brief for the realization of any great artistic achievements. I once examined an unquestionably genuine Sui scroll entitled "Travelers in Spring" by Chan Tzu-ch'ien, a renowned painter of that period, and I could not help noticing immediately that the landscape part of this scroll was still in an immature stage. However, a brilliant period of cultural renaissance, especially in poetry and painting, was inaugurated as soon as the T'ang Dynasty took up its rule over China. The painting of human beings and animals alike developed in parallel lines with art of landscapes. The number of great masters was almost evenly in different fields, and some of them were skilled in every field. Among the figure painters, Yen Li-pen whose famous scroll "Foreign Envoy Arriving with Tribute" is now preserved in Taiwan and reproduced in this work, was a versatile pioneer in this field. Two distinguished artists, Chou Fang and Chang Hsuan, were generally recognized as masters in painting court beauties, while Wu Tao-tzu painted Buddhist and Taoist figures with simple but firm lines that convey a deep sense of serenity. Han Kan was -known as China's supreme painter of horses was in great vogue. Among landscape painters, the two generals Li Ssu-hsun and Li Chao-tao, father and son, ranked foremost, because they prepared the way for the florescence of Chinese landscape painting during and after the 8th century. They painted in a wide range of brilliant colors, especially blue and green, with exquisite taste. Another master of the same period, who founded a different school of landscape-painting in monochrome, was Wang Wei who was also a great poet. He painted human figures as well as landscapes, but it is in the latter branch that his influence and contribution became permanent.





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