What Sets Chinese Painting Apart From Western Painting

by AVA
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Because of different instruments, materials and cultural background, Chinese paintings have their own image and content in comparison to other types of paintings. Unique appearance of Chinese Painting owes much to the use of the Chinese writing brush and the Chinese paper (rice and silk). There are four essential elements used in the creation of Chinese Painting, the brush, ink, paper, and the ink stone. Lacking any of them the job can not be done.

The most important factors for Chinese Painting are the special pedagogy, the close relationship with the painter's personality and the unique Chinese philosophy. They are trained not only to convey the objects but also express the mood and the spirit of the subject. The Chinese also believe that the painting is the expression of the painter's knowledge and temperament. In this way, Chinese Painting becomes something much more than art.

The most essential philosophy of China is the unity of Heaven, Earth and Human Beings. What the Chinese Painters are trying to express is not what meets the eye, but their attitude to the Great Nature. The Chinese painter has a profound love and admiration for nature. It is part of their culture, religious practices and their need to depend on nature to survive.

In relationship to human and animal figures, the Chinese painter utilizes the forms he finds in nature, such as ovals, circles, and geometric lines which are found also found in Chinese calligraphy. Thus, all Chinese paintings, whether they are landscapes or the human figure are painted with the same movement, rhythm, and harmony that is used when drawing the forms of calligraphy. Calligraphy is a form of art, even more revered and honored than all other painting.

In the same theme they may spend hours contemplating and drawing inspiration from the figures of nature such as humming birds with their fragile wings, the robust legs of the cricket, and the fascinating form of the prayer mantis. From the minor or simple creatures that are chosen as subjects of art work, we can see how they enjoy the nature and the love they devote to the most humble things.

The Chinese painter finds it offensive to contemplate and draw the human figure by itself. Human beings are part of the surrounding heavens and earth. They are all together. That is why Chinese paintings are simple in composition and full harmony, overall balance and peace with all of creation. They are interested in the mood and spirit.

Copyright 2004 © Ernesto Apomayta

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