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Home >> Painting Trivia >> Chinese Paintings

Chinese Paintings

In Imperial China, Chinese Paintings were the most respected form of art. Noblemen pursued this art in their leisure time and calligraphy was the highest and purest form of Chinese Paintings.

Beautiful writings on silk adorned the walls of the royal palaces. However with the invention of Paper, silk took a backseat. Chinese Painting has a rich and colorful history.

The History of Chinese Paintings

Textual and archaeological sources tell us that painting was practiced in China from very prehistoric times and various media were employed.  Early period of China's history saw the rise of wall paintings. However one can find hardly any remnants of these paintings.  Screen paintings on portable walls, of course didn't survive because of the temporary nature of the medium.  The Song dynasty took some concrete step to preserve the paintings -paintings in a variety of other more portable formats, such as the hanging scroll and the hand scroll, were collected and passed on to later generations in significant quantities. 

abstract art and is very interactive in that aspect.

These Paintings provide invaluable information about the lifestyle and the socio political conditions of those times.  Historians use them to understand the customs and ritual of those times. Furthermore, because paintings of this period have been hailed as the highest cultural achievements in Chinese history, they provide us with an understanding of the aesthetic values of those times, the very same aesthetic values that would shape the minds of generations of artists.


This ancient art, is widely practiced throughout China even today. Chinese words may be the vehicle of expression for this art, one does not have to be proficient in Chinese to appreciate its beauty. Calligrapy, after all is an abstract art and is very interactive in that aspect.

Chinese Painting in the Song and Yuan Dynasty

In this period many painters created highly detailed scenes of daily life. Painting as an art form also reached a very high standard of quality during the Song, which is considered by many to be a high point in the development of the fine arts in China.  Landscape themes began to dominate painting during this period, and would continue to be a favorite subject of artists up into the modern period.

New culture Movement in Chinese painting

The New Culture Movement was a major revolution in the history of Chinese art. Chinese artists started slowly began to understand and adopt Western techniques. Oil painting was introduced to China thanks to this very movement.

People's Republic of China, encouraged artists to employ socialist realism in its early years. Socialist realism was imported without any modification, and painters commissioned subjects and were expected to mass-produce paintings. However things were considerably relaxed by 1953, and after the Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956-57, traditional Chinese painting was somewhat revived. Peasant art also began to gain prominence and was encouraged. Idyllic depiction of rural China made for pretty pictures.

Modern China has Art schools teaching western technique of art and yet the artists of this country haven't forgotten their brilliant legacy and tradition. Modern Chinese painting is a perfect synthesis of tradition and modernity.

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