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Traditional Chinese Painting

Chinese painting, a national fine art of China, is celebrated for its long history and distinctive styles. It emphasizes the execution of lines by brush strokes without any perspective limitation in subject expression, thus initiating a special painting system in the world fine arts. Here is a brief introduction of the art.

Figure painting
It includes portraits, story painting and genre painting with figures as the main subject. Lines are the key point in the portrayal.

Landscape painting
Chinese landscape paintings can be divided into blue-and-green landscape, gold-and-green landscape, light-purple-red landscape and water ink landscape according to the colors that used in painting. The one without outlines is called Flower and boneless landscape.

Flower and bird painting

Flowers, rocks and birds are usually the main subject of this kind of paintings. Technically, there are elaborate style with colors and free style with ink.

Court painting
It refers to the works done by those professional painters employed by the royal court, or imitations of their works by other painters. This kind of painting is usually very elaborate and meticulous, sumptuous and decorative.

Literati painting
It generally refers to the paintings done by intellectuals and officials, who usually took painting as a kind of their spiritual sustenance, emphasizing more the scholarly execution of brush strokes and ink colors in expression than painting's likeness to real images.

Dan Qing (traditional Chinese painting)
The Chinese water ink painting actually developed from early "contour lines with filled-in colors" painting. "Dan Qing" literally means the mineral colors of cinnabar and azurite that used in those early paintings. So, people today use this term for the traditional Chinese paintings.

Free style painting
In comparison with the elaborate and meticulous painting, the execution of free style painting is done with more free and bold brush strokes.

Four masters of the Yuan dynasty
In Chinese art history, Wang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Ni Zhan and Wang Meng are the four great masters of landscape painting of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). They initiated the literati's water ink painting with their skillful brush strokes and exerted great influence on the late development of Chinese painting.

Four masters of the Ming dynasty
In the mid Ming period, a group of painters represented by Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Tang Yin and Chou Ying appeared in the Suzhou area. So, people later called the four artists "the four masters of Suzhou School". Shen Zhou and Wen Zhengming excelled in landscape paintings of Song and Yuan styles; Tang Yin was famous for his figure painting, and his landscape painting even surpassed his teacher Zhou Chen; and Chou Ying was very specialized in elaborate-style figure painting and blue-and-green landscape painting. Their artistic styles were very influential to the later painters.

Four monk painters of early Qing dynasty
Yuan Ji (Shi Tao), Zhu Da (Bada Shanren), Kun Can (Shi Xi) and Zhan Jiang (Hong Ren) were the four monk painters of late Ming and early Qing period. They broke with the traditional Chinese painting's conventions and developed their own artistic styles, and expressed their strong resentment against the Qing government through painting.

Eight eccentrics of Yangzhou School
Yang zhou was an important commercial port in the Qing dynasty. A group of painters made living there by selling their works of painting. There were eight famous ones as: Wang Shishen, Huang Shen, Jin Nong, Gao Xiang, Li Shan, Zhen Xie, Li Fangying and Lbo Pin, who painted mostly flowers and plants after the free styles of Xu Wei, Chen Chun, Zhu Da and Shi Tao. People called them "eight eccentrics" for their special and "unorthodox" painting styles.

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