Ink wash painting
THE SUMI-E SOCIETY OF AMERICA, INC. is a non-profit educational organization founded by Professor Motoi Oi in to foster and encourage an appreciation of East Asian brush painting techniques through publication, workshop, lectures and exhibitions, to serve as a cultural bridge between East and West and to furnish information to all persons who wish to learn about this art. Ink wash painting is a type of East Asian brush painting that uses the same black ink used in East Asian calligraphy in different concentrations. Emerging in Tang dynasty China (–), it overturned earlier, more realistic techniques. It is typically monochrome, using only shades of black, with a great emphasis on virtuoso brushwork and conveying the perceived "spirit" or "essence" of a.
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Ink wash painting  is a type of East Asian brush painting that uses the same black ink used in East Asian calligraphy in different concentrations.
Emerging in Tang dynasty China — , it overturned earlier, more realistic techniques. It is typically monochrome , using only shades of black, with a great emphasis on virtuoso brushwork and conveying the perceived "spirit" or "essence" of a subject over the direct imitation. In China and Japan, but much less so in Korea, ink wash painting formed a distinct stylistic tradition, with a different set of artists working in it from those doing other types of painting.
Especially in China, it was a gentlemanly occupation associated with poetry and calligraphy , and often produced by the scholar-official or literati class, ideally illustrating their own poetry, and producing the paintings as gifts for friends or patrons, rather than painting for payment. In practice a talented painter often had a very useful advantage in climbing the bureaucratic ladder.
Korean painters were less segregated, and more ready to paint in two techniques, and also to mix areas of colour with monochrome ink, for example in painting the faces of figures. The vertical hanging scroll was the classic format; the long horizontal handscroll format tended to be associated with professional coloured painting, but was also used for literati painting. In both formats, paintings were generally kept rolled up, and brought out for the owner to admire, often with a small group of friends.
Some old and famous paintings have become rather disfigured by this; the Qianlong Emperor was a particular offender. In landscape painting the scenes depicted are typically imaginary, or very loose adaptations of actual views. The shan shui style of mountain landscapes are by far the most common, often evoking particular areas traditionally famous for their beauty, from which the artist may have been very distant.
Water is very often included. In Chinese painting , brush painting was one of the " four arts " expected to be learnt by China's class of scholar-officials. The school continued to paint in the traditional Japanese yamato-e and other coloured styles as well. The nanga meaning "Southern painting" or bunjinga "literati" style or school ran from the 18th century until the death of Tomioka Tessai — who was widely regarded as the last of the nanga artists.
In Korea, the Dohwaseo or court academy was very important, and most major painters came from it, although the emphasis of the academy was on realistic decorative works and official portraits, so something of a break from this was required.
Many painters made both Chinese-style landscapes and genre paintings of everyday life, and there was a tradition of more realistic landscapes of real locations, as well as mountains as fantastical as any Chinese paintings, for which the Taebaek Mountains along the eastern side of Korea offered plenty of inspiration.
In all three countries, brush painting remains popular with amateurs, and some professional artists, and continues to influence other modern styles of art. East Asian writing on aesthetics is generally consistent in stating that the goal of ink and wash painting is not simply to reproduce the appearance of the subject, but to capture its spirit.
To paint a horse, the ink wash painting artist must understand its temperament better than its muscles and bones. To paint a flower, there is no need to perfectly match its petals and colors, but it is essential to convey its liveliness and fragrance. In this, it has been compared to the later Western movement of Impressionism.
East Asian ink wash painting has long inspired modern artists in the West. In his classic book Composition , American artist and educator Arthur Wesley Dow — wrote this about ink wash painting: "The painter Every brush-touch must be full-charged with meaning, and useless detail eliminated. Put together all the good points in such a method, and you have the qualities of the highest art". Dow strived for harmonic compositions through three elements: line, shading, and color.
He advocated practicing with East Asian brushes and ink to develop aesthetic acuity with line and shading. Ink wash painting uses tonality and shading achieved by varying the ink density, both by differential grinding of the ink stick in water and by varying the ink load and pressure within a single brushstroke. Ink wash painting artists spend years practicing basic brush strokes to refine their brush movement and ink flow.
These skills are closely related to those needed for basic writing in East Asian characters, and then for calligraphy, which essentially use the same ink and brushes. In the hand of a master, a single stroke can produce astonishing variations in tonality, from deep black to silvery gray. Thus, in its original context, shading means more than just dark-light arrangement: It is the basis for the beautiful nuance in tonality found in East Asian ink wash painting and brush-and-ink calligraphy.
Fragment of ancient Chinese paper map with features in black ink, found on the chest of the occupant of Tomb 5 of Fangmatan, Gansu in China in , from early Western Han , 2nd century BC, 5. Inkstick ; carbon-based and made from soot and animal glue , China. Ink brush with golden dragon design, used by the Ming Wanli Emperor , China. Reconstruction of Emperor Qianlong 's — writing table, China. Brush rest in the shape of a praying mantis , China. The primitive version of an ink brush found had a wooden stalk and a bamboo tube securing the bundle of hair to the stalk.
Legend wrongly credits the invention of the ink brush to the later Qin general Meng Tian. Traces of the writing brush, however, were discovered on the Shang jades, and were suggested to be the grounds of the oracle bone inscriptions. The writing brush entered a new stage of development in the Han dynasty. First, it created the decoration craft of engraving and inlaying on the pen-holder.
Second, some writings on the production of writing brush appeared. For example, the first monograph on the selection, production and function of writing brush was written by Cai Yong in the eastern Han dynasty.
Third, the special form of "hairpin white pen" appeared. Officials in the Han dynasty often sharpened the end of the brush and stuck it in their hair or hat for their convenience. Worshipers also often put pen on their heads to show respect. Huzhou has been the center of Chinese brush making since the Qing dynasty. At the same time, there was many famous brushes in other places, such as Ruyang Liu brush in Henan province, Li Dinghe brush in Shanghai, Wu Yunhui in Jiangxi province. Ink wash painting is usually done on rice paper Chinese or washi Japanese paper both of which are highly absorbent and unsized.
Silk is also used in some forms of ink painting. Each brush stroke is visible, so any "wash" in the sense of Western style painting requires partially sized paper. Paper manufacturers today understand artists' demands for more versatile papers and work to produce kinds that are more flexible. If one uses traditional paper, the idea of an "ink wash" refers to a wet-on-wet technique, applying black ink to paper where a lighter ink has already been applied, or by quickly manipulating watery diluted ink once it has been applied to the paper by using a very large brush.
Most inksticks are made of soot from pine or oil combined with animal glue. Prepared liquid inks vary in viscosity, solubility, concentration, etc. Ink wash painting brushes are similar to the brushes used for calligraphy and are traditionally made from bamboo with goat , cattle , horse , sheep , rabbit , marten , badger , deer , boar and wolf hair. The brush hairs are tapered to a fine point, a feature vital to the style of wash paintings. Different brushes have different qualities.
A small wolf-hair brush that is tapered to a fine point can deliver an even thin line of ink much like a pen. A large wool brush one variation called the big cloud can hold a large volume of water and ink. When the big cloud brush rains down upon the paper, it delivers a graded swath of ink encompassing myriad shades of gray to black.
Once a stroke is painted, it cannot be changed or erased. This makes ink and wash painting a technically demanding art-form requiring great skill, concentration, and years of training. Guo Xi, Early Spring , signed and dated Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk National Palace Museum , Taipei. Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, Color on silk. Tokyo National Museum. Dong Qichang , Landscape Dong Qichang was a high-ranking but cantankerous Ming civil servant, who valued expressiveness over delicacy, with collector's seals and poems.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. East Asian painting style using black ink of different concentrations. A Cultural History of the Chinese Language. ISBN Enrich Professional Publishing Limited.
City University of HK Press. Encyclopedia of China: History and Culture. Kleiner 5 January Cengage Learning. Chinese brushwork in calligraphy and painting : its history, aesthetics, and techniques Dover ed. Mineola, N. OCLC Boya Renwu. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 May China Online Museum. Taipei: National Palace Museum. Archived from the original on 23 September Taoism and the Arts of China. University of California Press. The Shanghai Museum of Art.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. In Lopez, Donald S. Critical terms for the study of Buddhism.