Chinese Traditional Painting 國畫
Chinese painting is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. And the dates can back to the Neolithic Period (新石器时代) about six thousand years ago. The colorful pottery with painted animals, fish, deer, and frogs excavated in the 1920s indicate that during the Neolithic Period the Chinese had already started to use brushes to paint.
It was only during the Warring States Period (战国时期403-221 B.C.) that artists began to represent the world around them.
Artists from the Han (汉202 BC) to the Tang (唐618–906) dynasties mainly painted the human figure. Much of what we know of early Chinese figure painting comes from burial sites, where paintings were preserved on silk banners, lacquered objects, and tomb walls. Many early tomb paintings were meant to protect the dead or help their souls get to paradise. Others illustrated the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, or showed scenes of daily life.
Painting in the traditional style is known today in Chinese as guó huà (国画), meaning 'national' or 'native painting', as opposed to Western styles of art which became popular in China in the 20th century.
Traditional painting involves essentially the same techniques as calligraphy and is done with a brush dipped in black or colored ink; oils are not used. As with calligraphy, the most popular materials on which paintings are made of are paper and silk. The finished work is thenmounted on scrolls（卷轴）, which can be hung or rolled up. Traditional painting also is done in albums and on walls, lacquerwork（漆器）, and other media.
The two main techniques in Chinese painting are:
· Meticulous - Gong-bi (工筆) often referred to as "court-style" painting，is characterized by close attention to detail and fine brush work.
· Freehand - Shui-mo (水墨) loosely（松散的） termed watercolour or brush painting is marked by exaggerated（夸张的） forms and freehand brush work. The Chinese character "mo" means ink and "shui" means water. This style is also referred to as "xie yi" (寫意) or freehand style.
Freehand, however, is the fundamental approach to Chinese painting. It constitues an aesthetic theory which, above all, emphasizes the sentiments. Even in ancient times, Chinese artists were unwilling to be restrained by reality. A famous artist of the Jin Dynasty Gu Kaizhi (顾恺之c. 345-406) was the first to put forward the theory of "making the form show the spirit". In his opinion a painting should serve as a means to convey not only the appearance of an object, but express how the artist looks at it. Gu's views were followed by theories such as "likeness in spirit resides in unlikeness" and "a painting should be something between likeness and unlikeness". Guided by these theories, Chinese artists disregard the limitations of proportion, perspective, and light. Take Qi Baishi（齐白石）, the modern painter, for example. He does not paint shrimps, insects, birds, and flowers as they are in nature; only their essence has shown as a result of the artist's long-term observation and profound understanding of the subjects.
Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting are closely related because lines are used in both. Chinese people have turned simple lines into a highly-developed form of art. Lines are used not only to draw contours but to express the artist's concepts and feelings. For different subjects and different purposes a variety of lines are used. They may be straight or curved, hard or soft, thick or thin, pale or dark, and the ink may be dry or running. The use of lines and strokes is one of the elements that give Chinese painting its unique qualities.
Web for reference:
A very famous Chinese Painting classic work "The Mustard Seed Garden" 芥子園畫傳彩頁三本合集, here is the link.