Traditional Chinese painting is distinctly different from Western
art. In a Chinese composition, each individual component - such as an
animal, tree, or rock - has its own vital force that influences each element
around it. The final balance of such elements thus creates an inner spirit
that fuses it together.
A harmonious impression of nature is created by Chinese landscape painters
through the careful placement of stylized water, mountains, rocks, and
trees. Traditional artists strive to duplicate a formula created by the
masters and passed on to successive generations that will re-create the
inner spirit of the ancient scene.
Traditional Chinese painting differs from Western art in other aspects
as well. For instance, shadows in a landscape
may define the object, but the scene is not limited to a particular time
of day. Shades of color express the characteristics of scenic elements,
but not how their shades relate to fixed sources of light. Embroidery
often merged with the art of painting, and famous masterworks were painstakingly
copied in colors of thread.
Ink brushwork is the closest of all Chinese art forms to calligraphy, which is regarded as a highly valuable art on its own. When added as a title or poetry to paintings and brushwork, the calligraphy is on an equal level with the artwork.
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painting - painted on paper, by Dr. Yu-Ying Lee.
--Artifacts on loan courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, Missouri
- running horses are depicted on a rice paper panel with a silk brocade
backing, 1960. Gift of General Yeh Taui-pei to President Eisenhower.
--Artifact on loan courtesy of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, Kansas
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