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Chinese Ink Painting

Chinese ink paintings, also known as shui-mo hua, are most commonly called ink and wash paintings. In ink and wash paintings, generally black ink is the only ink used. This is the same ink that is used in Chinese Calligraphy.

Chinese ink and wash paintings originated during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The style really grew in popularity during the Song Dynasty. It was this growth in popularity that led to its advancement as an art form.

As in Chinese calligraphy, artists grind an inkstick over an inkstone to make ink. To prepare ink in this fashion, a few drops of water are placed in the inkstone, and the inkstick is ground in a circular fashion until the desired concentration is reached.

Ink and wash brushes are similar to the brushes used in Chinese calligraphy.  The most common material used to make the body is bamboo. More exotic bodies are made from mottled bamboo, ivory, jade, red sandalwood, silver, and gold. The brush head is made from animal hair or fine bird feathers.

Chinese Ink Painting

Common brushes are made from hair from buffalo, mouse, pig, rabbit, sheep, weasel, and wolf.  More expensive brushes are made from deer, fowl, tiger, and yellow weasel.

Because Chinese ink and wash paintings have been popular for such a long time, there are many outstanding artists which were viewed as masters of this style. The most notable shuimo hua artists are Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Daqian Jushi, Bada Shanren, Su Shi, Gao Xingjian, and Mi Youren. The ink and wash paintings made by these artists have stood the test of time. These artists would be the best to study for someone new to Chinese ink paintings.

 
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