Chinese Paintings > Calligraphy Painting

Chinese Calligraphy Painting

As an ancient art, Chinese calligraphy painting (abbreviate it to Chinese calligraphy) is characteristic of Chinese characters, which history can be dated back to over 8,000 years ago. It is based on Chinese characters, following some laws to express calligrapher's emotion, personality, interest, artistic accomplishment, style and so on. Further more, it also could reflect the thought of calligrapher. Therefore, people often say that "the style is the man" or "calligraphy is the reflection of one's morality and moral character".

What is Chinese Calligraphy Painting?

Chinese calligraphy epitomizes the basic characteristics of all Chinese arts. Just like architecture and sculpture, in Western fine arts, are the basis of other formative arts, Chinese calligaphy and Chinese painting are considered as the head of Chinese fine arts, leading other art categories. When Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting are mentioned together, Chinese calligraphy comes before Chinese painting, such as "calligraphy and painting are of common origin (shu hua tong yuan 书画同源)", "heptachord-playing, chess, calligraphy and painting (qin qi shu hua 琴棋书画)", ect.

The relationship between Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting is very close. Especially after the advent of literati (or scholar) painting in Song and Yuan dynasties, painter lay stress on blending calligraphic skills into painting. Because the theory about handling brush is similar in both ink freestyle painting and running hand & cursive style of calligaphy. As for the folk arts and industrial arts, are also influenced by calligraphy to varying degrees. Calligraphy is hence hailed as the soul of Chinese fine arts.

Why Chinese painters
always write inscription calligraphy on Chinese painting?
chinese inscription calligraphy

Usually Chinese calligraphy painting refers to the works of Chinese calligraphy. But someone might regard Chinese calligraphy painting as the Chinese painting with calligraphic inscription. And a lot of people don't know why Chinese painters always write inscription on painting.(be endorsed/signed.)

Generally speaking, the inscription(Signed with Calligraphy and sealed) is obbligato/important for Chinese painting. It is equal to the signature of western painter, indicating the artist of the painting. The Chinese inscription calligraphy can be a topic, a few words of one's own, or a poem, a piece of prose.

Inscription can also play the role in bringing out the theme. Sometimes, when people appreciate one landscape painting or flower-bird painting, it might difficult to discern the artist's idea. Through inscription, it is easier for people to seize the painter's intent.

Why some Chinese paintings for sale on InkDance website don't be signed, sealed or endorsed in advance by the regular traditional ways of Chinese painting and appear nothing of inscription calligraphy in pictures of the paintings?
Because InkDance Chinese Painting Gallery would leave the signed words of these paintings on sale to our customers according to their personal requirements. So we don't sign or stamp it in advance. When our customers think and decide what the personal meanings to be signed. We will then ask the calligraphers to sign it.   (View Our Art Paintings for Sale..)

For a traditional Chinese painting, it seems more complete and more distinctive when it combine with poetry, calligraphy and seal. This combination not only enrich content of painting, but also intensify painting's artistic conception, giving people more aesthetic pleasure. And that is another characteristic of Chinese painting.

In the integrate process of these four forms of art, the combiantion of calligraphy and painting is much older than the remainning two. The reason is the similar tools and operation for Chinese calligraphy and painting.

The combination of calligraphy and painting contains two meanings. First, this two art forms are said to have the same origin. If the painter was skilled in calligraphy, or was a calligrapher as well, he will borrow the skills or the art of composition of calligraphy consciously or unconsciously when he drawing. Second, adding calligraphic inscription on painting. Thus, Chinese painting is blended with Chinese calligraphy, and it become the essential part of traditional painting, forming another formal beauty of Chinese painting.

Before Song dynasty, the inscription on painting is rare. Occasionally, few character only can be found in inconspicuous corner of painting. That is the small signature of painter. At that time, although some painter also inscribe poetry, it is not inscribed on painting. In Song dynasty, some painters as well as poet and calligrapher begin to inscribe one poem or one preface on their paintings. In this way, peotry, calligraphy and painting start on intergration. In Yuan dynasty, along with the development of literati (or scholar) painting, seal also joint them. So the four are inseparable as body and shadow. And this combination is widely used by painters of the day. Then it becoming better and approaching perfection day by day in Ming and Qing dynasties.

Because the ink and wash painting prevails in Yuan dynaty, and it only has two colors—black and white, that seems a little bit toneless. Then the red seal emerge because of demand. The red seal not just the mark of ownership, it has become the essential constituent part of painting, playing a role of enlivening the painting. Seal can be painter's, or appreciator's, or collector's.
The Red Seals

The traditional Chinese painting require the painter is of lettered and all-round. Thus, a good painter not only have to master painting, but also need to know literature, aesthetics, even philosophy and other things about natural science. In a word, only if painter try to achieve the rounded level he can create the high-level Chinese painting.

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