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(Fire drill, Different Codes…)
Ancient Chinese art
dates back as far as
6,000 years ago.
X-Ray Pig ca. 4,000 BC
Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Hangzhou
Ceramic Bowl ca. 3300–2050 B.C.
Neolithic period, banks of the Yellow River,
Chinese Archaic Jades ca. 3500-2000
Neolithic. Hongshan Culture
ca. 427-221 B.C.
Lady, Dragon and Phoenix
Man Driving the Dragon
Silk was invented in ancient China
long before paper. These are two
of the oldest ink-on-silk paintings
in the world. Paper was invented
during the Han Dynasty
(206 B.C.-A.D 200).
, ( pronounced CHOW- JEE )as the 11th
son of Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty, also
seen as the Golden Age in Chinese History (960-1271).
Zhao Ji was able to pursue his passion for the arts
therefore, he became an expert at painting, poetry and
calligraphy, and taught at the family painting academy.
However, by a twist of fate he inherited the throne and
became the next emperor of China:
Emperor Huizong spent most of his time reorganizing the Zhao family
painting academy, bringing leading scholar-artists into the palace and
many artists into the capital. The three aspects he imposed on the
Song Academy painters were: copying of the past masters; an
emphasis on realism, rooted in careful study; and adding calligraphy
and poetry to a painting.
No other Chinese ruler had ever devoted so much time to ceramics.
Emperor Huizong personally supervised porcelain production at the
Guan, Ru and Jun kilns, three of the Song Dynasty’s five most famous
kilns. Porcelain at that time was produced by the Ru kiln exclusively
for imperial use.
Huizong’s artistic talents and achievements were unparalleled, but as a ruler he was incompetent, he
allowed his advisers to make decisions which hastened the demise of the Song Empire. The country was
overthrown and Huizong was deported to northern Manchuria, where he spent the last eight years of his
life as a captive and died in miserable circumstances.
Over the next few centuries,
calligraphy, painting, poetry, and seal engraving developed and famous individual
artists began to emerge. Traditional Chinese painting subject matters
gradually divided into three types:
•Flower and bird paintings (includes all types of animal and plant life)
a printed manual of
compiled during the
Manual of the Mustard Seed
Chinese Brush Styles
There are two styles of traditional Chinese Painting:
•Gongbi Painting - Chinese Traditional Painting with meticulous detail
•Xieyi Painting- free style or more spiritual form
Different from oil painting, traditional Chinese painting emphasizes lines instead of color
and occupies an important position in the art world.
The wild flowers dance when brushed by my sleeves.
Reclusive birds make no sound as they shun the presence of people.
Ma Yuan, Song Dynasty (960-1279)
Album leaf, ink and color on silk, National Palace Museum, Taipei
In the 5th century A.D these six structures of Chinese brush painting
were written by the venerated master, a writer, art historian and critic in
6th century China, Hsieh Ho. All but the First Cannon can be learned
and practiced to the point of true accomplishment.
“ Spring Outing” by Zhan Ziqian (late 6th Century) -an exceptional painter of the Song
Dynasty, once part of the collection of the Song Court and the first traditional Chinese
(Breath, Spirit, Vital Force of Heaven)-
Producing Movement of Life
This is in the heart of the
artist, the overall energy of a
work of art. The whole
purpose of brush painting is to
express the Ch’i or life force of
the painter and for this reason
paintings are best done freely
and in one sitting. Without
Spirit Resonance, there was
no need to look further.
This is referred to as the
bone structure of the
painting-the stronger the
brushwork, the stronger the
painting. Character is
produced by a combination
of light and dark, thick and
thin, wet and dry, and
smooth and rough strokes.
Draw the object as you see it. In
order to do this, you must first
understand the form of the
object. This will produce a work
that is not necessarily realistic
but as you perceive it. The more
you study the object to be
painted, the better you will
express its nature, keeping in
mind that expression is superior
to beauty. In brush painting, the
merely decorative is thought to
be inferior to contemplative work.
In the hands of a master
painter, black is considered
a color and the application
of all color, including
layers, value and tone is
important. Colors are
always true to the subject
Space is used in
painting the same
way objects are
used. Space and
depth as well as
arrangement is an
integral part of
To the Chinese,
only when the
learns the time-
he branch out
into areas of
Confucius described five major hierarchical
relationships in a well-ordered
• Ruler and Subject
• Parent and Child
• Older Sibling and Younger Sibling
• Husband and Wife
• Older Friend and Younger Friend
A teacher and student connection— or Master and Disciple —is
viewed in the same way as a parent and child relationship.
Rules of Painting
"See the great in the small”
“See the small in the perspective of
Lu Ch'ai(Wang Kai), Master of Ch'ing Tsai T'ang, XVII-century
• To display brushstroke power with good brushwork control
• To posses sturdy simplicity with refinement of true talent
• To possess delicacy of skill with vigor of execution.
• To exhibit originality, even to the point of eccentricity, without
violating the li (the principles or essence) of things.
• In rendering space by leaving the silk or paper untouched, to be
able nevertheless to convey nuances of tone.
• On the flatness of the picture plane, to achieve depth and space.
This "Lu Ch'ang” is quoted from an early XI-century work of biographies of painters of the Five Dynasties
and Northern Sung Periods. These are modifications of the Six Canons.
1. P e r f e c t S k i l l s
2 . C o p y f r o m
M a s t e r s
3 . G o o b s e r v e ,
C r e a t e f r o m
m e m o r y.