Chinese Peasant Painting

Just as the name implies, Chinese peasant paintings are decorative paintings and printed pictures created by peasants in China. These simple aesthetic works are much loved by rural and urban people, as well as attracting attention from abroad. Dongba people



Chinese Peasant Painting is both ancient and young. It is ancient because it originates from the thousand year traditions of embroidering, batik, paper cutting and wall painting. It is young because as a genre of painting it has emerged within the last thirty years. It appeared in the late 1950s partly as a result of political encouragement, took shape in the 1970s, but to the 1980s, it had demonstrated its vitality with unique charm.


What to Appreciate in Peasant Paintings


Dongba people

Chinese peasants paint their works by using bright colors in a simple and authentic style to express their good wishes, record their everyday lifestyle, and illustrate festivities. Some paintings are bold and unconstrained, some are strong and impassioned, while yet others are ornate and elegant. All of them have a naive charm, clear and full of the feeling of folk life. By appreciating these art works, you get a full picture of how these Chinese peasants live, how they think, and what they love.

Dongba people

Looking at those works at the first sight, impressionism may be the first thing to come to your mind. The similarities between the two are obvious: both have intense colors, simple and clear lines, and detail the feelings and understandings of the world except for the fact that these are not done by a Chinese Monet, but, surprisingly, Chinese peasants.

Dongba people

Dongba people

More than three quarters of the population in China are peasants, creators of this unique genre of fine arts in China. Without professional training in art academies, the peasants make these paintings to express their own joys, upsets, and ponderings. As a matter of fact, a lot of the painters are illiterate. When they cannot express themselves with written, they take painting brushes instead.

If you are becoming weary of watching the classic canvas and abstract modern paintings, these works provide you an alternative that strikes you with its extreme liveliness, vivaciously rural style, and bold imaginations.

by Xiao Xiao @

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