Wu Guanzhong: a Fusion of Western and Oriental Painting

Wu Guanzhong is one of the most well renowned contemporary Chinese artists in the world. His paintings are now sold by prestigious auction houses such as Christie’s for hundreds of thousands of dollars. What makes him so special compared to other talented artists of his time is his use of colour, deeply influenced by European modernism. His works combine traditional Chinese ink techniques with Western oil painting. He liked to describe himself as ‘a snake swallowing an elephant,’ — the snake symbolising the Chinese artist in him, the elephant representing Western influence.

Wu Guanzhong photographed by Chua Soo Bin in 1988

Wu Guanzhong’s life was in many ways fascinating. He was  born in 1919 in Jiangsu province in a modest but educated family. His father was a school teacher and hoped that Wu would follow his steps. But fate had something else planned for him.  He dropped out of his engineering course at university to attend the National Hangzhou Academy of Art. He studied under the guidance of important artists such as Lin Fengmian, often considered the father of Chinese modern painting.

Lin Fengmian, Willow Scenery, ink and colour on paper, 1960s

The years that defined the most his later career and success were those spent in Paris. He studied for 3 years at one of the most prestigious academies in France. He greatly admired Post-Impressionists such as Van Gogh, Pissarro and Cézanne. His study abroad trip also made him appreciate formalism, an style of expression that favours the purely visual aspects of an artwork rather than its narrative or accuracy to the real world. Wu would later apply this principle to his art and push the boundaries of form and colour.

The Hua mountains at sunset, ink and colour on paper, 1997

When he came back from France, he taught at several Beijing universities and academies until his life changed drastically in 1966. Because of the Cultural Revolution, his wife and him were sent to the countryside to work in the fields. He could not paint during this time and had to destroy most of the oil paintings he had done after his trip to Europe.

But when ten years later Wu went back to painting, he did not immediately start using oil colours again, instead he used ink wash painting. Wu was ready to revolutionize this ancient technique. As he put it “brush-and-ink is misunderstood as being the only choice for life and the future path of Chinese painting, and the standards of brush-and-ink painting are used to judge whether any work is good or bad.” He mixes black ink with colours.

Guo Xi, Early Spring, ink on paper, 1072

He takes inspiration from famous traditional painters like Guo Xi. Let’s take a look at the following artwork. Even though Wu depicts a mountainous setting and a waterfall like in “Early Spring”, the results are completely different. Wu dilutes ink to make it grey and uses black just for some details, and leaves plenty of space to play with colour. With just a few visible brush strokes he skilfully paints the scene, just like Impressionists.

Plunge waterfall at Tiantai mountain, inkn and colour on paper

In later work, his Western studies and oil-painting background show through even more. He distances himself from traditional Chinese painting in two ways. Firstly, his subjects become more and more abstract. His portrayal of the Lion Grove Garden in Hangzhou has been compared to Pollock’s work, his use of colour and form can be assimilated to Abstract Expressionism. Unlike Chinese painting, colours here are used in a non-referential way, i.e. they do not reflect reality. The splotches of colour in this and other paintings are an example of this.

Lion Woods, ink and colour on paper, 1983
Jackson Pollock, Number 1, oil on canvas, 1949

The second way he differs from traditional Chinese painters is the choice of the subjects of his painting. Inspired by the geometrical lines of Mondrian, architecture becomes central in his works. To a Western eye this probably does not seem like such an experimental move. However, in traditional compositions elements of architecture were always just small details in a vast natural landscape.

Twin Swallows, ink and colour on paper, 1981

The minimalism and attention to perspective of “Twin Swallows” were ground-breaking at the time. The only detail that provides an idea of the scale are the two birds flying over the houses.

Zhouzhuang, oil on canvas, 1997

His style of painting is in continuous evolution. When it comes to architecture, he loves experimenting. He can be a realist and paint Zhouzhuang village exactly as it is or he can immerse himself into abstraction, like in “Chinatown”.

Chinatown, ink and colour on paper, 1993

As the tenth year of Wu Guanzhong’s death approaches in June, it is important to celebrate one of the greatest painters of our time. He did not only push the boundaries of Chinese traditional painting, but also had a significant impact on the way the Western art world viewed Chinese painting.

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Gunpowder Artist

By Tom Booth

When you hear the word ‘gunpowder’ what images immediately spring to mind? Perhaps you think of old-fashioned cannons and shot loaded on pirate ships. Or perhaps you think of firework displays such as those at New Year parties around the world. Or maybe you think of the novelty gunpowder snaps that make a satisfying CRACK! when thrown against the floor.

Ceremonial firing of cannons in Malta.

You probably haven’t considered the possibility of gunpowder as fine art to be displayed in museums and art galleries. But that is exactly the way Cai Guo-Qiang produces his works, which are displayed around the world in the most prestigious art galleries and museums.

A display of Cai’s gunpowder artistry at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, US.

First, a little background about gunpowder in China. The first reference to gunpowder was in the 9th century AD in the Tang dynasty (618-907) and it was first used in warfare in the early 10th century. Some say that gunpowder was originally developed in an attempt to create an alchemical mixture to provide eternal life. This myth is reflected in the Chinese word for gunpowder, huo yao 火药, which means ‘fire medicine.’ By the 11th and 12th centuries gunpowder had become a staple part of warfare in China. It was also around this time that it began to be used for less violent purposes such as fireworks and entertainment.

Chinese cannon on Juyongguan Pass.

The artist Cai Guo-Qiang also has an interesting background. He started his artistic career following in the footsteps of his father, a renowned calligrapher, and thus adopted a style that was close to traditional Chinese calligraphic and ink-wash art. However, he felt the form limited his creative energy, and thus drew inspiration from Western oil painting on canvas, before eventually incorporating gunpowder into his works.

Cai shown here in his studio, assessing a recently produced piece of art.

The paradox of gunpowder as both a constructive and a destructive force is integral to Cai’s vision for his gunpowder artwork. He saw gunpowder as a way to reduce his own control over the canvas, thus creating artistic impressions that were intimately connected to nature and the natural form.

Gunpowder and explosions in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Cai creates paintings and drawings out of gunpowder by orchestrating carefully controlled explosions onto canvas. A small amount of gunpowder is added onto the canvas, along with a variety of metals, and then a protective sheet is layered over the top. The gunpowder is then detonated: the finished result is only seen once the protective layer has been removed. This video demonstrates how Cai is able to create large and expressive pieces of art using this technique.

The production of the artwork is in itself a performing art. The drama and excitement generated by the detonation of the gunpowder draws huge crowds. Cai has increasingly done larger and more daring projects using his patented gunpowder art. Perhaps most famous is his sky ladder, which uses gunpowder to create a ladder that stretches hundreds of meters into the sky. Check this video for an idea!

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Cai’s artwork is not only his ability to re-define what is considered ‘art’ but also what is considered ‘gunpowder.’ His art proves that gunpowder is not only a force for destruction such as in war and conflict but can also be used in a constructive and reconstructive manner. It all depends on what purpose it is used for, and who is using it. In the hands of a great artist like Cai, the result is undeniably creative and astonishingly beautiful.


About Interact China 

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

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Du Hua: The Art of Reading Chinese Landscape Paintings

By Tom Booth

For those interested in art and paintings approaching Chinese landscape paintings can often be a daunting challenge. For starters, Chinese landscape paintings are extremely long; so long in fact that they are normally painted on long scrolls that, once unfurled, are several metres in length. They also contain an exceptional amount of detail; trees are adorned with individually painted branches and leaves, and people are distinguished from one another by minute detailing on their clothes and appearance. All in all, a first glance at a Chinese landscape painting can be quite overwhelming, and this often pushes people away from studying the paintings more closely.

Chinese landscape painting may look at first like random brush strokes, but in fact each stroke is carefully considered by the master painter. 

In Chinese, the practice of analysing and deciphering a painting is called du hua 读画 or the art of ‘reading’ a painting. Hopefully this blog post can help de-mystify Chinese landscape paintings so they can be ‘read’ and appreciated by a wider audience.

This short blog post will focus on one of the most famous Chinese landscape paintings of all time: ‘Along the River During the Qingming Festival’ or Qingming Shanghe Tu 清明上河图. This painting was painted during the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD) by Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145 AD) and is thought to depict a fantastical version of Kaifeng city, the capital of the Northern Song dynasty. The original is kept in the Palace museum in Beijing and is brought out only on special occasions every few years. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest pieces of artwork ever produced in China, and is celebrated as a national treasure. 

The Qingming Festival scene is so special that it has been produced and reproduced many times over. Here is a reproduction on a scroll that is sold commercially. 

When looking at the painting it is important to try to capture the feeling that you are visiting the festival from the countryside. We start by looking at the far right side of the painting, and slowly move our way left towards the city. 

Our first scene is in the countryside just outside the city. The houses are primitive with thatched roofs and the only people are farmers driving their livestock along the narrow roads. 

As we move closer to the city we see more signs of habitation. In the background are fields growing crops, and in the foreground we can see people buying and selling goods. There are also some small commercial ships in a make-shift harbour, suggesting a small amount of commercial activity. The houses now have tiled roofs, indicating greater sophistication. 

These small commercial vessels soon give way to much larger Chinese junks and a fully-fledged port. Horse and carriage rumble by in the background, and many people are engaged in moving and organising the ships. 

Just a little further we come to the main bridge leading to Kaifeng city. This is the centre of the scene, and is the site of most activity. It is abuzz with people moving to and fro: there are a huge number of people pushing past each other while others attempt to peddle business to the growing crowds. We can see a crowd of people shouting from the edge of the bridge as a boat risks crashing into the bridge. One can really sense the drama and excitement! 

Eventually we reach the main city gates. Carts pulled by horses are pouring through the gates; we can even see exoctic camels, reflecting the multiculturalism of Song China. 

Through the gates we can see a bustling inn, crowded with people eating and drinking. Energy radiates from the scene and makes one feel like they are there themselves! 

By stepping into the shoes of an imaginary visitor to Kaifeng and the Qingming festival the painting itself becomes a kind of story. We walk through the countryside, past the harbour and along the suburbs. We cross the bridge where the main drama of the painting is unfolding, and we finish by entering the main gates on the far left of the scene. By reading from right to left and breaking the painting into distinct sections the narrative quality of the painting is much more clear and ‘reading’ the painting becomes a much less overbearing task!


About Interact China 

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

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Painting with Wings: The Chinese Kite

Written by Juliette Qi

 

History of the First Kites in China

 

1
Traditional  Kite in China 

The first kites date from the Warring States Period (ECB 475-221, also called the Eastern Zhou Dynasty). During this period, they were made of wood and were called Mu Yuan木鸢 (wooden kite). This kite prototype, or “wooden bird”, has its origin in the ancient text of Mozi (BCE 551-479), who was a philosopher a century after Confucius.

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Flying A Kite

In fact, it was not until the Tang Dynasty (CE 618-907) that light kites made of silk and then paper (bamboo was a common material used for the support) made their appearance. It was at this time that kites went beyond their original military function and were instead used for recreation. Immediately, the artisans began decorating their creations in a more artistic way. During the Ming (CE 1368-1644) and Qing (CE 1644-1911) Dynasties, the production and flying of kites became an art form. The kite also became an elaborate object with a colorful decoration in the shape of a bird, flowers or flower buds and of course included elements of Chinese calligraphy. The Chinese kite, like the Chinese lantern and parasol, has become a means of artistic expression, usually with the predominance of literary themes.

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Traditional Design “Swallow”

 

Weifang and the Kite Festival

The Chinese city Weifang, located in the Shandong Peninsula, has a special relationship with the kite. Weifang City is home to the International Kite Association and hosts the Weifang International Kite Festival every year from April 20th to 25th. Many interesting kites are presented on this occasion every year, which attract thousands of people from all over the world to the city to compete or to watch the performance of the majestic colorful kites. The China Highlights Festival Tour offers its guests a unique opportunity to enjoy this annual event with locals and kite lovers from around the world. The highlight of the festival is at the annual “Kite King” event. Obviously, the city of Weifang has a museum dedicated to the history of this activity.

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Dragon Kite of Weifang

It was in Weifang in 1282 that Marco Polo is supposed to have witnessed the flying of a kite. According to Marco Polo’s diary, there was a tradition in the nearby city Weihai at this time for measuring wind direction and force with a kite to determine whether an imminent trip was a good idea. This was done by attaching a large kite to the stern of a sailboat that was freely anchored, so that the boat would move in the direction of the wind. Then, the kite was removed from the sailboat and was allowed to fly away. If the kite flew high and straight, it was a sign that the trip will be good and if not, it would mean that the trip would not be easy.

When he returned to Italy, Marco Polo brought a Chinese kite with him. Soon, thanks to the Silk Road, the Chinese kite became famous in Europe and then continued its journey from Europe to the New World. In the Pavilion dedicated to the ‘Conquest of the Sky’ at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, a plaque was erected on which is inscribed the following homage to the Chinese kite: “the earliest aircraft are the kites and missiles of China”.

 

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

New Year’s Painting: A Decorative Art

Written by Juliette Qi

 

Chinese Printed Painting, or Banhua版画 in Chinese, first represents the engraving process that then gave birth to the art of printing onto wooden boards. However, nowadays, when we speak of Chinese Printed Painting, we imply rather the paintings made mainly on the occasion of the Chinese New Year as one of the festive decorative arts. This kind of painting is therefore called New Year’s Painting or Nianhua年画 by the Chinese people.

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Traditional Style in the 17th Century, Taohuawu

 

What is Chinese Printed Painting ?

In China, printing involves a process of embossing on wood to create a painting or leave an inked design. In effect , a Chinese artist first creates a model in relief on a wooden board. Then, he applies ink to the raised parts and presses the engraving on special paper. After pressing, the ink leaves a mark on the paper to form a drawing. This is the basic principle that then gave rise to other woodcutting and printing techniques.

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The Gods of the Door

 

Use for the Chinese New Year

The Chinese people discovered this printing and stamping technique around the 6th century. Over the centuries, they have gradually used the prints during traditional festivities and especially the Chinese New Year. This complex process, which only an artist can do, was much appreciated by emperors who were very fond of art, especially during the Song Dynasty. The techniques have therefore improved over the centuries to create more refined paintings.

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Painting of Character”Fu”(Felicity), Taohuawu

More than just an art object, New Year’s Paintings have a real symbolic value in the eyes of the Chinese. In their tradition, these printed paintings can attract happiness, chase evil spirits and protect against evil for the coming year. The New Year’s print reflects the customs, mood and aesthetic taste of the population, making it a valuable asset of cultural heritage worth high appreciation.

 

Style for Each City

In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, painters devoted themselves to the production of New Year’s Painting, allowing it to reach its maturity. Nowadays this Chinese folk art is primarily made in three small villages of China and each of them offers rich and varied patterns.

 

 

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Pattern of the Yangliuqing School

The Yangjiabu School, near Weifang, uses colored woodcuts with exaggerated shapes that fit the beliefs of Chinese peasants. These very showy prints are the most popular in China and the most widespread. The schools of Yangliuqing near Tianjin and Taohuawu near Suzhou offer more refined and harmonious works.

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Pattern of the Taohuawu School

 

Woodcut Paintings

New Year’s Painting is a class of woodcut painting, which is a traditional folk engraved painting that has been popular in China since the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-9). It is a fantastic innovation of Han art and culture.

Therefore, it has been better protected and has attracted more and more attention from the contemporary Chinese people. It is also the most special technique invented after the appearance of printing with engraved plates, preceding the invention of the modern printing press. It has adapted to the mental demands, folk belief, aesthetic design, and needs of the daily life of the Han people. This kind of painting developed and improved over time, forming a unique style that is natural but elegant and sober but alive. Born from the daily life of the Han people and used for holiday decoration, this art has always played the role of enriching the life of the Han and reflecting the good wishes of the people.

 

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


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Literati Painting

Written by Juliette Qi

 

The literati painting or wenrenhua (文人画) is a traditional style of painting in China, which despite taking its definitive form from the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1280 -1368), found its classical form with the artist-scholar Dong Qichang (1555-1636), under the name of the Southern School (南宗画). The literati painting was then adopted in Japan under the name of Bunjin-ga.

 

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Dong Qichang, Wanluan Thatch Lodge

 

The first characteristic of Chinese literati painting文人画 (wenrenhua), for the Western observer, is that it is a kind of (often monochrome) ink wash painting rather than an oil painting. But it makes use of all the subtle differences of the water-diluted ink to obtain infinite nuances. Applied to paper or silk, this painting technique does not use the Western perspective method: the effects of distance and foreground are achieved by the arrangement of proportions.

 

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Wang e, Room overlooking the River

 

When he develops his work in his silent study, realizing long-lasting feelings, or when he indulges in improvisation in front of amateurs, the Chinese scholar-painter always cherishes the long tradition and never disdains to work “in the manner of “the former masters. Generally he neglects portraiture and rejects realism, giving man only his rightful place in nature. Landscape painting山水and the painting of flowers and birds花鸟 are, along with bamboo, his favorite and privileged subjects.

 

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Bada Shanren, Lotus and bird

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Shitao, Le bateau

 

Under the Qing, literary painting continued to show remarkable vitality and originality, and many of the most famous artists no longer worked under any master: this was the case of the “crazy monks”, independent painters among which the most famous were Bada Shanren (1626-1705) and Shitao (1630-1707).

 

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The “Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou”

 

Facing the proliferation of talented artists in the Ming and Qing, Chinese historians have tried to divide them into schools like “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou” and “Four Wang”. In the nineteenth century, the creative momentum slowed down and the decline was is constant; many Chinese painters began turning to Western painting and the practice of oil painting. With the end of the empire, the model of scholar-painter also came to its end. Yet, a new type of artist-intellectual, innovative technically and artistically, had emerged from the earliest days of modern Chinese art.

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


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Art Collector with a Chinese Heart

Ellsworth, the prestigious late art dealer and collector of Asian art, devoted his life to loving, collecting and dealing Asian art. However, these art treasures will be dispersed into collectors across the world in the wake of his death in August at age 85, except those donated to museums like the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ellsworth on Mount Huangshan in Anhui province during his trip to China in 1995.
 Chinese art

A major part of Ellsworth’s legacy is Chinese art, which he started collecting during childhood although he didn’t know a Chinese word.

A room at Robert H.Ellsworth’s apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York.
 Chinese art

He was the first to bring Ming Dynasty furniture to the West in the 1950s. He made himself an expert on it and wrote a book, Chinese Furniture: Hardwood Examples of the Ming and early Ch’ing Dynasties, in the 1970s, even earlier than Chinese scholars’ books on the subject.

Because of his obsession with Chinese art and his unique taste, in the 1960s, Ellsworth began collecting Chinese paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a period that has been neglected by art historians.

Ellsworth’s collecting of Chinese art reached a climax when China and the US established diplomatic ties in the 1970s.

In addition to his collection, Ellsworth also set up the Chinese Heritage Art Foundation in Hong Kong in the 1990s, dedicated to repairing the ancient houses of the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties in Huangshan in Anhui province. At that time, most Chinese didn’t realize the value of the structures in Huangshan’s ancient villages.

 Chinese art
Two pieces of porcelain in his collection.
 Chinese art

For years, Ellsworth had bought and sold countless antique objects. But the ones he kept at his houses were those he wanted to live with. “If you don’t want to stay with your collections day and night, then don’t buy them,” he advised prospective collectors.

In the 20th century, many treasured Chinese antiques and artworks were lost during war times. Ellsworth was one of the first Western collectors to seek them out and became an expert and scholar on Chinese art.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


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The Sacred Art of Sand Mandalas ——Construction and Destruction

A mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe, used in Tibetan Buddhism and other faiths. The mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with healing. Sand mandalas are particularly used in Tibetan Buddhism. According to Buddhist scripture, mandalas constructed from sand transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them. They are believed to effect purification and healing. There are many different designs of mandala, each with different lessons to teach.

The mandala represents an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of a guiding principle. The Tibetan mandala contains deities, with the principal deity in the centre of the pattern. The deities who reside in the palace embody philosophical views and serve as role models.

It usually takes Tibetan Monks several days to design and place tiny grains of sand to create a beautiful work of temporary art, then it will be destroyed immediately once it is finished.

1. Opening Ceremony

 
 Chinese Culture

The mandala sand painting process begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. The monks chant and dance in resplendent dress. This event is visually and acoustically striking.

2. Drawing of the Lines

 
 Chinese Culture

After the Opening Ceremony the monks start drawing the line design for the mandala. The design of the mandala is marked with chalk on a wooden platform. This is very meticulous work that takes about several hours to complete.

3. Mandala Construction

 
 Chinese Culture
 
 Chinese Culture

Then the monks use metal funnels called chak-pur to place millions of grains of dyed sand to make the elaborate patterns. The vibrations of the serrated chak-pur being grated with a metal rod cause the sand to flow like liquid. The mandala is constructed from the centre outwards.

4. Mandala Completion

 
 Chinese Culture

This mandala took several days to complete. The monks conclude their creation of the mandala with its consecration. In some cities, several thousand guests have attended the closing ceremony.

5. Dismantling the Mandala

 
 Chinese Culture

Once the mandala is complete, it is ritually destroyed. During the Closing Ceremony, the monks dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. Half of the sand may be distributed to the audience in small bags as blessings for personal health and healing.

6. Dispersal of the sand

 
 Chinese Culture

The monks, along with spectators, travel to a body of water. The sand is then ceremonially poured into the water in order to spread the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world. It is seen as a gift to the mother earth to re-energise the environment and universe.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Traditional Chinese Painting Techniques

According to painting skills, traditional Chinese painting (Guohua) can be divided into three main styles: gongbi style, xieyi style and combination of these two styles.

gongbi painting
 Chinese Painting

Gongbi,meticulous, usually referred to as “court-style” painting. It features on meticulous drawing and emphasizes the beauty of lines. It needs close attention to detail and fine brushwork.

xieyi painting
 Chinese Painting

Xieyi, freehand, loosely termed watercolour or brushwork. So Chinese people also use Chinese character “water ” and ” ink ” together to name this painting skill as the core of Xieyi. When a painter use xieyi technique, he always try to describe exaggerated forms to express his feelings. Different from gongbi, xieyi generalizes shapes and displays rich brushwork and ink techniques.

combination of gongbi and xieyi
 Chinese Painting

Combination of gongbi and xieyi, literally, both of two main techniques gongbi and xieyi are used in one painting. This kind of painting skill is used very often in flower-bird paintings and figure paintings.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Birds in four seasons – The collection of Chinese flower-and-bird paintings

Flowers and birds were favorite subjects of paintings in ancient China, offering a kind of special aesthetic interest. Flower-and-bird painting originated from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This art form slowly advanced from initially serving as an ornamental pattern for daily utensils, then later serving as symbolic, metaphoric and allegorical elements in the background of figure painting. Finally, flowers and birds are seen in independent themes.

Birds and Plum artist: Pu Zuo (1918-2001)
 Chinese Painting

Flower-and-bird painting further developed during the Five Dynasties period (907-960), and reached maturity during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The Five Dynasty Period was a crucial era of shaping this style as one of the three major trends in Chinese traditional painting, together with Landscape Painting and Figure Painting.

Birds and Camellia artist: Lu Yifei (1908-1997)
 Chinese Painting

Flower-and-bird painting is peculiar to China. Flowers and birds can be associated with almost all thoughts and feelings of a human being. They can symbolize feminine beauty, virtue, political authority, omens, and lucky niceness. Once established, this tradition became popular in every dynasty. Therefore, their symbolic meaning grew increasingly rich and specific.

Four Gentlemen and Three Friends of Winter are the representatives of flower-and-bird painting. Plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum were known as the Four Gentlemen. Their common features are nobleness, modesty, and integrity. And as the Three Friends of Winter, pine, bamboo, and plum blossom are often associated with a man of great virtue. For their own natural qualities, these five plants are given the corresponding symbolic meanings and appear in flower-and-bird paintings frequently.

Bird and Camellia artist: Sun Yunsheng (1918-2000)
 Chinese Painting
Bird and Magnolia Flower artist: Qi Baishi (1864-1957)
 Chinese Painting

The tradition of flower-and-bird painting evolved into two main trends, namely the Gong Bi tradition where artists focused on small details, careful application of color and meticulous technique, giving their art a realistic and ornamental feeling, while the other trend of Xie Yi is more expressionistic and impulsive.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!