Chinese Peasant Painting Genres

Chinese peasant painting, as an art genre, first emerged in the 1950s and took shape in the 1970s. After decades of development, it demonstrates strong momentum as quite a few counties are titled “Painting Villages” nationwide. The famed folk painting centers are Huxian and Ansai Counties of Shaanxi province, Pizhou and Liuhe of Jiangsu province and Jinshan District of Shanghai etc.

 

Jinshan Peasant Paintings

Jinshan Peasant Paintings are created by Chinese peasants working in Jinshan County near Shanghai, China. During the late 1970s, the Chinese painter Wu Tongzhang began teaching painting techniques to the peasants in Jinshan. Most of these first painters were older women skilled in various folk arts that had been passed down through generations. These traditional folk arts, such as embroidery, paper cutting, paper folding, and weaving, heavily influenced the style of painting that developed.

Peasant Painting  Peasant Painting

The subjects of these paintings are mostly rural scenery or snapshots of life. Each peasant painting seems to be telling a touching and interesting story. It is also an embodiment of the creator’s love for their hometown and life.

 Peasant Painting

Jinshan Peasant Paintings are both natural and unnatural. They are natural, for they show a love of ordinary life, love of children, love of festivals, love of animals, and love of work and chores. But they are also unnatural, in that these ordinary life-events are shown according to the painters’ imaginations. The painters use a wide range of bright colors – colors that are often unnatural – and spread them throughout the paintings. Spatial reality and perspective are unimportant in these paintings. Figures and objects are usually drawn in a way that looks childlike. Taken together, these elements give the paintings a charming, primitive style.

 

Huxian Peasant Paintings

 

 Peasant Painting

Huxian County lies to the southwest of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province. The peasant paintings in this area are closely connected with local operas, dances, dragon lanterns and other forms of folk arts. The paintings have a strong regional flavor and idyllic style. Featuring the beautiful rural scenery of Huxian County, these paintings are well arranged with simple design and strongly contrasted colors, ideal for decoration.

 Peasant Painting

The style is said to have originated in the late 1950s when Hu County peasants who were building a new reservoir began painting pictures of the work in progress in order to record the work and to inspire themselves to work better. These first peasant painters did not even have proper paints, but used soot, lime, and the red soil of the area to paint. The County Communist Party Committee organized art classes so that professionals could teach these peasants how to paint. Huxian peasants continued to paint, and during China’s Cultural Revolution ( 1966 -1976 CE) their work was shown abroad to prove to the outside world that common, ordinary workers could produce works of art. Today, Huxian Peasant Paintings still show the ordinary aspects of people’s lives. Festivals, parades, the harvest, music, village traditions, farm animals, winter, kitchen work, and children are all celebrated in these paintings.

 

Liuhe Peasant Paintings

 

 Peasant Painting

The paintings featuring folk customs created with rich imagination by peasants in Liuhe County of Nanjing are brightly-colored, rustic and natural.

 

Pizhou Peasant Paintings

 

 Peasant Painting

Pizhou is a place widely known as “the Home of Peasant Paintings” and the peasant paintings here have a long history. In former times, on the Day of Beginning of Spring, it was a tradition for local to paint oxen, horses, donkeys and other domestic animals and farming tools on the wall with red clay. In the early 1950s, local peasants began to capture life on paper with great enthusiasm. Their paintings are natural, vivid and touching. Most paintings are in praise of life and expressing good wishes.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

P.S. We need people with similar passion to join or partner with us in promoting ethnic handicrafts! Please contact us at interact@interactchina.com to make any suggestions that you may have in co-operating with us, or join as Affiliate.

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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

 

Origin

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 @ InteractChina.com

P.S. We need people with similar passion to join or partner with us in promoting ethnic handicrafts! Please contact us at interact@interactchina.com to make any suggestions that you may have in co-operating with us, or join as Affiliate.