History of Chinese art

History of Chinese Art 6

History of Chinese Art


History of Chinese Art


Art is often used to describe the culture that people apply in their communities. Individual ornaments are put on so as to identify a particular group that the public belongs to in comparison to the dressing of another person. It is also considered as an employment industry as different artists introduce their creativity to the market creating awareness to the globe on the presence of a particular segment. Publics then earn income when describing the various art pieces that have been produced. Different regions present the unique history of their art and culture with certain features providing the ideal piece of information. For example, Kuiper (2011, p. 151) states that one of the outstanding characteristics of Chinese art is the reflection of the class structures that have been in existence in the different times in their history. In the Chinese environs, their museums offer vast information about their art and culture as the people find themselves dwarfed and disoriented by the massive vaulting space and soaring escalators. According to a publication by Besio & Tung (2010, p. 73), the men from Mao Zonggang to Mo Zedong have beheld into the characters within the Three Kingdoms story succession as a model of masculine behavior.

Western Art Paintings and Chinese Art Paintings

The majority of Western art paintings is from an individual’s creativity with a limited aspect of their culture applied to the drawings.The art piece is often based on the artist’s interpretation leaving the audience with the task of formulating their perceptions about the art piece. Very few of these drawing have similar presentations and messages that can be shared with the public. With such process of performance, no traces of art are then used to elaborate the evolution of a particular culture in the Western region as the artists are not sharing a similar background. The tabulation below elaborates the differences between Chinese and Western paintings.



The majority of the paintings are related to nature and the visions of the world

In Communication to the public. The paintings elaborate the message that the viewer is to digest when making an inquiry. The majority of these art pieces are derived from the ancient Chinese stories (religion)


The art pieces apply the context of avariciousness

The majority of the art pieces are related to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.

High level of complexity is often used in the paintings. The artists hardly focus on the issues of detail as compared to the Chinese artists

The different colors applied to an art piece present a unique purpose. For example, the traditional art and culture often contain the red, black, and Qing color. On the other hand, white and yellow are viewed as standard colors

There was the use of the paintbrush in western paintings.

Ancient Chinese paintings made use of bamboo and silk in their painting.


Different artists have unique processes of approaching a given piece of work. These artists have their focus on sketching the idea, but persons like Apelles were recognized for their ways of drawing, modeling, and application of color.

Brush does the majority of the paintings dipped in black or colored ink

Artistic background

The history is the basis of successive periods. These times include rococo, classical, modernism, baroque, and postmodernism among the few movements.

Every art piece produced is linked to the Chinese history


Application of personal creativity is on the art pieces. Additionally, there is an application of rigorous religious conventions.

The art pieces provide inspiration to the viewers


The attitudes in work are prevalent in other sections of the ancient world.

The pieces present the relationship between the humans and nature. The context is visible as the attitude differs under Buddhism, Daoist, and Confucianism

Chinese Painting Subject Matter VS Western Painting Subject Matter

According to Kleiner (2016), Western painting seeks origin from the Greek and Romans culture. Western painting is an accurate representation of nature itself as it attempts to recreate nature. The subject matter in western paintings is more inclined to serve a functional purpose for instance scene documenting among others and showing perspective. History of Chinese art History of Chinese art  1

Western Painting from Bible Chinese painting Figure 1

In the second portrait, representation of nature is by the trees and skies not forgetting another theme elaborated in the above painting, the subject of love shared between man and nature. Here the artist shares their perspective on the world through their art by elaborating on aspects of society back then. The first portrait is that of Christ who led to the redemption of the people from the west according to their religion. The painting elaborates on the subject matter of suffering as clearly depicted by the crown of thorns of his head.

According to the Chinese, the painter sees with their spirit in that he may observe and later decide to draw the observations. The Chinese paintings open the soul to the world; they believe that creation of art must ensure peace to the soul.

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Figure 2 The painting above are Chinese paintings of the old Ming and Qing paintings respectively.

Chinese Painting Philosophy VS Western Painting Philosophy

The extreme beliefs in Asian paintings are those of Buddhism, Daoist, and Confucianism, as observed in the art by the painter (Visual-arts-cork.com, 2017). Many artists embrace the avariciousness philosophy in that searching for the truth as the primary goal for the artist through which he would develop his skill and potentially uncover the truth. Confucianism is a vital part of the Chinese culture (Luo, J., 2015). Unification of man’s spirit with nature produced a perfect harmony hence man such that thoughts of nature were a way of life. The Confucian ideal of contentment, moderation, and optimistic together with the Buddhism ideal of the detachment was important in developing the Chinese painting.

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The first painting is of the three vinegar tasters who are the three religions in China. Figure 3

Western painting revolves around the context of avariciousness. Aristotle said the significance of art is not presenting the outward appearance but the inward that which constitutes true reality. The people from the West have had an insatiable need for property which attains fulfillment through paintings and portraits.

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Figure 4 The above are a representation of western painting, a portrait of George Washington

Chinese Painting Colour VS Western Painting Colour

The emphasis of color in Chinese paintings is seldom unlike the western paintings that go into detail about color in the paintings. The monotone in Chinese and Western painting differs enormously (Visual-arts-cork.com, 2017). The colors black, blue, yellow, white and red are standard colors according to Chinese culture. According to the Chinese, the colors represent elements that include fire, water, earth, and wood.

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Figure 5 the painting above illustrate how the Chinese make use of colors in their paintings.

The western paintings are highly complex. Artists like Dominico Greco imply that drawing was easier as compared to color in a painting. A painter uses the eye as his weapon and employs color in his drawings to bring out the ultimate perspective illusion or the most appropriate decoration (Byron, Rice and Byron, 2013).

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Western Painting from BibleFigure 6

The paintings above illustrate how choosing of color by a painter is important, failure to choose the most suitable color scheme will lead to failure of expressing the intended desire through the painting by the artist. The complexity of coloring in the images above is unfathomable. The colors help in presenting out a sophisticated yet a cool piece of art.

Chinese Painting Media VS Western Painting Media

(Bush and Shih, 2012) The Chinese paintings observed the aesthetic aspects of their art in their paintings. The Chinese used silk and bamboo in their paintings. The Chinese used scrolls made of silk; the silk was to extend to three inches. The painter ensured the usage of correct silk and that due care is observed for the silk to be efficient to the artist’s task of painting. Bamboo in the ancient Chinese art culture was not only used to produce a paper to be painted upon but also produced a tone used in Chinese paintings.

(Connect.ecuad.ca. 2017). The western paintings, on the other hand, used the paintbrush in the ancient European paintings. The palette in the old western painting is very vital in western art. The pallet is a surface where sorting of colors according to the tones the colors possess occurs. The painters would hold the pallet on the one hand and paint using the other.

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Figure 8 Western paintings illustrating use of the palette and a Chinese painting on silk respectively

Chinese Painting Techniques VS Western Painting Techniques

In western painting, each artist had their preferences when coming up with a work of art more so a painting (Harris, D.J., 2016). Painters like Apelles obtained their inspiration from an art sketch. An artist like Leonardo Da Vinci had specialized in human anatomy, and his technique solely concentrated on the human anatomy component in his paintings and art. Jonathan Feldschuh, on the other hand, borrowed inspiration from the various architectural and engineering to come up with his paintings.

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Figure 9 Western painting showing technique of sketching

The Chinese arts are not reliant on a personality’s preferences but dwell in the brush and paint and the ink (Wang, Cupchik, 2014). The Chinese painter, observes the traditional art of calligraphy done by dipping a brush in colored or black ink. Together with the painting, the spirit must be present for all Chinese paintings to convey an experience of being in nature by revealing the internal harmony of human beings through nature. Unlike the Western painting the Chinese dwell on using the drawing new methods in coming up with their paintings. This process involves applying pressure to the paint brush resulting in separation of the brush hairs hence streaks of white spaces in the paintings are visible. The above is mostly employed in landscape painting since “Drawing blank” enables Wanderers in art to wander in peace and absolute tranquillity.

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Figure 10 Chinese painting drawn with brush and black ink

Chinese Painting Artistic Background VS Western Painting Artistic Background

The Greek experienced the classical period in the 5th century where there were attempts in rendering the human and animal form in a realistic manner (Boundless. 2017). The early Greek invented the panel painting that involved painting wood panels that were flat. This type of painting was the most used form of painting in the classical period. Another painting in this period was the tomb painting as there is evidence in Macedonia to prove the above. Modernism developed where the aim of the artist was to capture images and develop them into art through painting (Irokanulo Nwosu, 2016). The modern era characterized by academic success where painting academies and schools of arts established in Europe. For instance in this age culture and history was not paramount as it were before as this art cared for those not deserving artistic treatment such as beggars and slaves.

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Figure 11 Western painting of Banquet scene

The Chinese, on the other hand, link every painting as part of their history. Chinese history has cultural wealth that dates back to the ancient times when political dynasties ruled China. The painting was on a rice paper or silk and these developed in the Tang dynasty. The Chinese paintings contained both artistic and historical views.

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Figure 12 the painting shows the emperors who were once a ruler of the Tang dynasty in the early years.

Chinese Painting Creativity VS Western Painting Creativity

In the Western world, creativity is as a result of factors such as religious beliefs and personal creativity in paintings (Ballestriero, R., 2010). All forms of art are intertwined since their aim is to communicate in an artistic way in passing out individual messages. Art cannot have a formal definition as it derives its meaning from its aesthetic appeal to an individual or art lover. Painters would come up with certain patterns and decide on what colors to employ solely from their minds or way of life.

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Figure 13 The first painting shows sheaves of a wheat while.

The painting has its sense of creativity, and nothing in the painting is evident in the eye of an art lover.

In the case of the Chinese art was to provide inspiration to other people. The artists through their paintings were supposed to inspire the people looking at their art.

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Figure 14 Chinese painting showing the need to save environment

These paintings, for instance, encourage a man to protect nature. The trees around the houses in the above illustrations are symbolic of that nature protects man, and as a result, man is obliged to do the same.

Chinese Painting Attitude VS Western Painting Attitude

People from the West would come up with paintings depending on the type of attitude surrounding them (Galitz 2017). For instance, the view of romanticism took effect in France and Britain putting great emphasis on emotion and imagination this occurred after the French Revolution. Romanticism was also towards nature as evidenced by beautiful paintings of landscapes of the countryside by various painters.

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Figure 15 The paintings are a representation of romance with nature and persons.

The Chinese explored relations between human beings and nature. Under this, context the attitudes covered differ under Buddhism, Daoist, and the background is visible as the opinion differs under Buddhism, Daoist, and Confucianism. In Buddhism, the painter’s attitude is that of detachment from everything else, while in Confucianism the artist must employ a moderate and optimistic attitude to come up with a masterpiece of a painting (Harris, D.J., 2016).

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Figure 16 These paintings are the representation of Buddhism and Confucianism.


Paintings are an irresistible form of art seductive to the eye and shared by past, current and hopefully future generations. As a form of art, paintings bring about sophistication yet some extent simplicity in that, by observing a painting individuals grasp a complex idea as intended by the painter, simplicity arises for instance in the use of the paint brush and paper in the case of the Chinese artist in coming up with a masterpiece of a painting. Art lovers know that for a painting there is more to it than meets the eye. Both cultures discussed in the report reveal that perspective is a vital interpretation of this form of art. The interpretation by both the artist and the lover of the art of a particular painting varies, as each possesses their thinking and understanding. An artist must consider art in not only his or her percept but also the percept of the person viewing the art.

The Western and Chinese forms of painting present the painting art as an integral part of their culture and growth. Paintings are the accurate reflection of societal matters as it is through them communication beyond words is expressed.

The modern painter is now more at liberty than ever as he is free to combine aspects from various cultures in his paintings thereby achieving prominence in his creativity. Lest we forget all success in the modern art is because of the ancient, painting practiced both in the Western and Chinese societies.

Paintings speak volumes. Keep the painting spirit alive.


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Harris, D.J., 2016. Science and Culture: Modern “cathedral” offers artistic inspiration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences113(32), pp.8876-8877.

Irokanulo, I.E., and Nwosu, A., 2016. Rethinking, Re-theorising the concept of modernism in painting and its after-effect on African contemporary art discourse. Mgbakoigba: Journal of African Studies5(2), pp.48-60.

Irokanulo, I.E., and Nwosu, A., 2016. Rethinking, Re-theorising the concept of modernism in painting and its after-effect on African contemporary art discourse. Mgbakoigba: Journal of African Studies5(2), pp.48-60.

Kuiper, K., 2011. The culture of China. 1st ed ed. New York: Britannica Educational Publication.

Visual-arts-cork.com. (2017). Chinese Painting: Characteristics, Types, History. [Online] Available at: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/east-asian-art/chinese-painting.htm#characteristics [Accessed 10 May 2017].

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