Some Technical Terms of Chinese Painting

Some Technical Terms of Chinese Painting

Some Technical Terms of Chinese Painting

Some Technical Terms of Chinese Painting

Excerpt

He who would study a technique without using his hands may be compared to one who would learn to swim without going into the water. Limiting oneself to two means of acquiring knowledge, the eye and the ear, when a third, the hand, is available, is like driving an automobile always in second gear. The appreciation of mastery matures in direct proportion to the extent and quality of the understanding of the problems solved in the achievement of mastery.

Painting is a manual art. The greatness of a painting is, of course, conditioned by the greatness of its creator's experience and imagination, but no inspiration can be expressed adequately without technical competence. So the importance of some detailed knowledge of the craft on the part of the historical and critical student is evident.

The basis of the list of technical terms here presented was prepared in Peiping during the summer of 1931, incidental to research in a critical problem of Chinese painting pursued with the assistance of a grant in aid of research from the American Council of Learned Societies and a special research fund contributed by members of the Detroit Museum of Art Founders Society. Mr. Lin Yü-ts'ang, a painter, and, equally important for the purpose of this study, a student of the classical tradition, worked with me in the compilation and interpretation. The illustrations of type forms and brush strokes, except those of miao on plates VI and VII which are taken from the Tien Shih Chai Ts'ung Hua, were drawn by him. The explanations are based also upon a year's experience in the practice of Chinese painting under his tutelage in 1926 and 1927.

The list is not exhaustive--it does not include the special type forms and techniques of the painting of faces and of such individual plants and flowers as the bamboo, plum and orchid, which . . .

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