Originally Posted by Ivan Helguera
As long as I'm very limited in this aspect, let me qoute some sayings from my textbook. (It is a chapter delicated to Chinese art. I in particular ignore this chapter.
) It begins with comparisons of Chinese art and art in the West ...
Art in the West focuses on objectivism. Charm of human body is one importance. There are many famous sculptures of the nude. Westerners tend to explore the nature, different from Chinese assimilating with the nature. (By Confucian philosophy, people would 'care' about the environment instead of exploring. Our attitude towards science is the same. For them (/us), science is of subjectivity. Well, this partly explains our poor in science in the last few centuries.)
In the first and fourth ones, the drawings mixed with wordings speaks for the totality. Another character is the colours. White, grey and black are the only three colours in drawings as we give heavy attention to expressing the feeling. (I'm not sure if it is called expressionism in the West.) Size of a paper, colours and other phycial hindrances don't block them from expressing the ideas of their hearts out of a paper. Ability of drawing physical appearance is important, but still second to expressing the feelings. The upper part of the 'turtle' can be said to be 'strong' with thicker and darker tracks. The squiggles of the turtle also express another character - bravery!
Good to see you here, Ivan.
One of the many items that sets eastern and western art apart is the human figure. While classical Greek art states that the ideal human form is divided into three sections (from top of the head to waist; from waist to knee and from knee to toes), figures in Asian art (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian) present the body in only two parts: from top the head to waist; and from waist to toes. As we enter the 21st Century, it is apparent that western aesthetics has won the war ... How else can we explain the mindless crave for botox treatment, liposuction, anorexia and plastic surgery that break apart a woman's leg bones so that she will appear 10 inches taller?
The origin and purpose of Chinese art is far more complex than its western counterparts. In landscape paintings, the negative space is an equally important entity as the areas which contain objects such as trees, flowers, birds, fish or figures; for negative space is, in both Buddhism and Taoism, a natural force. In western art -- until Dutch landscape art during the 17th Century when trades began between Europe and China -- negative space was [almost] never mentioned.
The Qing Dynasty painter Bada Shanren (ref post #2), who went into hiding as a monk when his family was executed by the emperor, was a master of this technique. To him, negative space represented everything "unspeakable." You may have seen his signature (Bat Tai Shan Yan in Cantonese) which, when written awkwardly together, forms the phrase "Cry Laughter."
I learn to maneuvre the hair pencil from an old elementary school teacher who insisted that the correct way to hold the pen was to grab it as if you were also grabbing an egg between your thumb and index finger at the same time. That was tough.
But one has to consider the history of Chinese calligraphy. The first brush appeared in the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE - 206 BCE). It was made of camel hair and the invention was attributed to Meng Tian who was hired as a private tutor for the son of the first emperor of Qin (Chun Chi Wong in Cantonese). Meng Tian never received credit for his creations and was executed by the mad emperor in 209 BCE.
Now another sketch by my beloved Bada Shanren.
Note his signature at upper left (four characters that mock the phrase "Cry Laughter")
Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) , (Chinese, 1626-1705),
Fish, 1688-89, Album leaf; ink on paper; H: 25.5 W: 23.0 cm,
colln Sackler Museum, Washington DC