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Ink painting (墨絵, すみえ, sumi-e (lit. “ink painting); also 水墨画, すいぼくが, suibokuga – i.e. “water ink painting”)

Ink painting is a traditional method of painting that originated in ancient China, and was developed during the Tang dynasty (唐朝, 607 – 918 C.E.). In China, ink painting is known as 水墨畫 or 水墨画 (Chinese: shuǐmò shū or shuǐmò huà). Ink painting is based on similar principles to calligraphy. The same tools are used, i.e.: brush, inkstone, ink and paper (so called 文房四宝, ぶんぼうしほう, bunbō shihō, “four treasures of the study”). Similar to calligraphy, the concept of ink painting is not to copy reality, but capture the energy and soul of the subject of a painting. In this capacity, ink painting is quite different from its traditional Western painting (i.e. western painting underwent evolution from realism to abstractionism, whereas Oriental painters tried to capture an abstract idea from the very beginning). That is why calligraphy and ink painting are always considered sister arts in the Far East.

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Page last modified on October 25, 2011, at 09:38 AM