Ink and wash painting

Ink and wash painting

pic=Pine Trees.jpg
kanji=1. 水墨画
2. 墨絵
hiragana=1. すいぼくが
2. すみえ
revhep=1. suibokuga
2. sumie
qn=Tranh thuỷ mặc

Ink and wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting also known as wash painting or by its Japanese name "sumi-e" (墨絵). Ink and wash painting is also known by its Chinese name "shui-mo hua" (水墨畫, Japanese "suibokuga", Korean "sumukhwa"). Only black ink — the same as used in East Asian calligraphy — is used, in various concentrations.


Wash painting developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Wang Wei is generally credited as the painter who applied color to existing ink and wash paintings. [Wang, Yushu Wang. Wu zhou chuan bo chu ban she. Translated by 王玉书. [2005] (2005). Selected poems and pictures of the Tang dynasty 五洲传播出版社 ISBN 7508507983] The art was further developed into a more polished style during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It was introduced to Korea shortly after China's discovery of the ink. Then, the Korean missionaries in Japan, in helping the Japanese establish a civilized settlement introduced it to Japan in the mid-14th century.


In wash paintings, as in calligraphy, artists usually grind their own ink using an ink stick (in Japanese: "sumi") and a grinding stone ("suzuri" in Japanese) but prepared inks are also available. Most ink sticks are made of densely packed charcoal ash from bamboo or pine soot combined with glue extracted from MulgogiPbur, from Korean for fish bone or "nikawa" (Japanese for fish bones). An artist puts a few drops of water on an ink stone and grinds the ink stick in a circular motion until a smooth, black ink of the desired concentration is made. Prepared inks are usually of much lower quality. "Sumi-e" themselves are sometimes ornately decorated with landscapes or flowers in bas-relief and some are highlighted with gold.

Wash painting brushes are similar to the brushes used for calligraphy and are traditionally made from bamboo with goat, ox, horse, sheep, rabbit, marten, badger, deer, boar or wolf hair. The brush hairs are tapered to a fine point, a feature vital to the style of wash paintings.

Different brushes have different qualities. A small wolf-hair brush that is tapered to a fine point can deliver an even thin line of ink (much like a pen). A large wool brush (one variation called the "big cloud") can hold a large volume of water and ink. When the big cloud brush rains down upon the paper, it delivers a graded swath of ink encompassing myriad shades of gray to black.

Once a stroke is painted, it cannot be changed or erased. This makes ink and wash painting a technically demanding art-form requiring great skill, concentration, and years of training.

See Calligraphy for more information on the tools used in both calligraphy and wash painting.

Noted artists


* Bada Shanren
* Su Shi
* Daqian Jushi
* Qi Baishi
* Xu Beihong
* Mi Youren
* Gao Xingjian


* Josetsu
* Shubun

ee also

*Chinese art
*Chinese painting
*Japanese painting
*Korean painting
*Four Gentlemen
*Bird-and-flower painting

External links

* [ Chinese Sumi-e by Artist Sheng Kuan Chung]
* [ Sumi-e Society of America, Inc.]
* [ Hasegawa Tohaku’s Pine Trees at the Tokyo National Museum]
* [ Kyu Kyo Do in Tokyo: Since 1663, the finest source for Sumi-e supplies]
* [ Master Sumi-e Artist Drue Kataoka]
* [ Materials, Instructions and Master Works of Sumi-E Master Jan Zaremba]
* [ The Art of Sumi-E by Naomi Okamoto, ISBN 0-8069-0833-5]


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