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(4 pages total)

Page 4 - How to Appreciate Chinese Brush Painting



Mounting: The technique of mounting was more sophisticated in the South-North Dynasty (420-589 A.D.). General Tools, a classic guidebook on the subject, states that "the elegance of mounting started from Fan Yeh." It is also noted in Tang´s Six Books, a history of the Tang Dynasty, that the imperial "Literature Hall had five mounting specialists, and the Support Division had ten mounting specialists," indicating the establishment of royal mounting specialists was officially considered as an important step of mounting in the Tang Dynasty. In the Soon Dynasty, the mounting technique had evolved from board mounting to the hand-scroll and vertical scroll. In the Ming Dynasty, mounting skills were exquisite and mounting artisans were highly paid. During the era of Chin Run and Chia Ching of the Ching Dynasty, the mounting artisans in Su County were famed for their excellent work and earned the name of "Su Mount." In the middle of the Ching Dynasty, most of the talented mounting artisans moved to Beijing, the capital, and created the term of "Capital Mount." There are three major styles in the art of mounting: booklet, hand-scroll and vertical scroll. Within the booklet style, there are a variety of forms: the butterfly form, left and right sides connected and folded; the drapery form, opening up and down; the plaited form, many miniatures paintings folded into pamphlets. The hand-scroll mounting method is also very elaborate and involves many parts in its construction. The same is true of the vertical scroll method. The mounting process is very complicated and requires much skill and training. The scroll should be flat and tight with perfect inlay when opened and smooth and without plait when rolled. The backing materials used include fine silk, satin, and brocade. The scroll ends can be made of expensive materials such as ivory, porcelain, jade, gold, silver and sandalwood.

In summary: One can really appreciate and enjoy Chinese Painting by understanding these and other unique features. The article only touches upon some fundamental elements involved in the art, but hopefully it provides a first step for people who would like to know more about Chinese Painting. For those interested in exploring the subject further, there are many books written by experts in specific fields.


Jack Liang was raised from an artist family. His father and his uncles were well known as Liang´s Trio Artists in the Orient. His water color and ink paintings have been exhibited in Taiwan, China, Philippines, Japan and the US. He is a former president of the Los Angeles Chinese Artists association in 1989, advisor of both the Chinese Arts Society of Southern California and the Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Association. He is currently a member of the California Art Club and advisor to the Chinese Artists Society of USA.

©2001 Qi Journal

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