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Chinese Landscape

-Mountains and Forests
Chinese Landscape Painting is one of
the oldest genres of Chinese painting
and one that has significantly evolved
over time to encompass new subjects
and forms as well as new techniques.

Shān Shuǐ Painting 山水

Traditional Chinese Landscape
Painting was a poetic and imagined
landscape of the mind, which had to
contain the elements of mountains
and water.

Shān Shuǐ Painting 山水
“Landscape” in Chinese
is composed of the elements of
mountains and water

Shān Shuǐ Painting 山水

Mountains can be expressed in terms
of mountain peaks, cliffs, rocks and
high ground.

Water can be expressed in terms of
mist, waterfalls, streams and lakes.
Shān Shuǐ Painting 山水
Ink and water is the traditional
medium of Chinese painting that
emphasises the purity of ink and ink
tones that probed the deeper
meaning of matter that hides within.

Ink and Wash Landscape Painting

Huang Gongwang (1269-1354)
Dwelling in the Fuchan Mountains
Sometimes this technique of painting
becomes quite abstract, only painting
that which is necessary.

Ink and Wash Landscape Painting

Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322)
Twin Pines
Sometimes colour hues are added to
highlight the seasonality or mood of
the scene.

Ink and Wash Landscape Painting

Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322)
Autumn Colours on the Que and Hua Mountains
The use of mineral green (malachite)
and mineral blue (azurite) in Chinese
painting goes back to the Tang
dynasty in which it was used
decoratively to highlight a feature or
to emphasise its luminescence.

Blue and Green Landscape Painting

Qiu Ying
(Qing Dynasty)
Mi Fu made a break with the past by
his misty mountains using dots
instead of lines.

These are known as “Mi Fu dots”

Mi Fu Landscape Painting
Mi Fu Mountains and Pines in Spring
Dong Qichang in the style of Mi Fu
Modern Landscape Painting
incorporated traditional ink and wash
painting with vivid uses of colour.

The landscape was more “realistic”

or “naturalistic”.

Modern Landscape Painting

Qi Baishi Twelve Scrolls of Landscape
Li Keran
Chinese Landscape
Daoist Philosophy
In the Daoist universe, humans are just a small
part of a greater whole and are therefore
governed by the rules of Nature.

The main Daoist text, the Daodejing teaches us

that when humans apply reason and logic to
decisions then the natural order of things is

Landscape Painting & Daoism

Only by following the rules of Nature and the
natural order of things can there be harmony and
peace in the world and a natural state achieved.

Landscape Painting & Daoism

In Chinese art, Nature reigns supreme in tall and
loft mountains and trees that dwarf humanity.

The Daoist sage may be seen retreating into the

caves and living a life as a recluse.

Landscape Painting & Daoism

Sound of
Chinese Landscape
Confucian Philosophy
In the Confucian universe, the cultivation of
humanity is key to leading a peaceful and
harmonious life.

Filial piety is the foundation of core Confucian

ideas in which one learns how to treat others.

The observance of rituals shows observance of

good moral behaviour.

Landscape Painting & Confucianism

Show of humaneness, compassion and
benevolence is important in the cultivation of
the individual.

Self-cultivation taught character

development, enhancement of talents and

Landscape Painting & Confucianism

In Chinese art, the Confucian scholar would
be included in a landscape scene showing
aspects of Confucian self-cultivation -
composing poetry, practising calligraphy or
playing the guzheng – as well as gazing out
into a landscape scene from a vantage point.

Landscape Painting & Confucianism

Qian Xuan
Wang Xizhi Watching Geese
Chinese Village
General Trees
Blossom Trees
Bamboo Grove
Pine Trees
Maple Trees
Mountains and Mountain Ranges
Misty Mountains
Mountain Spring Waterfall

Mountains and Forests Course Content

Art Materials
The Three Treasures
Other Treasures
In Asian culture, Calligraphy is a
“higher art form” than painting because it
truly expresses the individual spirit of the

All the brush strokes in Chinese calligraphy

are used in Chinese brush painting.
Chinese Landscape Painting -
Eight Basic Strokes
Chinese Calligraphy - Shān
Chinese Calligraphy - Mù
Chinese Calligraphy - Lin
Chinese Calligraphy - Sen