An important part of the country's cultural heritage, the traditional Chinese painting is distinguished from Western art in that it is executed on xuan paper (or silk)
| || with the Chinese brush, Chinese ink, mineral and vegetable pigments. |
To attain proficiency in this branch of art calls for assiduous exercise, a good control of the brush, and a feel and knowledge of the qualities of xuan paper and Chinese ink.
Before setting a brush to paper, the painter must conceive a well-composed draft in his mind, drawing on his imagination and store of experience. Once he starts to paint, he will normally have to complete the work at one go, denied the possibility of any alteration of wrong strokes.
Xuan paper, as discussed in a previous article, is most suitable for Chinese painting. It is of the right texture to allow the writing brush, wet with Chinese ink and held in a trained hand, to move freely on it, making strokes varying from dark to light, from solid to hollow. These soon turn out to be human figures, plants and flowers, birds, fish and insects, full of interest and life.