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A Study on Materialized Brush and Ink in Chinese Painting

Author: JiangYu
Tutor: XueFuXing
School: Nankai University
Course: Aesthetics
Keywords: brush and ink material finger painting the correlation betweencalligraphy and painting painting before conceiving
CLC: J212
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 59
Quote: 0
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Since the beginning of last century, the status of brush and ink has become increasingly prominent. The20th century witnessed three debates on brush and ink. Those debates, which became fiercer and fiercer, emphasized on the importance of brush and ink. On one hand, such debates may be simply described as "Impact and Response"; on the other hand, they are also necessary procedures to establish the sense of Chinese paintings. In his essay Holding the Bottom Line of Chinese Painting Zhang Ting argued that "limitation is character". This argument, presented in the third debate, becomes an ultimate fruit of all previous discussions. Brush and ink were defined by Zhang Ting as a "tool culture", in which their values of spirit were clearly recognized according to their material qualities. Such theory set a direction for this paper to carry forward and improve.As painting materials, brush and ink’s development and evolvement have been thoroughly studied by former scholars. However, the research to their concepts, which closely connected to the materials, was relatively weak. Generally speaking, most of these viewpoints were dispersed, lopsided and shallow.In the first chapter, the concepts of brush and ink will be organized and analyzed. The evolving procedures of brush and ink before20th century will be briefly rearranged and the modern concepts of brush and ink will be penetrated on a theoretically basis. It showed that the materialized characters have played an important role in the tools, skills and concepts of brush and ink. In addition, the brush and ink used in paintings have a different developing process with those in calligraphy. Therefore, this paper tries to define brush and ink from the perspective of "material". It can be described as:(1) brush and ink, which are two different forms of material,(e.g. brushes are tools, while ink and paint are pigments.) constituted the direct media of Chinese Painting’s art creation;(2) the use of brush and ink. It refers to the diverse skills and techniques people used in drawing and painting. It can be called as brushwork or ink technique sometimes;(3) the effect of brush and ink. It includes the art effects and aesthetic styles occurred in aesthetic activities.In the second chapter, brush and ink themselves will be discussed. How the line, color and ink complement one another will be studied in the first section. There are three pairs of contradictions:brush and ink’s, ink and color’s, as well as brush and color’s. Among the three contradictions, brush and ink’s is the dominant one. It is also a dynamic factor in art creation. The ink and color’s contradiction, which subordinates to the brush and ink’s, express the emotional quality of brush and ink. Moreover, the techniques of ink-using convey a direct sentiment. The contradiction of brush and color demonstrated that Chinese paintings place weight on line, which is a distinction to the Western paintings. Chinese paintings take brush and ink as the core, which strengthen brush but weaken color. Thus, the contradiction between brush and color cannot be solved successfully. In the second section, it displayed that the materialized character of brush and ink brings a seasonal quality to Chinese paintings. The motion quality of brush and ink coordinates with that of body. The finger painting may show a perfect unite of these two motions. Therefore, it can be said that finger painting betrays perfectly the material quality of brush and ink.In the first section of chapter three, imitation and pattern-learning will be studied. According to such studies, it shows that brush and ink are not only tools but the restriction to the creation patterns of later generation. Therefore, the imitation and the pattern-learning related to brush and ink will get a special aesthetic value. When learning Chinese paintings, learners may be integrated into the art tradition gracefully by imitation and pattern-learning. This is actually a course of culture identity in the way of aesthetic education. In the western countries, the aim of culture identity is more likely to identify the artist himself. In China, however, the aim is to approach a certain kind of eternal being, and to integrate man to heaven via the process of such identification. In the second section, some viewpoints, which believe painting and calligraphy are interlinked, will be induced and analyzed. How painting and calligraphy are interlinked will also be further explored. It concluded that the root is they are created by the same tools. Based on this conclusion, the other characteristics of their interrelation are set up. Thus, it will explain the internal reason why there is dissymmetry to the mutual need between painting and calligraphy, which means painting needs calligraphy while calligraphy don’t need painting. And the internal reasons why there are calligrapnies used in literati paintings will also be interpreted. Furthermore, when brush and ink are used, their randomness and arbitrariness makes the Chinese artists express emotions more freely, thus brush and ink present a pattern for Chinese to express their freedom.In the first section of chapter four, the relation between "Yi" and brush in Chinese painting will be discussed. It points out that "Yi" has abundant meanings in different context. It may refer to conception, vitality, interest and charm, interest of brush, or have two or three of them at the same time. With the development of Chinese language, there are more and more words invented to describe the interest of brush. Thus, it may become the dominant one. Meanwhile, occasional effect, which closely related to brush and ink, is paid attention to. Therefore, the viewpoint that "painting before conceiving", which in contrast to "conceiving before painting", becomes possible. In reality, the essence of "painting before conceiving" is the process of being’s self-realization. Randomness is the way brush and ink approach to being. As a result, the being in aesthetic activities can be described as an aesthetic, subtle and occasional pleasure in one’s spirit. In the second section, it stressed that only if the brush and ink are considered as materials, the hobby that clumsiness is better than skillfulness will be better explained. Moreover, in Chinese paintings, the aesthetic style that painting should be clumsy, natural, bnet, trivial and easy will be understood more deeply.The last chapter is the conclusion. In this part, the arguments of former chapters will be systemized and abstracted in the angle of ontology. It concluded that brush and ink are based on existence, and connect to the being in the way of it. In this way, it can be claimed that Chinese painting has not take the being into consideration consciously.

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