China has a wide variety
of arts and crafts. They can be classified into special and folk
types. Painting and calligraphy are unique in the world. Famous
special arts and crafts include ivory carving, jade carving,
stone carving, carved lacquer ware and cloisonne.
Chinese folk arts have
a strong national style and local flavor. Chinese folk arts fall
into the categories of painting, cutting, bundling, braiding,
knitting, embroidering, carving, and molding.
traditional Chinese painting is done on rice paper (or silk)
with the Chinese brush, Chinese ink and mineral and vegetable
pigments. It is divided into two categories in technique: free
hand brushwork (xie yi) and detailed brushwork (gong bi)
. Free hand is characterized by simple and bold strokes to represent
the exaggerated likenesses of the objects, while detailed brushwork
uses fine and detail brushwork. It can also be divided into three
categories based on the objects it depicts: landscape, figure
and birds-and-flower. Chinese traditional painting absorbs the
best of many forms of art, a piece of work usually integrates
poetry, calligraphy, painting and seal engraving. Chinese painters
usually combine poetry and philosophy together. Hence there is
an expression "painting in poetry and poetry in painting."
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paintings are done by peasants, integrating the folk arts of
printing and dyeing, embroidery, paper cutting, wood carving,
and cook stove painting. They depict the peasant's colorful
customs and daily life. There are several major peasant painting
centers in China, such as Jinshan, Huxian and Pixian. Jinshan
peasant painting is noted for its vibrant colors and unique designs.
brush calligraphy is a unique art. It's done by brush with ink
on the rice paper. The tools are the brush, ink, paper, and ink
stone, which are referred to as the "four treasures of the
Chinese characters are
formed by strokes. By controlling the concentration of ink, the
thickness and absorption of the paper, and the flexibility of
the brush, the artist is free to produce various styles and forms.
Calligraphy is also a mental exercise that coordinates the mind,
the breath and the body to choose the best style in expressing
the content. It is a relaxing yet highly disciplined exercise
for one's physical and spiritual well being.
was the first producer of silk in the world. Silk and silk fabric
emerged in China at least 5,500 years ago. The famous Silk Road
to the Middle East and Europe started from 138 BC. Embroidery
was used to give the cloth its delicate, often brilliant patterns.
The four renowned embroideries of China are Su embroidery (Jiangsu
province), Yue embroidery (Guangdong province), Xiang embroidery
(Hunan province) and Shu embroidery (Sichuan province).
Embroidery needs the
artist to be very patient. Take the famous Su embroidery artwork
double faced "Cat" for example. The artist splits the
hair thin colored silk thread into half, quarter, 1/12 or even
1/48 of its original thickness, the thousands of ends and joints
are concealed in the process of embroidery. The most difficult
part of the artwork is the eyes of the cat. More than 20 colors
are used to give the eyes luster and life.
a popular folk art, includes various straw or thread braided
articles. The products include straw slippers, straw baskets
and bags, Chinese macrame, cool pillows, cushions, fragrant bags,
and shoe-pads, etc.
is the home of chinaware. Famous porcelain-making centers are
Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province, Liling in Hunan Province, Tangshan
and Handan in Hebei Province, and Zibo in Shandong Province.
During the Han Dynasty,
celadon and black porcelain were mainly produced. Celadon is
a type of grayish-green glaze, which is like the color of jade.
In the late Tang Dynasty, pure white porcelain were produced
at Xing Kiln in Hubei province. Its porcelain wares give out
sounds like a musical instrument when being tapped . The porcelain
wares of the Song Dynasty are classic porcelain arts in the entire
world. Many famous kilns were found during the Song Dynasty.
Famous kilns were Ru Kiln, Jun Kiln, Guan Kiln, Ge Kiln and the
Creamy porcelain wares
were produced at Ru Kiln. Ru's wares are rare and the most famous
of them. The
red of the rosy porcelain wares produced at Jun Kiln are like
the brilliant sunset glow. Ge Kiln specialized in producing artificial
crackle porcelain wares.
Blue and white porcelain
started from the Tang dynasty and enjoyed great popularity
since the Ming dynasty. The kilns in Jingdezhen were the most
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history of pottery in China can be traced back to 8000 years
ago. Red earthenware,
white pottery, black pottery, terra-cotta, tri-colored pottery
and purple clay pottery appeared in chronological order.
Yixing teapots made
from purple clay are famous. It can keep the fragrance of tea.
Black pottery, tri-colored pottery and terra-cotta are also popular.
("Jing Tai Lan" in Chinese), a traditional enamelware,
originated in Beijing, and has a history of more than 500 years.
It prevailed during the reign of Jingtai (1450-1456 A.D.) of
the Ming Dynasty and was named "Jing Tai Lan" because
the dominant color of the enamel was then blue ("lan" in
Chinese). Cloisonne is noted for its brilliant colors and splendid
designs. The making of Cloisonne involves quite elaborate and
complicated processes: base-hammering, soldering, enamel-filling,
enamel firing, polishing and gilding. It uses the red copper
as the body of cloisonne, then adheres copper strips onto the
copper body (1/16 inch in diameter) according to the design,
and then fills the enamels in the design. After that is the repeat
enamel firing and polishing and gilding.
making is a traditional Chinese folk handicraft. Kites made in
Tianjin, Beijing and Weifang are the best. Wei Yuantai (nickname
Kite Wei) is the most famous craftsman in Tianjin. Fei Baolin
is the best kite maker in Beijing. Each year, Weifang International
Kite Festival is held in April in Shandong province.
|Paper - Cuttings
is another popular folk art in China. Tools including paper, scissors
and engraving knife. Paper-cuttings can be used as ornaments on
doors, windows, walls, mirrors, lamps and lanterns. In Chinese
New Year, people usually put paper-cuttings on the entrance gates
for good luck, and on windows for decoration.
is a natural substance obtained from the lacquer tree which has
its home in China. Chinese lacquer has a long history dating
back as early as the New Stone Age. Chinese lacquer includes
lacquer painting, lacquer ware and lacquer furniture. Lacquer
is resistant to water, heat, acid or alkaline corrosion, and
its color and luster are highly durable, adding beauty to its
practical use. Beijing, Fuzhou and Yangzhou are the cities leading
in the production of Chinese lacquer ware. Fuzhou is well known
for the "bodiless
lacquer ware", it is solid lacquer without any wooden base.