The art of traditional Chinese painting dates back about six
thousand years to the Neolithic Period. Colored pottery painted
with animals, fish, deer, and frogs excavated in the 1920s indicate
that during this time, the Chinese had already started to use
brushes to paint.
Traditional Chinese painting is highly regarded throughout the
world for its theory, expression, and techniques. According to the
means of expression, Chinese painting can be divided into two
categories: xieyi and gongbi. The xieyi style is characterized by
exaggerated forms and freehand brushwork. The gongbi school is
characterized by close attention to detail and fine brushwork.
Traditional Chinese painting combines, in a single picture,
elements of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal engraving.
Since the turn of the century, China has experienced many
political, economic, and cultural changes, and the art of painting
is no exception. While traditional Chinese painting still occupies
an important place in the life of the modern Chinese, many painters
now desire to express their experience and views of these new
times. By combining new modes of expression with traditional
Chinese painting techniques, they are opening up a vast, new world
of artistic expression.