Sometimes Chinese painters used modulated lines for contours and interior details that elastically thicken and thin to convey depth and mama’s The achievement of the Tang masters was the way that they carried the articulated, calligraphic line right through the whole picture, so that he broken interior washes that give form and character to the hills and rocks became one with the outlines in a new integration of texture. 6 There is an important balance of ink to water, and the amount of white space left on the paper. If you rely too much on ink, you destroy the real substance Of things and injure the brushwork, as well as muddy the painting.
But where the use of ink is not enough, the spirit becomes weak. Both excess and insufficiency are defects. 7 It is the use of ink that is hardest in painting. One starts painting by using diluted ink, then they slowly build up the painting by adding heavier inks very sparingly to create depth, A blank space is always reserved in Chinese paintings for clouds over mountains, fog haunting above rivers, light circles reflected from the sun or the moon, or nothing at all, There are many examples of mountains dissolving into nothingness in Chinese landscape paintings.
Landscape paintings were meant to be viewed from a shifting perspective that does not limit the viewer to a fixed point. 8 Handbarrows often depicted landscapes as a sequence. The moving picture retained the artists control of the frames. 9 A specific example of the use of these techniques is Dwelling in the Fuchs Mountains. This long handbarrows by Human Gong-Wang is among the most famous paintings in Chinese history. Depicted in this handbarrows is an idealized panorama of the Fuchs mountains, west of Hangout. 0 Beginning with a vast expanse of river scenery at the right, we move On to the mountains and hills, then back to areas of river and marsh that end with a conical peak. We finally come to the end Of our wandering through the landscape as it ebbs out in the distant ink- wash hills over the water. The composition was first laid out in light ink and then finished With successive applications Of darker and drier brushwork. Sometimes shapes were slightly altered, contours strengthened, and texture strokes or tree groups added here and there.
Finally, brush dots were distributed across the work as abstracted accents. Buildings, tree limbs, and foliage are reduced to the simplest of forms as Nature has been translated into the artist’s terms of brush and ink. Landscape painting could maintain it’s dominant role in Chinese paintings because of its root in Chinese traditional culture. In China nothing occurred to seriously interrupt or reverse the growth of a generally accepted philosophy of nature, and that provided a perfect climate tort great landscape painting. 1 Chinese philosophers in ancient times believed in the unity of human beings and heaven, which means human beings can feel nature and therefore should be in a harmonious relationship with it, 12 Chinese paintings clearly reveal that Chinese think in a holistic way. An important part of these landscape paintings is that to the Chinese all mountains are sacred. ‘They are sacred because, since remote times, the Chinese eave held that the cosmic forces, the energy, harmony, and ceaseless renewal Of the universe, are in some way made manifest in them.
In popular belief the mountain is the body of the cosmic being, the rocks its bones, the water the blood that gushes through its veins, the trees and grasses its hair, the clouds and mists the vapor of its breath, which is the visual manifestation of the very essence of life. “13 The Chinese painter may spend years in wandering among the hills and streams so that this natural order may reveal itself to him. But how can he express the intensity of the awareness that comes to him in these moments of parietal revelation before the ultimate mysteries of the universe?
The language of metaphysics is too remote, too abstract, to convey an experience that, while partly psychic is also intensely visual, For the wanderer in the mountains attains awareness not through the imagination, but through a journey, in space and time, in a real landscape. 14 There are specific techniques used to express nature that can only be learned through the teachings of the masters, and extensive time spent in nature. This is because in the Chinese traditional culture information is passed down from enervation to generation.