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Chinese Silk Paintings

Chinese silk paintings have a very long history in China. This is in large part due to the fact that China has been cultivating silk for many centuries. Chinese silk was so important at one point that it was used as a form of currency.  For a long period in ancient Chinese, peasants were not allowed to even wear silk.

Prior to the invention of paper in China, silk was one of the primary materials to paint on.  While a very luxurious material, it is also practical. Several Chinese calligraphy scrolls and paintings have been found that date back over two thousand years. These ancient Chinese paintings on silk are considered a national treasure of China.

Chinese Silk Paintings

Today, Chinese silk paintings continue to be very popular in China and in Western countries. Silk paintings offer the art collector a different way collecting beautiful works of art.  This is evident in the rising sales volume of silk paintings from China.

To create a silk painting, the artist must first prepare the silk. This is done by stretching the silk and dying the silk with the background color. Once the dye has dried, a thinned layer of gutta is then applied to the silk. Once the gutta has dried, the silk is considered ready for painting. If the silk was not prepared prior to painting, the ink would bleed from one fiber to another creating a blotchy appearance.

After the silk has been prepared, the artist can then create a silk painting. Chinese calligraphy paintings are a very popular type of silk painting. In this type of painting, the artists would combine a painting and a poem on the silk canvas. For example, the artist could paint a dragon and write the Chinese calligraphy symbol for the dragon next to it.

The example given is just one of the endless possibilities for a silk painting. Subjects such as horses, bamboo, flowers, and birds are popular also. Given the popularity of Chinese culture in western countries and how relatively inexpensive they are when compared to comparable western oil paintings, Chinese silk paintings offer a great way to add beautiful art to your home or office.

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