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With the long history in all forms of artistic expression found in China, it’s easy to get bogged down in examining a multitude of particular examples. Instead, swongart.com focuses on the larger picture. This site is dedicated to exploring the broader philosophies and approaches that have guided Chinese artists over the centuries. This site looks at what Chinese artists have tried to convey in their work, the methods they’ve used, and even the tools they’ve employed.

Among other topics, posts have delved into the underlying beliefs that guide artists in the East. The idea that all things contain a life force, or chi, is an important principle in Chinese and other Asian schools of artistic thought. There are also strong beliefs in harmony, nature’s cycles, and balance, known as yin and yang, that come through in various media. Articles discuss these motives in great detail.

The methods used in the East are also heavily explored in various articles. The connection between how artists learn painting and calligraphy is a fascinating one. In China, there’s no real distinction between the two. Along with such carefully controlled techniques, approaches like Po Mo are reviewed. This method allows artists to splash and drip paints on the canvas and add details that transform them into recognizable images like animals or landscapes.

Finally, even the materials traditionally used provide topics for discussion. Things like animal hair brushes, watercolor paints, rice or mulberry paper, and even silk have supplied Asian artists with the building blocks to create works of beauty. Along with providing interesting reading, these articles might inspire present-day artists and give them ideas for both how and why they should undertake future projects.