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Chinese Paintings

Unlike Western painting, Chinese painting is most commonly made with water-based ink on paper or silk rather than acrylic or oil on canvas. The ancient Chinese art of painting began on cave walls in the Neolithic period and later emerged as ink and wash painting during the Tang dynasty.

Ancient paintings usually feature stylized or abstracted people, literary scenes, and landscapes with special attention to blank or negative space. Paintings are traditionally either mounted onto a hanging scroll, a hand scroll, a standing screen, sliding screens, and walls. Early Chinese paintings were also mostly ornamental. It wasn’t until 475-221 B.C. that Chinese painters began painting representationally.

By 206 B.C.. painters were mostly depicted their ancestors on silk banners, tomb walls, or lacquerware. These ancestral portraits were created in order to protect the dead and to guide them into the afterlife. Over time, Chinese painters began to favor landscape ink and wash paintings as the ideal and purest form of painting. To this day, the minimalist and stylized expressionist style of Chinese landscape painting has been preserved.


Quick Facts

  • During the New Culture Movement in the 1900s, Chinese painters began experimenting with Western mediums like oil paint. Oil paints in Chinese culture emerged from the arrival of Western missionaries during the 17th century
  • Traditionally, Chinese painting was taught under an apprenticeship where a student was not only encouraged but required to copy a master’s painting with precision in order to learn the accurate rendering of objects
  • The significance of Chinese painting lies not only in the image but also in the quality and handling of the brush, the quality of the paper or silk, the grinding of the ink, and the gesture of the brushstrokes

Recommended Items at Auction

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Pair of Chinese Qing Dynasty Ancestral Portraits,
Dec 11, 12:00 PM AEDT
Pair of Chinese Qing Dynasty Ancestral Portraits,
by Aalders Auctions
Est: AUD400- AUD600
AUD5506 Bids
Attributed To Zhao Wuji, Chinese Sea Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Zhao Wuji, Chinese Sea Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$6004 Bids
Attributed To Huang Yongyu, Chinese Flower Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Huang Yongyu, Chinese Flower Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $900- $1,500
$1754 Bids
Attributed To Wu Guanzhong, Chinese Southern Scenery Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Wu Guanzhong, Chinese Southern Scenery Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,800- $2,500
$3504 Bids
FU BAOSHI: INK AND COLOR ON PAPER PAINTING 'LANDSCAPE SCENERY'
Dec 17, 3:00 PM PST
FU BAOSHI: INK AND COLOR ON PAPER PAINTING 'LANDSCAPE SCENERY'
by Mega International Auction
Est: $500- $600
$3003 Bids
Fu baoshi (1904-1965), Chinese Figure and Landscape Painting
Dec 15, 1:00 PM PST
Fu baoshi (1904-1965), Chinese Figure and Landscape Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$1002 Bids
Attributed To Wu Guanzhong, Chinese Animals Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Wu Guanzhong, Chinese Animals Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$3002 Bids
TIBETAN BUDDHIST HAND-PAINTED THANGKA WALL HANGING
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
TIBETAN BUDDHIST HAND-PAINTED THANGKA WALL HANGING
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$802 Bids
Attributed To Zhang Daqian, Chinese Landscape Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Zhang Daqian, Chinese Landscape Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,700- $2,500
$3502 Bids
Three Chinese Watercolours on Pith Paper Butterfly and Flowers
Dec 17, 9:30 AM EST
Three Chinese Watercolours on Pith Paper Butterfly and Flowers
by Luban Antique
Est: $100- $500
$501 Bid
2 antique framed watercolors, and a framed print
Dec 17, 2:00 PM PST
2 antique framed watercolors, and a framed print
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$201 Bid
PAN TIANSHOU: INK AND COLOR ON PAPER PAINTING 'EAGLE'
Dec 17, 3:00 PM PST
PAN TIANSHOU: INK AND COLOR ON PAPER PAINTING 'EAGLE'
by Mega International Auction
Est: $500- $600
$3001 Bid
Attributed To Zhao Wuji, Chinese Wonderful Word Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Zhao Wuji, Chinese Wonderful Word Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$4001 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED LUO JUN. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H704.
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED LUO JUN. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H704.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $5,500- $8,500
$1,5001 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED ZONGJUN XIE(1971-). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H719
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED ZONGJUN XIE(1971-). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H719
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $2,500- $5,000
$7501 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED XINGTIAN QING. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING ABSTRAC PAINTING. H727.
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED XINGTIAN QING. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING ABSTRAC PAINTING. H727.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $2,000- $2,500
$5501 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED DEYONG WEI. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H740.
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED DEYONG WEI. A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H740.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $1,500- $3,500
$5501 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H696
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED ZHANG DAQIAN (1899-1983). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING PAINTING. H696
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $150,000- $800,000
$46,0001 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED XINWEI ZENG, OIL PAINTING ON CANVAS, UNFRAMED.OH067
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED XINWEI ZENG, OIL PAINTING ON CANVAS, UNFRAMED.OH067
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $3,000- $4,500
$9501 Bid
(8) FROM CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK PAST AUCTION: EIGHT QING DYNASTY PAINTINGS OF HORSES.H561.
Dec 12, 11:00 AM EST
(8) FROM CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK PAST AUCTION: EIGHT QING DYNASTY PAINTINGS OF HORSES.H561.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $55,000- $85,000
$19,0001 Bid
Attributed To Fu Baoshi, Chinese Landscape Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Fu Baoshi, Chinese Landscape Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$4001 Bid
Attributed To Lin Fengmian, Chinese Figure Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Lin Fengmian, Chinese Figure Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,300- $2,000
$2501 Bid
Attributed To Pan Yuliang, Chinese Flower Painting
Dec 09, 1:00 PM PST
Attributed To Pan Yuliang, Chinese Flower Painting
by China Arts Auction
Est: $1,300- $2,000
$2501 Bid
A SET OF SIX BODHI LEAF PAINTINGS, QING DYNASTY
Dec 10, 11:00 AM CET
A SET OF SIX BODHI LEAF PAINTINGS, QING DYNASTY
by Galerie Zacke
Est: €200- €400
€2001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Paintings


China Arts Auction

China Arts Auction

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc

Mega International Auction

Mega International Auction

Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.

Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.