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Calligraphy and Painting for Ceramics


Pottery and porcelain art has a lot in common with ancient Chinese painting in terms of artistic essence, characteristics, and expressive ways. The principles for good painting - heavy emphasis on both appearance and spirit -- also apply to making good ceramics. Both art forms require the artists to delve deep into life and reflect it in an artistic way.

It is not only painted ceramic works that are closely linked with traditional Chinese painting; common ceramic sculpting works also share similarity in the basic notions of creation with painting.

Traditional figure painting, especially realistic painting characterized by fine brushwork and close attention to details, has very strict standards about the artistic conception, figuration, dynamics, and even clothes texture. Therefore, the works are realistic yet exaggerated, lifelike yet decorative.

Traditional ceramic figure sculpting was deeply influenced by figure painting. The latter was originally the base of the former, but the two later mutually influenced and borrowed from each other.

The Gongzai figures from Shiwan Kiln in Foshan of South China's Guangdong Province are characterized by their vividness, primitive simplicity, vigorousness, and boldness. The Avalokitesvara or Guanyin figures from Dehua Kiln of Southeast China's Fujian Province are elegant and kindly; the clothing line of Guanyin is especially very fluent. Jingdezhen (East China's Jiangxi Province) sculpting ceramics are known for their colorfulness, magnificence, simple form, and decorativeness. All these works have derived their artistic characteristics from that of the painting works.


Calligraphy, which also employs a stronger use of lines, has a great deal in common with ceramics.

Both calligraphy and ceramics are a combination of practical artistic uses. The calligraphic and ceramic artists express their own feelings and understandings of life via their respective works, making the two art forms internally closely linked to each other. In fact, in a great number of ancient Chinese pottery and porcelain works, calligraphy was largely and widely used.

Meanwhile, painting, calligraphy, and porcelain art have one common feature: they are not suitable to express a continuous story but rather a flashing scene. An expressive artistic illustration that is full of vitality and imagination is created to reflect the frame of a movement.

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