Fineline Artworks


This gallery is dedicated to the artform of Chinese fine line painting – mostly referred to as Gongbi (工笔) painting.

If you translate the words literally, the symbol “Gong” (工) stands for work or productive labor, the symbol “Bi” (笔) stands for pen or stroke but ist mostly used together with the word for hair to refer to a brush which is ”Maobi” (毛笔). Now Gongbi then means something like “the art of the working brush” – due to older meanings of the word it is often literally translated as something like “tidy or meticulous brush technique”.

Therefore, its name already says a lot about the essence and main characteristic of this Oriental art form that originated in China during the Han Dynasty when political stability and economic prosperity provided an environment which was beneficial for Chinese fine arts taking a big leap forward.

Whereas Ink and Wash Painting (Shui Mo Hua / 水墨画 in Chinese but here mostly referred to as Sumi-e) allow for a more free and creative interpretation of the motifs and subjects which are painted, Gongbi painting is subject to a more strict set of regulations, it is more descriptive than interpretative with a very strong focus on each little details. Sumi on the other hand tries to grasp the essence of a motif in often a more free artistic interpretation.

The principal motifs of Gongbi painting are usually very colorful and often has a story-telling approach in the painting.