Sumi Artworks

Sumi Artworks


Sumi-e is probably the most widely known East-Asian brush art known in Western countries. Even though it has its origins in China where it is being referred to as Ink and Wash Painting (Shui Mo Hua / 水墨画) it is mainly the Japanese term of Sumi that is well known and usually used to refer to it.

Ink and Wash painting originated in the Chinese Tang dynasty having one of its peaks during Song Dynasty. What is special about it is the way the paper is used as sized, unsized and semi-sized paper and the fact that it is a wash-on-wash technique where different layers of color can be seen even if applied on top of each other. The main tools used for Sumi-paintings are also referred to as the Four Treasures of the study – paper – mostly xuan or washi paper, inkstick, ink slab and of course the brush.

The essence of a Sumi painting is not to depict the object or motif of the painting as realistically and with the most detail but to capture its soul or essence – a very philosophical approach. The fewer strokes needed to achieve this goal, the better the artist is able to catch the essence of his object of study and admiration. Therefore, Sumi paintings are of a very minimalistic character – each stroke intended to carry as much symbolic meaning as possible whereas the superflous not needed to achieve this is omitted. In order to do that, it is not enough for a painter to only observe the appearance of an object but to understand and comprehend it on a much deeper level. In a way, from this point of view it somehow compares to the Western style of Expressionism.

The Sumi paintings displayed in our gallery come from a wide range of artists, some of them being purely traditional artworks, others mixing this Oriental art with elements or motifs of Western art, that way developing it int a new direction. As for all other galleries, we try not to distinguish between hobby artists or professional artists, Sumi instructors and teachers but display them all together.