Cultural Sources of Ink and Wash / Sumi-e Painting: Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy


What is the Relationship Between Ink and Wash Painting / Sumi-e and Calligraphy?

There is a popular aphorism among art critics and painters which says “writing and painting have the same origin” (书画同源/shu hua tong yuan). It is true that the relationship between ink painting and calligraphy is at first glance a very simple one. Both arts share the same tools and materials – brush, ink and paper. But it would be too simple to reduce the connection of ink painting and calligraphy solely on its materials. It is not only the purely technical aspect which connects calligraphy and painting, but also aesthetic ones: composition, execution of line, relationship between filled and empty spaces – both arts share similar theoretic principles.

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