Dated from Century II from our era or the appearance of China, the art of sumi-e. The designated word has a Japanese root and literally means painting with ink. There doesn't exist any point of contact between the concept of occidental painting and this concept. To say the truth we are speaking of pure calligraphy. The artist must communicate his idea in a direct, summarized way and in a few words, being that, in this case, in a few lines. More than just a mimetic representation of sumi-e and the art of the essential.
Just like the drawing, the material is also in a frugal way, essential: paintbrushes, ink from china and paper, mostly rice paper; a low table or the floor will serve as support. The most simple registration, stained. After that, the gesture in the arm will do the rest, remaining always in a vertical position. Everything is placed in the delicate balance between energy and the control of every stroke, more than in the pressure of the paintbrush and the density of the ink.
Much training is necessary, great skill and concentration to become a sumi-e artist, this ability is reserved only for a few. The design/writing is created on the basis of a profound understanding of a subject represented by an intense feeling. Practically, everything can be represented, from animals to human figures, now the traditional subjects are left for the vegetable kingdom: chrysanthemums, irises, orchids, sakura cherries, grapevines, and pine trees come up in an appealing way.
It's not just the way a subject is represented that matters; if that were the case the designs would become monotonous and repetitive, once they follow some rigid rules. However there aren't two that look the same. The composition is very important and it also follows certain canonical rules. And the composition reveals the artist's soul, elegance and supreme harmony which culminate with the apposition of the postmark like its name.
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