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Traditional Painting Techniques

According to painting skills, traditional Chinese painting (Guohua) can be divided into three main styles: gongbi style, xieyi style and combination of these two styles.
Gongbi(工笔, gōng bǐ),meticulous, usually referred to as "court-style" painting. It features on meticulous drawing and emphasizes the beauty of lines. It needs close attention to detail and fine brushwork.

Xieyi(写意,xiě yì),freehand, loosely termed watercolour or brushwork. So Chinese people also use Chinese character "水" (means water) and "墨" (means ink) together to name this painting skill "水墨"as the core of Xieyi. When a painter use xieyi technique, he always try to describe exaggerated forms to express his feelings. Different from gongbi, xieyi generalizes shapes and displays rich brushwork and ink techniques. 
Combination of gongbi and xieyi(兼工带写, jiān gōng dài xiě),literally, both of two main techniques gongbi and  xieyi are used in one painting. This kind of painting skill is used very often in flower-bird paintings and figure paintings.

gongbi painting

xieyi painting


combination of gongbi and xieyi


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