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22) Wen T'ung (1019-1079). Ink Bamboo. Ink on silk. Bamboo is among the most common and beloved subgenres of Chinese painting. There are several reasons. First, the bamboo plant itself, which grows prolifically in China, is symbolic in Chinese culture for moral integrity, purity, and the ability to withstand adversity, all features that can be observed in the actual plant itself. Second, painting bamboo with the Chinese ink brush is closely akin to Chinese calligraphy, and many of the same techniques and brush strokes are used in both genres. Bamboo painting is thus became the most natural form of artistic expression for Chinese literati, all of whom were first required to master calligraphy. Chinese connoisseurs held that the brush work in such a painting, as in calligraphy, revealed the inner personality of the artist. Nevertheless, bamboo painting evolved quite late in Chinese history; Wen T'ung is one of its early masters, and his style was much copied in later times. Particularly attractive in this work is the use of contrasting ink shades to render depth; in other words, leaves closer to theview are darker, leaves farther away are lighter.

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