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7) Gentlemen in conversation. Detail of painted pottery tile from tomb lintel. Eastern Han, about 150 AD. These figures, among the most famous in ancient Chinese painting, represent a solid advance in artistic skill over the early silhouetted figures of Ch'u painting. The artist has successfully captured the dynamic movement and excitement of an active conversation in progress. Each speaker has his own facial expression and personality. Particularly important in relation to later Chinese painting is the use of the modulated brush stroke to achieve a wide variety of different stylistic effects. Mother words, changes in the wide of the brush stroke serve to enliven the subject of the painting. Note, for example, the brush stroke that depicts the top of the right arm of the figure to the far left, how the same stroke is wider at the bottom and narrower at the top; or the gentle, graceful curves that depict the garment of the figure in the middle. Such brushwork lends the painting an air of spontaneity and natural movement. This is the earliest surviving work to show such brushwork, which later became a defining characteristic of Chinese painting.

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