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Sumi-e

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(Redirected from Suiboku)
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SesshuToyo.jpg
Autumn Landscape (Shukei-sansui). Sesshu Toyo.

Sumi-e or Suiboku ("墨絵"; also "水墨画" suibokuga) is a form of ink painting developed in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) from the practice of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy (shodo). Suiboku was introduced to Japan in the mid-14th century by Zen Buddhist monks, and grew in popularity until its peak during the Muromachi period (1338-1573). Sumi-e literally means "ink pictures"; suibokuga means "water ink pictures." Only black ink — the same as used in calligraphy — in various concentrations is used.

In sumi-e, as in calligraphy, the artist usually grinds their own ink using an ink stick and a grinding stone, but prepared inks are also available. Most ink sticks are made of densely packed charcoal ash from bamboo or pine. The artist puts a few drops of water on the inkstone and grinds the ink stick in a circular motion until a smooth, black ink is made of the desired concentration. Ink sticks are of higher quality and are preferred for works that to be displayed. Prepared inks are useful for practice.

A tsuketate (付立) is a type of brush used for sumi-e. Sumi-e brushes, most of which are the same as the brushes used for calligraphy, are traditionally made from bamboo, and goat, ox, horse, or wolf hair. The brush hairs are tapered to a fine point, a feature vital to the sumi-e painting style.

There are four main brush strokes used in sumi-e, called the "Four Gentlemen" — the Bamboo Stroke, the Wild Orchid Stroke, the Chrysanthemum Stroke, and the Plum Branch Stroke. The strokes used to paint these four plants are the basis for everything painted in sumi-e.

Notable artists


ja:水墨画 zh:水墨画

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