Chinese landscape painting, particularly in black ink on silk or paper, is one of the renowned art forms of China. Mountains, bare trees and water are the usual themes of these landscape paintings. In the West, with a tradition of painting from nature, it has been rather too easy to assume that the magnificent early Chinese landscape paintings originated in the representation of mountainous scenery in China. This seems to be far from the case. The art is not only an imagination of conquering the nature, but also a symbol of conquering naturally imagination. From the theme of the painting, the emergence of the earliest Chinese paintings is the portrait. The mountains and scenery were originally depicted as portraits complement scenes. Later they developed into an independent painting subject--The landscape paintings. The earliest Chinese landscape painting we can see now is the "Spring Outing" by Zhan Ziqian in Sui Dynasty. The earliest surviving examples of depictions of mountains occur in small models intended for incense burners and in the scenes carved on walls of tombs of the second to first centuries BC. In these tombs, the mountains represent hazardous areas, which were to be crossed to reach the immortal lands of spirits and deities. The models represent paradises. It is in this connection that we must search the origin of Chinese landscape painting. Indeed, the talk will show that a tradition of landscape painting was established, not through the depiction of actual mountains, but through the visualization of the areas of the world where deities might be thought to live. The talk will trace the beginnings of representation of hilly landscapes down to the 10th century AD.
Compared with the Western landscape paintings, the Chinese landscape painting is at least 1,000 years earlier. The figure meanings they present are actually a history of Chinese thought. As early as 7,000 years ago, the first ancients awakening to record patterns. The Hemudu culture of the Neolithic had already learned to use the engraved lines to express the concept of culture’s connotation.
Chinese landscape painting is the precipitation of Chinese mind and love. From the landscape, we can savor the mood of the Chinese painting style, the spirit and tone. No other painting subjects can give Chinese people more emotions than Landscape Paintings do. Our landscape paintings are the nation's heritage, classical power, my image and human nature.