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Tiger | profile | all galleries >> CHINA, 2005 to 2012 >> The Chinese Art of Inside Painting, Shanghai 2007 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The Chinese Art of Inside Painting, Shanghai 2007

China is famous for the art of inside painting. In this art form, the painting is done on the inside of snuff bottles and similar hollow objects using a delicate hooked brush through a small opening at the top. The bottle is made from normal or crystal glass, and the inner surface is roughened so that the paint adheres properly.

Unlike traditional painting techniques, where the artist starts with the background and builds the picture on it, the inner painting artist must paint the foreground first and finish with the background. Each piece is meticulously hand painted and can take anywhere from 1-10 days to complete. Hand painting assures that no two pieces are the same, each item is unique. Inside painting artists study for many years before obtaining master status.

Inside painting emerged in the Qianlong and Jiaqing Dynasties, when snuff taking became common, and has been a form of Chinese art now for 200 years. It is often claimed to be the epitome of Chinese arts, including painting, calligraphy, carving, inlaying, ceramics, glassware, enamel, etc.

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