The Beauty of Traditional Chinese Architiecture in Painting
Jiao BingZhen (Chiao Ping-chen)

, Qing Dynasty 1689-1726
National Palace Museum, Taipei

Chiao Ping-chen [Jiao BingZhen], a native of Shantung, served in the Directorate of Astronomy at court, where he worked with Europeans. He came in contact with European painting styles, which influenced the rendering of figural and architectural subjects in Ch'ing court art.

The depiction of traditional architecture in painting has a long history in China, that dates back at least as far as the writings of Ku K'ar-chih (ca. 344 - 406). The primary technique used to render architecture in painting was known as " ruled-line painting," in which a ruler was used as a tool to guide the brush. The use of the ruler allowed painters to produce exact, parallel lines, which in turn made it possible to render the specific dimensions of individual structures. "Ruled-line painting" experienced its heyday in the 109th century, during the Five Dynasties and early Sung. In the Yuan dynasty, with the rise of scholar painting and the increasing emphasis placed on painting as a means of personal expression, the exactness and realism of "ruled-line painting" gradually declined in popularity. Although it never regained its former status, it did experience a resurgence in the works of some early Ch'ing court painters, who were influenced by Western techniques of painting composition and architectural drawing.

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