Contemporary Chinese ink paintings: The dawn of a rock renaissance | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2051-7041
  • E-ISSN: 2051-705X



This article focuses on eight contemporary Chinese ink artists who paint scholars’ rocks. Their interpretations of the rock demonstrate the diversity of their perspectives and talents. Although each artist has his or her unique interpretation of the rock, they are united in their desire to revitalize ink painting and its associated literati tradition. This article will first present a brief introduction of the history of collecting and painting rocks in literati culture. This will be followed by discussions of the work of each of the artists in question. It shall be argued that while these artists use the rock – a traditional object of scholarly contemplation – and brush and ink as their main point of reference, they are actively engaged in bringing their work into the present. The work of these artists demonstrates that image and technical skills do not need to be entirely novel to be contemporary.


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