What is Sumi-e?

“Soaring High”by Oi Yee Tai

Sumi-e is inkwash brush painting originating from China over a thousand years ago, and embraced enthusiastically in Japan, Korea and now internationally. The name sumi-e literally means water+ink+painting 水墨畫.

Different names are used in different cultures:

  • Chinese in Mandarin is shui-mo hua and in Cantonese is Sui Mak Wa (水墨畫)
  • Japanese sumi-e (墨絵) or suibokuga (水墨画)
  • Korean sumukhwa (수묵화)

You will find that I use the term ink wash painting, sumi-e, and sumi painting interchangeably here in this blog. But sometimes it is easier to use the shortest word sumi-e when typing.

Ink wash painting uses Chinese ink on Xuan paper. Different tones and shades are achieved by varying the ink density and brush pressure. It is not simply to reproduce the appearance of the subject, but to capture its soul.

When I paint, I follow my heart and go with the flow.


>>>>Next….The Four Treasures of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy


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About inkwashpainting

Follow the heart…go with the flow That’s how I paint, that’s how I live. My sumi paintings are essentially monochromatic. I find boundless freedom in expressing myself through different shades of black, white and grey. I love to use minimal strokes capturing the essence while leaving enough white space for the viewer’s imagination. That stems from the Taoist thinking – sometimes not doing anything is action in itself. You can read more about me at my website: http://www.oystudio.com 戴愛兒 - 簡約寫意水墨畫

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