Dating a painter
The period dating from the late Northern Song through the Southern Song saw the production of many paintings in this format, which was well suited to the abbreviated, lyrical images prevalent at the time.
One other format, the standing screen painting, because it was used as a functional home furnishing element, deteriorated rapidly through frequent movement and exposure.
The names inscribed on the seal stone are typically the literary or personal name of the owner.
Historians use seals to trace the later history of a painting, to see who owned and viewed the painting and which later artists may have been influenced by it.
Although this practice was common at court, it was with the scholar painters that the practice of writing on the painting surface became firmly established.
Literati painters also appended notes concerning the circumstances of creation of particular paintings.
Both are manufactured by mixing the pigment source with a glue base, which is then pressed into cake or stick form; using a special stone, the artist must grind the ink back into a watery solution immediately before painting.
In the west, not until the twentieth century do we see text and art image interact to the same degree on the surface of the art work.
The hanging scroll displays an entire painting at one viewing and typically ranges in height from two to six feet.
It can be thought of as a lightweight, changeable wall painting.
Chinese painting uses water-based inks and pigments on either paper or silk grounds.
Black ink comes from lampblack, a substance made by burning pine resins or tung oil; colored pigments are derived from vegetable and mineral materials.