What Are They?

-- A brief introduction to Chinese Farmer's Paintings


Facts: There are more than 40 places that have seen farmer¡¯s paintings all over China, and each has been marked with some local features. The most famous ones are Huxian County in Northwest China¡¯s Shaanxi Province and Jinshan County near Shanghai.

Looking at those works at the first sight, impressionism may be the first thing to come to your mind. The similarities between the two are obvious: both have intense colors, simple and clear lines, and detail the feelings and understandings of the world ¨C except for the fact that these are not done by a Chinese Monet, but, surprisingly, Chinese peasants.

More than three quarters of the population in the Middle Kingdom are farmers, creators of this unique genre of fine arts in China. If you are becoming weary of watching the classic canvas and abstract modern paintings, these works provide you an alternative that strikes you with its extreme liveliness, vivaciously rural style, and bold imaginations.

Without professional training in art academies, the farmers make these paintings to express their own joys, upsets, and ponderings. As a matter of fact, a lot of the painters are illiterate. When they cannot express themselves with written, they take painting brushes instead. Taking a closer at the pictures, which usually feature farmlands, crops, pigs, sheep, and courtyards, you may gain a clue of what life is like in the country of the Far East.

Chinese farmer¡¯s painting is relatively a new art form, and appeared in the late 1950s partly as a result of political encouragement, took shape in the 1970s, but to the 1980s, it had demonstrated its vitality with unique charm.