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Meanings and Symbols



Meanings and Symbols in Chinese Paintings

Chinese culture is very rich in symbolism and throughout its long history each aspect of life has been represented by a suitable collection of symbols. The Chinese have long been gifted with a vivid imagination which, through the use of symbols, is both enriching psychologically and helps to ensure the essential health and happiness of the people.

Chinese Paintings have long been designed to express ideas and this has tended to form a kind of language that can be used to express hopes, beliefs and convey good wishes to others. Paintings have long been chosen as gifts by the Chinese. They can also be enjoyed as a focus for meditation in which the symbolic meanings and the harmonising yin/yang balance is conveyed to one's self.

As most Chinese believe in sympathetic magic, good symbols are believed to be quite capable of producing good fortune. Symbols portray a purposeful foray into the enchanted world of the imagination and Chinese paintings have long been considered an excellent medium for their expression.

On one level all Chinese paintings are meant to be viewed as symbols, each different theme has its own significance and meaning, a short description of which can be found by using the links in each of our "gallery" rooms. Their characteristic themes - tigers, mountains, bamboo, horses etc. - represent not only themselves, but also something beyond themselves.

Yet, on another level, Chinese paintings are also loved purely for their beauty. So Chinese paintings are both works of art intended as an expression of something, to be enjoyed either as a focus of meditation or as a means of transmitting a message, and simultaneously to give aesthetic pleasure and a balanced attitude to all who see them.



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