These are called "farmers' paintings." In order to help the local farmers earn extra income painting classes were started in the 1980s. The talent that was revealed is extraordinary, but even the merely skilled paintings are excellent. You can find these at all levels of price, size, and subject. The farmers have books of patterns that they use to copy and change to fit their own expression. You will find many different versions of the same painting. This is traditional in Chinese painting. Each copy is also considered an original, not a copy. Each person adds their own personality and "touch" to a topic or idea. It is treated like calligraphy. Each person may make a copy of a hundred characters for longevity (a common exercise in calligraphy) in clerical style, but each will be considered an original showing both the skill and artistry of the brush.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010