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Monday, January 5, 2015

The History of Silk Painting

Silk painting was believed to date as far back as 476 BC, reaching it's height of popularity as an art form in the western Han dynasty, 206BC to 25AD.
Silk was first used as a medium for scrolls, the ink was made from pine soot and animal based glues. Over the years the art developed to include human figures, depicting religious and mythological creatures. The oldest silk painting was found in a tomb form the Waring States period in Changsha, China. It's been around for a while.  Around 300 AD silk painting made it's way to Japan and about 1300 AD artists used color in their work on silk. In the 12th century silk painting spread to Western Europe, by the 18th century the industrial revolution made silk cloth more widely available and the art form spread.  
In Indonesia, the family of the Russian tsar learned batik using wax resists. They brought the art form to France where the serti technique was developed in the 1900s. The popularity of silk painting continued to spread to Great Britain and the USA a by the 1970s. Today the art of silk painting continues, using a multitude of techniques and styles. ( art of silk blog, Chinese silk painting, it's history.

Silk facts
Silk is created from silk worms. This moth is one of the earliest domesticated animals & needs human intervention to survive because it cannot fly.
Silk is created by insects, therefore insects will not eat it. Silk is the strongest natural fiber, for it's weight, it's stronger than steel.  Silk is very absorbent and porous, it can absorb up to 30 times it weight in water and is warmer than wool. Silk weight is called mums (mm) which is a Chinese measure. Silk is archival and was the painting ground if choice before canvas or paper was invented. (Dharma Trading).

Stay tuned for more information on silk painting.

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