Upon first glance, this paper peeled from 2-year-old rice paper plants looks lightweight, inexpensive and unremarkable.
However, make no mistake of underestimating its powers. With a little water and a brush, this potent canvas is capable of “awakening” colors.
The special texture of pith paper, coupled with its unique ability to absorb and store pigments, ensures that the colors will not fade with time.
Pith paintings, also known as “tong cao hua,” gained popularity in 19th century Guangzhou and appealed to international traders.
Pith painting master Su Xin unfolds the unique history of pith paintings, which is characterized by its fusion of “western perspective painting” with “court-style skills from China”.
These comprehensive paintings mostly depicted Guangzhou’s people, landscape, and daily life. Over the years, the colors preserved from these paintings continue to tell vibrant stories of people’s lives.