Discover China Through Art
Writing as Painting: Chinese Ink Art Workshop
Now through June 24th, 2016

In spring 2016, Discover China Through Art (DCTA), the innovative art education program at China Institute Gallery, will present special Chinese art and culture workshops. Through a video presentation and an experimental ink and brush workshop, participants will learn about the history of Chinese characters, these strokes through millennia, as well as mountains in Chinese art, and then use pictographic Chinese characters to make their own creative landscape paintings.

The Chinese writing system is one of the oldest in the world. In ancient Chinese legends, Chinese characters were created by Cangjie (仓颉), a four-eyed official historian of the Yellow Emperor in prehistoric ages. Through his observations, he invented the earliest characters by giving each subject a pictorial resemblance symbol, also known as pictogram. Though he was a legendary figure, archaeological excavation of oracle bone inscriptions proves that Chinese people had created a well-developed writing system earlier than the late second millennium BC. Chinese scripts and fonts have continued to develop over thousands of years, and we are still using this writing system today.

Mountains and landscape paintings play a defining role in Chinese culture. Mountains were seen as places that nurture life. Their veneration took the form of rituals, retreat from social society, and aesthetic appreciation through art of their vast beauty. For Chinese literati, mountains also express their pursuit to freedom from the mundane. Indeed, mountains can be seen as a backbone for Chinese cultural and artistic expression, having inspired forms and traditions across place and time.

Video presentations and workshops will be tailored to the needs of the participants. All age groups are welcome.


Weekday Morning 10:30AM to 11:30AM
Afternoon 1:30PM to 2:30PM
(Note: Please contact for evening and weekend workshops)
(Up to 30 participants per group)


Weekdays: $90 per group
Evenings and weekends: $120 per group
(Please reserve tours at least two weeks in advance of the requested date.)
Contact: Insher Pan 212-744-8181 x 147 or by email at [email protected]

About Discover China Through Art (DCTA)

Discover China Through Art (DCTA) is an innovative art education program that China Institute Gallery offers to schools and the general public. Created in 1993, DCTA introduces audiences to Chinese art and culture through a three-part interactive program that complements the Gallery’s exhibitions. The participants experiment with Chinese art through an introductory video presentation, a docent-led gallery discussion, and a hands-on art workshop. It is in these popular workshops that our participants experience Chinese art up close and have the opportunity to learn and apply fundamental techniques.

The program also offers special Chinese art and culture workshops in between of exhibitions, which consist of an interactive video presentation and an experimental hands-on workshop.

Discover China Through Art is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.