Fascinating World of Chinese Bird Painting

By Evan Yeh

Birds are such fascinating animals. From the way that they build their nests to their various songs and calls, they are some of the most intriguing creatures in the animal kingdom. Now that we are experiencing winter, it is a good time to ponder one of the most iconic behaviors that we associate with birds. With winter here, we can observe birds making an important decision. Do we fly to warmer climates for the winter or do we stay put?

Migrating japanese cranes on the left risk long travel to Ḁnd warmer climates, while the same species of birds in Hokkaido Japan stay and frolic in the snow.

Even the same species of bird will make different decisions. For example the iconic Asian or Japanese Cranes in Hokkaido Japan will stay in Hokkaido year round. Meanwhile, the same species of bird on the mainland in Russia migrates in the fall over 1,300 miles to the coastal Jiangsu Province in China. I find it fascinating to observe parallels between human behavior and animal behavior. Among our OAS extended worldwide family we see hunkering down and receiving their supply shipments in winter weather and we see others “migrating” to warmer climates, taking their supply deliveries in places where the climate is milder.

Another amazing thing about birds is the sheer number of species of birds and the tremendous variety of appearances and behaviors. From small flying birds like the simple sparrow or the more adorned bul bul to the water birds like the iconic Mandarin duck and the egret to the land bound birds like the golden pheasant to the magnificent peacock and finally prey birds like owls, hawks and eagles, it would be hard to find more diversity and intrigue in a group of animals.

Bird painting along with flowers and other natural subjects has a rich history in Chinese painting. As early as the 10th century you see historically significant Chinese artists begin to paint birds as some of their main subjects in both a meticulous and a more spontaneous style. Both the subject of birds and these two major styles are still relevant in modern Chinese painting.

Explore Chinese Bird Painting

Here are some wonderful resources for anyone to begin learning the fundamentals of Chinese Bird Painting.

100 Birds by Oshi Yang $35

details | buy

224 Pages, Chinese/English

Oshi Yang’s books offer the most clear instruction of any book we carry not written by Ning Yeh. This book is a real treasure with sequential illustration for a large number of subjects.

Bulbul Lesson by Ning Yeh

details | buy

Lovely and surprisingly simple lesson by Ning Yeh for this full of character small bird. Lesson on Barley colored Shuen Paper

Bulbul Lesson GLS050 free with purchase of $100 or more or $6.95

Barley Shuen Paper

details | buy

Wonderfully versatile colored shuen paper featured in Ning Yeh’s Bulbul lesson. Lovely color warms up any composition.

Barley Shuen Paper 5 Full Sheets

P04BA: $15.00
5 Full Sheets 27″x54″

Leave a Reply