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What is Sumi-e

Plum Blossoms in Moonlight

Sumi ink and Asian watercolors on rice paper by Takashi Ijichi


by Iris Lowe-Reiss


Sumi-e: The Art of  Ink, Paper and Brush

Sumi-e is an Asian art form in which paintings from nature are depicted in black ink on white paper. Sumi-e, along with Zen Buddhism, was introduced from China to Japan in the 15th Century.

As in many other Japanese arts and traditions, the

deep-rooted preference for simplicity and subtlety have become the hallmarks of the Japanese style of sumi-e. While the most traditional sumi-e style is black ink on white paper, color can also be used. Students practice first in black and white before working in color.

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