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A glimpse of Chinese Culture through a Buddhist painting exhibition

The first appearance of Chinese Buddhist paintings dates back in China to the period of the Three Kingdoms, and to create this painting style is to learn and teach the way of Buddhism. Buddhist painting has been said to help one achieve a state of peacefulness and tranquility, promoting social harmony, and further enhancing the safeguard of morality and the restoration of order.

On the 4th of December, China Cultural Centre in Sydney presented a unique Buddhist painting exhibition by artist Pingchao Zou, who utilises cinnabar to create this ancient style of painting. Being the first religion-based art exhibition in the Centre, its aim is to help the Australian public have a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture through the art of Buddhist painting.

Born in August 1953, Zou is both innovative and highly skilled in the art of Chinese cinnabar painting, creatively drawing Buddhist portrayals using this medium.

“Cinnabar is one of the common treasures of Buddhism that has the effect of composing the soul and concentrating the mind. The artwork aims to restore the original pith of kindness and simplicity in Buddhism through the style’s neatness and purity, reflecting a natural state of mind”, said Mr. Pingchao Zou about his own style of painting. 

Based on decades of calligraphy practice, Zou utilises cinnabar to practice the outline of Arhat with great diligence, eventually achieving a style that is both simple and magnificent. Zou’s paintings portray realism and expressionism, the resemblance of form and spirit, and the combination of realism and the ideal.

In terms of the reason behind his art style, Zou said, “The creation of Buddhist paintings is intended to instill in society a strong sense of morality leading to self-discipline. In this way, the ultimate spiritual status of the nation will be achieved and its people will be greatly blessed”.

During the opening ceremony Zou also delivered a live calligraphy performance, which was well received and highly commended by the present guests.

With subtle elements in his paintings, Zou draws with a peaceful and quiet mind, taking full consideration of the audience’s aesthetic perspective and sense of appreciation. The unique colour of cinnabar provides his viewers with large space for the imagination, giving a spiritual sense of joyfulness and enriching one’s senses.

The exhibition will be on display at China Cultural Centre in Sydney from the 5th to the 18th of December. 

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