Traditional Chinese painting is a combination in the same picture of the arts of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal engraving. In ancient times most artists were poets and calligraphers. Su Dongpo (1037-1101) is an example. To the Chinese, "painting in poetry and poetry in painting" has been one of the criteria for excellent works of art. Inscriptions and seal impressions help to explain the painter's ideas and sentiments and also add decorative beauty to the painting. Ancient artists liked to paint pines, bamboo, and plum blossoms. When inscriptions like "Exemplary conduct and nobility of character" were made, those plants were meant to embody the qualities of people who were upright and were ready to help each other under hard conditions. For Chinese graphic art, poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seal engraving are necessary parts, which supplement and enrich one another.
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