The study aims to examine the historical discourses on the formation and formative expression of ink bamboo paintings, and to shed light on its significance. The ink bamboo paintings are one of art genre that uses only black ink to draw and paint the bamboo as the only subject. Since the 11th century, the paintings began to be drawn by Sū Shì(蘇軾, 1036-1101), who is well-known as the author of Ode to the Red Cliff(赤壁賦) end the calligrapher, and his friend Wén Tóng(文同, 1019-1079). Despite being non-professional painters and mere literary aristocrats, these two have pioneered the world of ink bamboo paintings of great artistic values that impress people.
As a painter doing the actual work, I became curious about what was on the mind of the literary scholars when drawing the bamboo paintings from the time of the formation of the ink bamboo paintings and formative expression. This led to the study on the discourses related to the ink bamboo paintings where I was able to confirm that the philosophical foundation was built on the basis of the poetries of the literary scholars which admired and lauded the bamboo long since the fourth century BC.
In the course of examining the background of the formation of the ink bamboo paintings, I realized that the bamboo forest in the garden of the literary aristocrats served not only as the hiding place as a way of Taoism but also the place for Confucian way of self-reflection by meditating the noble character of the Confucian gentlemen. In such bamboo forest, the literary aristocrats tried to deeply understand the noble goodness of bamboo and visualize it with paper, brush and ink.
In terms of the development of ink bamboo paintings as an artistic expression, the study examined the role of the literary painters Wén Tóng and Sū Shì, the literary painters of the Northern Song Dynasty(北宋代, 960-1127). The term ShinYeoJookHwa(身與竹化: the status of body becoming like bamboo), which was presented by Sū Shì in his painting poetry, was used to express the immersive state of the bamboo and person becoming one which was presented by Wén Tóng in his creative poem of ink bamboo painting. The term HyoongJoongSungJook(胸中成竹: having the whole picture of bamboo in mind before painting bamboo) commented by Sū Shì in his prose was a theory taught by Wén Tóng to envision a bamboo painting. In the end, the terms ShinYeoJookHwa and HyoongJoongSungJook are the aesthetic concepts that reveal the metaphysical art world of the literary painters, which have firmly consolidated the position of the artworks of literary paintings until today.
Meanwhile, in terms of the formative expression of the ink bamboo paintings, Zhào Mèngfǔ(趙孟頫), a literary painter in the Yuan Dynasty(元代, 1279-1368), opened a new chapter in the expression techniques of ink bamboo paintings by applying the principles used in the ink bamboo paintings into one of calligraphy techniques known as the Eight Principles of Yong(永字八法) for the first time. Kē Jiǔsāi(柯九思), an artist who is one generation later than Zhào Mèngfǔ, understood the historic flow of the ink bamboo paintings, in the viewpoint of the expert in appraisal, presented a more specific formative expression by applying each of five Chinese script styles - Zhuàn(篆), Lì(隸), Kǎi(楷), Xíng(行), and Cǎo(草) - to bamboo stalk, branch and leaves.
Therefore, the formative expression style of bamboo based on handwriting style have significantly contributed, up until today, to the development of the paintings by the literary scholars who did not learn traditional painting method by making it to become unique and elegant works of ink bamboo paintings.