Chinese Landscapes have traditionally been the most popular paintings in Asia. Chinese landscapes do not attempt to create an exact or realistic image of nature as many European landscape painting do. The Chinese landscapes try to portray the rhythm of nature to capture the emotion of the natural environment.
Almost all Chinese landscapes depict mountains and water, generally a river. The mountains represent a long life, and water the sea of happiness. In ancient China mountains were special objects of veneration that were thought to ensure cosmic order, and every mountain was believed to have its resident mountain god. In harmony together, mountains and water symbolize a long happy life.
Most Chinese landscapes will portray mist or clouds. This is in line with the Feng Shui (literally Wind/Water) principles which symbolize good fortune and happiness. The mist and clouds arise from the union of the duel life force energy of yin and yang. Also called “Chi”, this life energy is the most fundamental principle of Feng Shui practice. For the Taoists, Chinese landscapes represent the ultimate reality that pervades all life, and symbolizes the oneness of nature and soul.
In the Chinese landscapes the sky and the earth, relates to an old Chinese creation story in which sky, the Great Father, and earth, the Great Mother, are thought of as a conjugal couple engaged in never-ending dance.