Traditional Japanese Nihonga and Turner Acryl Gouache Japanesque Colours
Nihonga or literally “Japanese-style paintings” are paintings that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and materials. While based on traditions over a thousand years old, the term was coined in the Meiji period of the Imperial Japan, to distinguish such works from Western-style paintings, or Yōga.
Pigments and Paints in Nihonga
Nihonga are typically executed on washi (Japanese paper) or eginu (silk), using brushes. The paintings can be either monochrome or polychrome. If monochrome, typically sumi (Chinese ink) made from soot mixed with a glue from fishbone or animal hide is used. If polychrome, the pigments are derived from natural ingredients: minerals, shells, corals, and even semi-precious stones like malachite, azurite and cinnabar. The raw materials are powdered into 16 gradations from fine to sandy grain textures. A hide glue solution, called nikawa, is used as a binder for these powdered pigments. In both cases, water is used; hence nihonga is a water-based medium. Gofun (powdered calcium carbonate that is made from cured oyster, clam or scallop shells) is an important material used in nihonga. Different kinds of gofun are utilized as a ground, for under-painting, and as a fine white top color.
Initially, nihonga were produced for hanging scrolls (kakemono), hand scrolls (emakimono) or folding screens (byōbu). However, most are now produced on paper stretched onto wood panels, suitable for framing. Nihonga paintings do not need to be put under glass. They are archival for thousands of years.
In monochrome Nihonga, the technique depends on the modulation of ink tones from darker through lighter to obtain a variety of shadings from near white, through grey tones to black and occasionally into greenish tones to represent trees, water, mountains or foliage. In polychrome Nihonga, great emphasis is placed on the presence or absence of outlines; typically outlines are not used for depictions of birds or plants. Occasionally, washes and layering of pigments are used to provide contrasting effects, and even more occasionally, gold or silver leaf may also be incorporated into the painting.
Turner Acryl Gouache Japanesque Colours
Acrylic Gouache is an opaque, matt acrylic paint.
The traditional paint used for Nihonga has been re-invented by the experts at Turner Colourworks to create the Acryl Gouache Japanesque. The paints used in Nihonga have a very sepcific texture because the colours were traditionally made with natural pigments and in order to keep the tradition, the Turner Acryl Gouache Japanesque paint series have not only the traditional Japanese colours, but also the same texture as in the traditional paints, that were used over 500 years ago. The Turner Japanesque selection of 69 beautiful, sophisticated tones are formulated with fine powders which give a unique, slightly textured finish.
Click on the underlined link to go to the current offer on Turner Acryl Gouache Japanesque Colours in single tubes or in sets on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.
Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39 or more.
The image at the top is a nihonga painting supplied by Turner Colourworks.