Chinese Contemporary Folk Art

Many countries share a common love of folk art painting, sometimes known as primitive art.
 The cultures hold many similarities in their art, but also enjoy distinct differences. Generally Folk Art illustrates a specific story concerning the ordinary, every day living of the average person.
Chinese Folk Art is more theme oriented, telling a specific story or moral.
The following contemporary folk art scenes are painted by both men and women.

Embroidery is a long established art form in China.  It is mainly a female activity. The items embroidered are quite diverse and include robes, theatrical costumes, purses, shoes and alter cloths.  Some are so finely stitched that it can take 5-6 women several years to complete a piece.

 Usually a traditional Chinese medicine shop puts its medicines/ herbs in cupboards lined with tiny square drawers.  A dispenser would pull open the drawers to take out medicine according to prescriptions provided by doctors.

Floating in metal tubs the women gather the seeds of the lotus blossom. The Lotus blossom is a very common folk art symbol.

 In Asia many homes are self contained with their gardens, animals, shrines, cooking areas and living arrangements bound by walls.  These wonderful primitive paintings preserve a way of life that is slowly changing.

 A happy celebration of a wedding in Shanghai.
The household goods are on barges to be taken to the new home.

Neighborhood gatherings watching films.  
I don't think they are selling popcorn...but perhaps fried chicken feet! A true delicacy.

I love the clean, brightly painted, flat perspective of folk art.
No shading or highlights, just flat, bold colors with lots of tiny details. Usually the work is done on paper with paint similar to our gouache.

Heart Thought: you might enjoy sharing these images with your children or grandchildren. Let them make up their own stories, or try their hand at their own folk art incorporating their home and environment.


  1. Beautiful folk art - you could also play a game with children to try and find a specific thing in each painting.

  2. The saturated colors are fabulous and the detail amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  3. The colors in these..and how the people are all rendered so 'playful' - just makes me smile. Wonderful display of folk art.

  4. Sharon - these are gorgeous!
    I remember a friend returning from China with folk art paintings that were similar some years ago - such vibrancy and skillful narrative simplicity - yes! - playful - love it...

    xox - eb.

  5. Hi,

    I love these images--did you paint them? I am a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and have never seen a folk painting of a herbal pharmacy.

    Really wonderful!




Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you take to say hello. Warmly, Sharon