​Jinan folk artist creates paintings with grains

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2022-03-30

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Zhou Guangchun creates a painting with grains. [Photo/Dazhong News]

Zhou Guangchun, a folk artist in Jinan's Gangcheng district, can create a painting in a unique style and artistic composition using only a few types of cereals, such as rice, millet wheat, and beans.

Zhou is the sixth person to have inherited Zhou's bean painting technique.

Bean painting is also known as grain painting, according to Zhou. Its origins can be traced back to ancient grain sacrificial rituals. People use the natural shapes and colors of various types of grains to create various patterns on wooden boards or porcelain plates after preservative treatment in order to pray for good weather and a healthy harvest in the next year.

"The bean painting, which incorporates traditional Chinese painting, printmaking, calligraphy, stickers, and other techniques, gives the grain artwork value in addition to its culinary value," Zhou remarked.

From conception to mounting, a complete grain painting artwork requires more than 20 steps, including material selection, tracing, anti-corrosion, moisture-proofing, and pasting.

It is a test of not only endurance and vision, but also dexterity and care.

Zhou will take two or three months to produce a piece that is one meter long and 0.45 meters wide, and requires more than a dozen different types of cereals.

In recent years, Zhou has actively participated in cultural events in schools and communities, as well as displayed his art on-site to put the art of the intangible cultural heritage in the eyes of the public. He also recruited eight students to help promote the art.

He and his students have now completed over 100 paintings, which are available for purchase in both offline and online outlets. A one-square-meter bean painting costs around 16,000 yuan ($2,515.64), and more than 20 pieces are sold each year.