With fascinating commentary and beautiful artwork this Chinese art history book is allows Westerners to better understand traditional Chinese painting. Applying a comparative approach to Chinese and Western art, this art book examines the characteristics of traditional Chinese art and analyses the distinction between figure painting and portraiture. It examines the scenery in Chinese landscape painting and the sense of poetry within the paintings of flowers and birds so that the reader comes to understand the unique essence of Chinese art and is gradually led towards the evanescent world of spiritual abstraction displayed in Chinese painting. The development of Chinese painting is based upon the pursuit of the conceptual sense (yijing) found in traditional Chinese philosophy and classical literature. Confucianism determined the content of the development of painting and Daoism guided the concept of aestheticism within that development. In the history of Chinese art, every painter who made a contribution was also moral philosopher who sought the realms of the spirit. It would be no exaggeration to say that traditional Chinese painting is a "higher art" that has the functions of both civilizing the person and cultivating the mind. It is not simply a creation designed to satisfy the visual sense or to express individual emotion. It has always been harmonious, tranquil and restrained.