Is 漢画 the best translation of Chinese-style painting? I saw it at the Kyoto National Museum in quotation marks with hiragana above it. By "Chinese style painting", I mean artworks that use brushes on a paper like surface, usually has few or just one colour, and often portrays a very mountainous landscape. An example can be seen in the first few seconds of the music video of Dami Im's song "Gladiator".

When I tried typing the hiragana for it, かんが, the IME wouldn't let me choose it directly, instead requiring me to choose one kanji at a time, and 漢画 wasn't listed in jisho.org, nor was there anything for "Chinese drawing". Doing a search of 漢画 on Japanese Wikipedia didn't indicate it was a redirect or title for an article, while looking at the Japanese version of English Wikipedia's article on the subject had a title of 中国の絵画.

2 Answers 2


漢画 is not common, although it's not difficult to guess the meaning. 中国の絵画 is not a set phrase but a simple combination of words meaning "Chinese paintings" in general.

The art genre you're referring to is widely known to Japanese people as 水墨画【すいぼくが】 (ink-wash painting) or more specifically, 山水画【さんすいが】. These are the typical 中国の絵画, but 中国の絵画 is of course more than that.

  • Also known as 墨絵 (すみえ). Sep 7, 2016 at 21:26

There is also a sub-genre ジャンル of 水墨画 called 禅画.



デジタル大辞泉 - 禅画の用語解説 - 禅宗の教義や精神を表現した絵画。白隠慧鶴(はくいんえかく)の作品などが知られる。

The most famous 禅画 in Japan is this one: ◻ △ ◯

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/harold1234/e/ef3e2b828689c9410c213bd64fdaf336 円、三角、四角だけを描いた英語名「The Universe」

A famous scene often depicted in 禅画 is 拈華微笑


拈華微笑(ねんげみしょう)とは、禅宗において禅の法脈を釈尊から受け継いだとされる伝説のこと。 概略[編集]. インドの霊鷲山(グリドラクータ)上で釈尊が黙って華を拈(ひね)ったところ、大衆はその意味を理解することができなかったが、迦葉尊者だけがその ...

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