Finger-painting in the west is accepted as an art medium usually used by adults to teach art to children. It has a different meaning in China, however. It is a centuries-old Chinese technique of painting with the fingertips, hands and fingernails.
It is widely believed finger-painting started in the Tang Dynasty (618-907）, but a closer examination reveals neither the works of finger-painting nor relevant descriptions can be found in historical records.
Gao Qipei, from the Qing Dynasty (1644～1911), is a master. Gao was born in a prestigious family -- a lineage of the royal family. He was dismissed from the government because of his dereliction of duty. It proved to be a golden opportunity for his painting career as he had more time to travel across the country and discover natural resources.
Pan Tianshou is dedicated to the traditional painting techniques. His style is a perfect combination of different schools, featuring grand scenes and breathtaking beauty. He was also committed to the promotion of traditional art and formulated a system of art education, which has had a profound and lasting impact on today’s education of traditional painting in China.
Since its appearance, this technique of painting has been underestimated and was considered as a cute act deserving no serious consideration. Today, things have gotten much worse. As young people shift their attention to pop music and cyber space, few people would like to learn this technique that seems both time-consuming and banal.