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Modern Art of Snuff Bottle

Master Zhang Rucai: one of the greatest Asian painters throughout the history of Chinese paintings



Zhang Rucai: a master of modern inside painted snuff bottle. D.D Art snuff bottle
Zhang Rucai: a master of modern inside painted snuff bottle. Picture from Internet

Zhang Rucai was born in Hebei in 1951. He is currently one of the only three masters of Chinese arts and crafts in the inside painting of the Ji School (Only ten people in this industry have been awarded). Zhang Rucai is also one of the five founders of the Ji School at the time, respectively Wang Xisan, Zhang Rucai, Liu Heping, Dong Kun, and Duo Chengyun. Currently, he is the general manager of Yihuzhai Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd, which is the largest factory producing the craft of inside painted snuff bottle in China.


Since child, Mr. Zhang Rucai has shown an extraordinary talent for Chinese painting. Many Chinese collectors have praised his inside painting works as "China's most unique and priceless treasure." Apart from the domestic reputation, since 1985, Zhang Rucai has been invited to perform the art of inside painting in more than 20 countries and regions, including France, Belgium, Hong Kong, and the United States. Wherever he went, the audience was astonished by his skills. Some of his works are testified to history, such as painting many portraits of national leaders as national gifts. He "captured" the moments of history into the eternal pieces of art.


Zhang Rucai visited France in 1985 May. D.D Art snuff bottle
Mr. Zhang Rucai visited France in 1985 May. Picture from Internet

As a traditional culture, his artworks have been given to foreign friends as a friendly and etiquette symbol. For example, he painted portraits of the president of the United States, Russia, and more than ten groups of countries. "Mr. Zhang Rucai has made an excellent contribution to the development of Sino-US relations." Ambassador to the US, Li Zhaoxing said. In 1988, Zhang Rucai painted a portrait of US President Clinton and gave it to the ambassador as a national gift. Works such as "Children Plays scene" drawn in recent years are also auctioned at high prices at Hong Kong's auction often.


Zhang Rucai: Discussing with The Crown Prince of Belgium D.D Art snuff bottle
Zhang Rucai: Discussing with The Crown Prince of Belgium in 2015. Picture from Internet

Of the painting themes, Zhang Rucai is particularly good at portraits of scholarly women and of young children. These paintings of beautiful ladies are elegant, graceful, and delicate. However, besides the artistic accomplishment in inside painting, Mr. Zhang Rucai also significantly contributes to the inheritance of modern art of snuff bottles. He revives the life of the modern inside painted snuff bottle.


Excellent inside painting skills


Mr. Zhang Rucai has won numerous impressive awards and achievements in terms of art industry. His splendid works are rich in humanity. The brushwork on the depiction and the characters are first-class and unrivaled. It is very delicate and details in every brushwork.


Zhang Rucai: a Chinese splendid landscape inside painted snuff bottle in year of 1996. D.D Art snuff bottle
Zhang Rucai: a Chinese splendid landscape inside painted snuff bottle in year of 1996

Exploring further in detail, his paintings appear elegant in color, rigorous in character portraying, and smooth in drawn lines. He is an artist that good at painting large-scale scenes. With magnificence and exquisiteness aesthetic foundation, Zhang Rucai has himself learned from the masters of traditional Chinese painting throughout history. In addition to absorbing their essence, he also carefully observes the object in real life to improve his painting skills. Among all the paintings theme, Zhang Rucai is highly praised for themes of children pictures, portraits of people, and of scholarly ladies. Collectors are vying for high-priced collections.


Zhang Rucai: A rest and enjoyable moment for the scholars. D.D Art snuff bottle
Zhang Rucai: A rest and enjoyable moment for the scholars, in year of 1996

The artist, Zhang Rucai's accomplishments in the picture of a boy, can perfectly speak about the boy that is with an innocent and lively demeanor. All the motion can be pertained perfectly on the snuff bottle. The image is vivid and chic, expressing the feeling of being beloved.


Zhang Rucai: A portrait of a scholar on a hard-work donkey. D.D Art snuff bottle
Zhang Rucai: A portrait of a scholar on a hard-work donkey, in year of 1994

The contribution of portraits is even more fascinated. Zhang Rucai believes that Westerner painter pays attention to light, but Chinese artist pays attention to space. The Chinese painting method pursues the inner essence and spirit of the painting theme. To paint good portraits of characters, the painter needs to understand the depicted object thoroughly. Chinese portrait painters all need keen observation and imagination. Zhang Rucai personally painted several snuff bottles that portrayed the four generations of PRC leaders and presented them to the Chinese government as a gift. They are Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao, etc.


Scholarly Ladies Painting


Zhang Rucai: Scholarly woman are playing with Parrot. Year of 1994. Snuff Bottle. Collection of D.D Art
Zhang Rucai: Scholarly woman are playing with Parrot. Year of 1994

Zhang Rucai thinks it is requires a graceful perspective towards women if painter want to paint well. The mastery of fine brushwork and freehand brushwork should be combined. The purpose of painting is not only to draw the female body perfectly but also to outline the original state of the inner expression of the woman. The painting of ladies requires a focus on precise structure, rigorous modeling, and a sense of elegance and smoothness, drawing out women's graceful dynamics and expressive expressions. This is not easy. The picture of ladies has always been a subject that has been continuously studied since the Han Dynasty. Mr. Zhang Rucai studied the painting of Chinese ladies in the past and integrated this technique, applying on the inside painted snuff bottle to achieve a realm that few inside painters can reach his place.

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