Art Study - Silk Painting History - Ancient China Homeschooling

Mystery of History: Lesson 18 – China and the Shang Dynasty

China and the Shang Dynasty

China and the Shang Dynasty: Reading

I read the lesson from the Mystery of History text book, and gathered all our ancient China books and had the girls peruse them:

China and the Shang Dynasty: Researching Silk Worms

After I had photocopied a few pages of information about silk worms, Abigail read them and did a simple report on them. I kept it light and easy because this was the first report they’d ever done:

Abigail used some report pages (downloadable at the end of this post) to jot down notes in:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

Abs then did a brief presentation based on her report:

China and the Shang Dynasty: Researching Silk

Becca did her report on silk fabric. I copied some information from the web and made it large print for ease of reading. I also highlighted the pertinent information I wanted her to write in her reports:

China and the Shang Dynasty

This made it very simple for her to do independently:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

Becs did a presentation based on her report:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

I intend to have the girls do a short report once a week, making them progressively more in depth. I think they enjoyed the independent nature of the report, and they loved telling everyone all they had learnt.

China and the Shang Dynasty: Painting Silk

We had some silk material left over from Lillie’s art project. I thought some silk painting would be a lovely hands on project to accompany their learning this week. I had them watch the video below, and I photocopied a sample of the artist’s painting to copy:

Silk painting is tricky. Just a small amount of paint will spread, making it hard to contain in an accurate way. This was fine for the blossoms, but not so good for the branches, which needed a bit more definition. We used some black gutta as the outlines for the branches. This basically contains the spread, but needs to be a continuous line to do this effectively. Becca began one end, and Abs began the other, until they met in the middle:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

You can see the gutta close up. It is a malleable and doesn’t effect the fluidity of the material, but also does not spread and easily contains the spread of the actual silk paint:

China and the Shang Dynasty

Once this was dry, the girls painted the branches black (note we taped the silk material to the table):

China and the Shang Dynasty

Next, the girls created the blossoms using a light pink. If we did this again, I would use a much paler pink first:

China and the Shang Dynasty

Here it is beginning to take shape:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

Once it was all dry, the girls added a second, darker pink to the insides of each flower:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

Right at the end, we added a few very pale blossom leaves throughout the spaces in between the cherry blossom.

China and the Shang Dynasty: Modelling the Scarf

I grabbed a few photos of the girls with the scarf, before sending it off to their precious Granny in Northern Ireland:

China and the Shang Dynasty

Didn’t they do a great job?

China and the Shang Dynasty

Becca:

China and the Shang Dynasty

Abigail:

China and the Shang Dynasty
China and the Shang Dynasty

I made a special pdf for my girls to write their reports onto, as well as a couple of sheets to stick their Chinese silk painting onto to be filed into their history journals. To download click:

Report on Chinese Silk Worms and the Silk they Produce

Further Posts of Interest: Shang Dynasty and their Writing Systems

We covered the Shang Dynasty a few years ago and did activities based on the ancient Chinese writing systems. We made oracle bones:

DSC_0918

Did some ancient Chinese calligraphy:

C10 doing her calligraphy with the brushes and ink

And made a replica of the earliest known postal letter. The ancient Chinese wrote of wood:

A piece of scrap wood from the kitchen, which between all of us we covered in pictographs

Wrapped in rope:

We then covered it in rope

And covered in clay for the earliest ever form of an envelope:

All ready for delivery!

Last but not least we made some Chinese character seals:

Inked with a sheet of paper to show their stamp.

For a description of each of these activities, do pop over to see my post on the Shang Dynasty and their Writing Systems

1 comment on “Mystery of History: Lesson 18 – China and the Shang Dynasty

  1. I’d never considered that aspect of painting on silk. That would also explain their softer style of artwork.

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