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A tradition that runs in the family

THERE is something unusual in Yin Kejian's art.

The flowers or the ancient ladies under his brushstrokes have a distant and elegant flavor, as if they were created by an artist from ancient times.

"Aha! I take your words as flattering," says the bespectacled, pony-tailed artist. "Many people mention this to me, and I can tell you the secret."

The reason is simple: Yin learned his art directly from his family - his grandfather taught his mother, and his mother taught him.

Yin's father was a descendant of Yun Shouping (1633-1690), the master who founded the Yun Style, one of the traditional realistic painting styles.

"Yun created a unique painting technique called 'without bone,' which in some extent shied away from the detailed and cautious lines widely used in traditional realistic painting," Yin explains.

"Actually Yun made use of implicative painting techniques, imbuing the flowers and figures he created with more vitality and freshness," he adds.

Even when Yin was just a small child, he was trained by his mother in the "directly inherited family" skill.

"Practice makes perfect," he laments. "But for a small boy, it was so boring painting the same square form for hours every day."

The faith in defending the "authentic Yun Style" unwittingly influenced the man's life.

An inward person

"I was even not allowed to enter the local art academy," he says, "because the family wants to retain its purity in art. I am more like a secluded person. Sometimes I feel I am isolated from the hustle and bustle of the outside world."

However, Yin has never regretted his choice.

"It matches perfectly with my character," he explains. "I am an inward person and I pour all my emotion and energy into the paintings. To tell you the truth, the more I paint, the more tranquility I obtain from my paintings."

Apart from the colorful flowers that range from phoenix to chrysanthemum, Yin also paints ladies from the past either walking leisurely in gardens or sitting elegantly in living rooms.
"The ancient Chinese women possessed something enchanting, which to my eyes is lacking in today's young girls," he says with a smile. "They were tender, fragile and mild, evoking a man's power to protect them."

Based on the family rules, Yin ought to be teaching his son to continue the family's art legacy.

"But it's pity that my son is not interested in it at all," says Yin with a sigh. "Today you are unable to see paintings in the Yun Style. So it is extremely important to find other solutions."

Yin has begun teaching students outside his family.
"One should not be near-sighted, because this is the essence of Chinese ancient art," he points out. "I also want to have foreign students so that I can spread the charisma of my art to more people."


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