Painting & Composition Types (Flat Art/Two-dimensional Art)

Painting Types Outline | Painting Composition Outline | Terminology & Classification of Style Names

The information below is primarily intended for portable scroll paintings and does not include or begin to address mural paintings which will be treated separately.

1. Medium/Support
2. Format: Size, Orientation & Sets
3. Ground Colours
4. Subject Types & Categories
5. Composition Types
6. Painting Styles
7. Inscriptions
8. Aesthetics/authentication
9. Confusions & Controversies



1. Medium/Support:
- Cloth
- Mural
- Paper
- Silk
- Textile
- Wood
- Others...

2. Format: Canvas Size, Orientation & Sets:
- Portrait Format
- Block Prints
- Landscape Format
- Illuminated Manuscripts
- Initiation Cards
- Miniature Paintings
- Nepalese Narrative Scrolls
- Painting Sets: Index/Glossary
- Others...

3. Ground Colours:
- Coloured Ground
- Black Ground
- Gold Ground
- Red Ground

4. Subject Types & Categories:
- Architecture
- Calligraphy
- Charts/Mandala
- Cityscapes
- Drawing
- Figurative
- Hand & Foot Prints
- Iconometry
- Mandala
- Pilgrimage Art
- Others...

5. Composition Types:
- Composition 1: Grouped Figures & Registers, Plus Archaic Architecture (India, Kashmir)
- Composition 2: Registers (Nepal)
- Composition 3: Floating Figure Composition (Tibet)
- Composition 4: Repeated Figure (Tibet)

6. Painting Styles - Terminology & Classification of Names:
- by Country
- by Religious Tradition
- by Region
- by Artist & Style Name
- by Monastery
- Other

7. Inscriptions:
- Front, painting
- Front, cartouche
- Front, Name or narrative inscriptions
- Front, decorative letters, book titles
- Front, dedication inscriptions
- Front, under-drawing, artist notations
- Front stick, bottom or top
- Back, painting
- Back stick, bottom or top
- Back, Stupa or design
- Back, direction notations: right, left, East, West, etc.
- Others...

8. Aesthetics/authentication:
- Line
- Colour
- Composition
- Proportions
- Iconography
- Date
- Region
- Style
- Others...

9. Confusions & Controversies:
- Block Print Sets
- Confused Visual Subjects
- Controversial Art
- Copies & Facsimiles
- Fake Art (Forgery)
- Name Inscription: Misidentified or Name Added
- Over cleaning
- Pilgrimage Art
- Poor quality works & mixed styles
- Repairs, holes, missing & added registers
- Restoration
- Suspect Art
- Varnish
- Others...

Jeff Watt 6-2010



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Mahakala (Buddhist Protector): Danda (Stick)
Mahakala (Buddhist Protector)
Danda (Stick)
Black Ground
Chart: Protective Talisman
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Protective Talisman
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Calligraphy