Gradation of Tone

 

 

 

 

Zheng Xie’s painting of bamboo and rocks uses tonal gradation to suggest depth and perspective. Simply diluting the ink would have pushed the distant leaves further back, but by also softening some of the lines (particularly the fine vertical stems) the feeling of depth is simple and beautiful.

By Zheng Xie [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Zheng Xie (1693-1765) “Bamboo and Rock” (Detail)