Sumi is the Japanese word for Black Ink Painting. East Asian Painting and writing developed using the same materials —brush and ink on paper. Emphasis is placed on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush.
The Chinese speak of “writing a painting” and “painting a poem.” A great painting was judged on three elements: the calligraphy strokes, the words of the poetry and the ability of the painting strokes to capture the spirit (Ch’i) of nature rather than a photographic likeness. The artists of Japan, Korea and Malaysia learned from the Chinese and then developed their own versions of East Asian brush painting.