title of painting

“Sea of ink ” actually has double meanings;
1–as sea of spiritual corruption.
2–as sea of art–the chinese literati painters prefer to paint with ink only , they see colors as something superficial that pleases the senses but not the soul, it is also more challenging to do a good painting just in ink than colors.
we often describe a devoted artist as he or she is”deep in the sea of ink”.

This poem is actually very rich in content.
“stand firm–shine steady in darkness” is the ideal of  the Confucian gentleman’s ability to resist corruption.
” transfer your phyiscal being on the painting surface” is the  Taoist ideal of transending oneself from the phusical to the spiritual world.
“brush not brush, ink not ink, here Iam” is the Zen  wisdom of  Nothingness.
So in this very brief poem , Shih Toa(Tua) successfully combined the three pillars of the chinese culture–confucian, taoism and buddhism.—an ideal chinese gentleman.


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