Passing on the art of Inner Painting and telling the story of intangible cultural heritage


Wang Haili is the representative inheritor of Hengshui Inner Painting, a national intangible cultural heritage project at the provincial level. She has been pursuing art since she was a child, and has been studying at Hebei Normal University. Her works have a wide range of subjects with a fresh and elegant style, and her characters and animals are elegantly created, originating from the ancient method with innovation.

Since intangible cultural heritage is a living culture transmitted orally, the role of people is especially important in the process of inheritance and protection, especially in the art of internal painting. Wang Haili has been on the front line of teaching for many years and has brought out more than 3,000 students of Inner Painting, making an important contribution to the industrialization of Inner Painting from folk art.

Whether she is painting herself or teaching students, Wang Haili never stops learning. With the spirit of craftsman to make her skills more refined and her brushwork better, Wang Haili takes the lead in promoting the use of Inner Painting scratch pens and acrylic paints.

Hengshui Inner Painting is a kind of painting technique on the inside of snuff bottles, which is a unique folk craft in China. It is mainly found in Hengshui, Hebei Province and its surrounding areas. Hengshui Inner Painting introduces the techniques of Chinese painting, such as chapping, rubbing, dyeing, dotting, outlining, and tearing, into the inside-painting. Hengshui Inner Painting is profound in intention, rigorous in composition, rich in line drawing techniques, harmonious and refined in coloring, and rich in painting and calligraphy, which is deeply appreciated by the world.

Inner Painting is a unique traditional craft in China, and has a deep historical origin with snuff bottles. Snuff is a fine soaking of tobacco and mixed with herbs, spices and flower dew developed into a brownish-yellow powder, which has the effect of "eliminating cold and warding off epidemics".

The art of snuff bottle painting is unique to China and is a pocket-sized work of art that collects the essence of Chinese art, and it is named after the painting on the inner wall of a crystal or frosted cream snuff bottle. With a palm-sized snuff bottle and a mouth as thick as a pencil, the artists, with their exquisite calligraphy and painting art and keen artistic sense, reach inside the bottle with a tiny special hooked pen and paint and write in reverse. When people look at it from the outside, they are deeply impressed by the exquisiteness and wonder how it can be done within a square inch, which is suspected to be a ghostly work of art.

The simple, elegant, and unique landscape figures have brought the folk art of Hengshui Inner Painting to the world stage and gained the reputation of "the best art of China" and "the treasure of the country".