About Us

Ming Chiao Chinese CharactersWHAT IS SUMI-E?

Sumi-e is Japanese for “ink painting,” which originated from Literati Painting in China centuries ago and later spread throughout Japan, Korea, and many other parts of the world including the United States. Contemporary styles range from realistic to abstract.

All Asian brush painters use the same tools and similar brush techniques. The tools are traditionally called “The Four Treasures” — brush, ink stick, ink stone, and rice paper. Watercolors may also be employed. All East Asian brush painters strive to capture the essence or spirit of the subject.

Four Treasures: Brush, Ink, Stone, Paper
The Four Treasures

ORIGINS OF MING-CHIAO CHAPTER

Ming Chiao, or ‘Minnesota Bridge’, signifies a link between East and West. The name reflects a connection to the numerous lakes and mighty rivers in Minnesota.

Ming Chiao is a chapter of the Sumi-e Society of America, a non-profit educational organization founded in 1963 by Motoi Oi with the mission:

• To foster and encourage an appreciation of East Asian brush painting techniques through publications, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions.

• To serve as a cultural bridge between East and West.

• To furnish information to all persons who wish to learn about this art.

When asked why he had started the Sumi-e Society, Mr. Oi answered, in part, “In the East, paintings reflect the great joy of culture. They are a reflection of an intense personal idiom. My idea was to provide a means through which the fresh, new spirit of American culture could be viewed in Sumi-e.”

The Ming Chiao Chapter was founded in 1988 after Lily Weinshilboum returned from studying at the National Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China. She felt that the time was right for a chapter in her home state, and Ming Chiao Chapter was born.

Ming Chiao meets every other month to discuss business, plan special activities including workshops and exhibitions, and to participate in an after-meeting program related to Sumi-e.