Art mounting

Mounting a finished piece of art is another form of art in itself, and it has grand tradition that lasted centuries. An art piece once completed, it requires mounting to display or be shown around; ancient artworks that are fragile even to our breathing could be revived by some very skilled re-mounting. Therefore the mounting is an integral aspect of the art making process, and the history is just as grand as the arts themselves. A master mounter is well respected and his skill would be a rare commodity. Nowadays hand-mounting is harder to find, shops would employ machines that can mount an entire scroll within half an hour, but the high quality, delicate craftsmanship can only be found in the hand-mounting places. Today let us take a quick dive into this mounting world.

Owl, painted on pre-mounted rice paper, Fiona Sheng

The traditional mounting process is a delicate operation that requires precision during the execution. The selection of silk (绢), the mounting paper, the thin connection papers, the wooden parts, the ribbon, etc., all needs great care, to guarantee either integrity or other functionalities, such as bug-repelling; the making of the glue is also extremely complex; the exact size and color choices for an art piece in the mounting also counts a great deal for the finalized artwork! The master mounters are remaking an artwork in short, they are not just nursing these works. Below is an example of a completed scroll, in blue there are the corresponding Chinese names of each part, but from this simple image you can already get a general sense of how complicated this process is!

A fully-mounted scroll with Chinese names of each part, image from

This scroll above however is not the only end result of a mounting process. A simple sheet of paper surrounded by stripes of silk that resembles those pre-mounted papers are normal (square or rectangular shaped in most general sense), and these are meant to be framed; A very long and thin scroll can result in the “hand roll” (sounds like a sushi term somehow), as shown below. Another style of mounting could end up in the shape of a book, only that they have this accordion looking pages that open horizontally.

Hand Roll (手卷)
Scroll - Landscape
A section of my own landscape scroll (11.7m long in total)
Book-shaped mounting (册页)

Personally I was almost “forced” into mounting my own works, even though I cannot make the complete scrolls, I can however enhance the artworks with one simple layer of mounting. Now there are also pre-mounted rice papers available, as well as pre-made blank scroll to use to facilitate the art creation, however, I found it necessary to know the first steps of the mounting because it helps with the maintenance of the artworks anyway, so why not know about it?

Brown coconut brush for mounting

So, I made a video to show you how the easy style mounting is completed at home. With these you can frame your artworks with much more ease! Do remember to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the most exclusive deals from us and to leave a thumbs up for the video!

Learn to DIY art mounting with me!

Enjoy such cultural discussions? Have comments? I look forward to hearing from you!

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