Chinese Art

Chinese Art
Chapter 7
Figure 7-1 Yangshao Culture
vases, from Gansu Province,
China, mid third millennium
BCE. Earthenware
Chinese Art
• Divided into historical periods named after their
• These families united blood and tradition,
formed dynasties and their impact on the
culture has been enormous.
• The 1st ruler of a united China was Emperor
Shih Huangdi (Qin Dynasty)
• Reigned in the 3rd century BCE
Emperor Shih Huangdi
• Unified China politically
• Responsible codifying written Chinese,
standardized weights and measures,
established a uniform currency.
• Started the Great Wall and began his royal
Army of Emperor Shi Huangdi
Army of the First Emperor of Qin in pits next to his burial mound, Lintong, China, Qin
dynasty, ca. 210 BCE. Painted terracotta, average figure 5’ 10 7/8” high.
Army of Emperor Shi Huangdi
• About 8K terracotta
• 100 wooden chariots
• 2 bronze chariots
• 30,000 weapons buried as
part of the tomb
• Soldiers are 6’ tall – some
fierce, proud, confident,
taller than the average
person of the time
Army of Emperor Shi Huangdi
• Representation of a
Chinese army marching
into the next world.
• Daoism seen in the
individualization of each
• Originally painted
• Discovered in 1974
Chinese Philosophies-dominate the aspects of
Chinese Art from conception to execution!!
“the Way” religious journey in
which, allows the pilgrim to
wander to meaningfully selfexpression.
Laozi (604-531 CE) philosopher
– escaping society’s pressures,
working toward oneness with
Emphasizes individual
expression, and embrace the
philosophy of doing unto
Yin & Yang opposites flow into
one another.
• Confucius (551-479 CE)
• Wrote about behavior,
relationships, and duty in a
series of orders called The
• System of mutual respect –
the ideal man whose
attributes include – loyalty,
morality, generosity, and
• RESPECT from traditional
Innovations in Chinese Architecture
• The design of the stupa, a
Buddhist structure
associated with India,
moved eastward to with
missionaries along the Silk
Road, transforming itself
into the Pagoda.
• Built for a scared purpose,
vertical design –
• Substantial height,
repetition of forms.
Foguang Si Pagoda, Yingxian, China, Liao
Dynasty, 1056.
Plan and cross-section of Foguang Si Pagoda, Yingxian, China, Liao Dynasty, 1056. (after L.
Characteristics of Chinese Architecture
• Courtyard style residencekept the outside world away
and framed an atrium where
the family resided.
• Elders were to be honored
and lived in a suite of rooms
on the warmer northern end
(Confucian guide).
• Children lived in wings,
servants in the south end.
• Southeast functioned as an
entrance, southwest was the
Characteristics of Chinese Painting
• Albums, leaves, fans, murals, and scrolls.
• Hand scroll, horizontal, read right to left.
• Starts with the title, main scene and ends with
the colophon panel (commentary)
• Often use paper but SILK has been used for
color and texture.
• Hanging scroll – main scene on the front and
the title on the top back.
Attributed to YAN LIBEN, Emperor Xuan and attendants, detail of The Thirteen Emperors,
Tang dynasty, ca. 650. Handscroll, ink and colors on silk, detail: 1‘ 8 1/4” X 1’ 5 1/2”; entire
scroll, 17’ 5” long. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
LIANG KAI, Sixth Chan Patriarch Chopping
Bamboo, Southern Song period, early
thirteenth century. Hanging scroll, ink on
paper, 2’ 5 1/4” high. Tokyo National Museum.
Chinese Porcelain
• Ceramic made of clay –
fired it is hard, white,
brittle and shiny.
• Vase shapes –with
creative designs have the
appearance of utilitarian
– BUT stand alone.
• Glazing protected the
Characteristics of Chinese Sculpture
• Created large and small
• Bi with Dragons (Zhou
Dynasty) circular jade disk
with round center perhaps
symbolizing heaven
• Dragons = good luck and
• Hard jade surface with
finely carved raised spirals
Bi (disk), from Jincun(?), China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, fourth to third
century BCE. Nephrite, 6 1/2” in diameter. Nelson-Atkins Museum of
Art, Kansas City.
Seated Buddha
• Rock carving of 45’
• Buddha iconography – top
knot on head, long ears,
sits in the lotus position,
tightly fitted garments.
• Central Asian influence –
huge shoulders and
pleated drapery
• Indian influence in the
Vairocana Buddha, disciples, and bodhisattvas,
• Gentle smile.
Longmen Caves, Luoyang, China, Tang dynasty,
completed 675. Buddha, approx. 44’ high.
Shakyamuni Buddha, Zhao Dynasty,
Period of Disunity, 338. Gilded bronze,
1’ 3 1/2” high. Asian Art Museum of
San Francisco, San Francisco (Avery
Brundage Collection).
Vocabulary to know!
• Bi
• Colophon
• Confucianism
• Daoism
• Pagoda
• Porcelain
• Yin & Yang
Do Now!
 Consider the enormous
authority necessary to
construct Emperor Shi
Huangdi’s burial pit. What
do its artifacts indicate
about his wealth and
 Identify the specific visual
qualities of Chinese

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