Chinese Art Cindy Liang

Ancient China Dynasties

Famous Chinese Dynasties: Han Dynasty, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty-------------> Republic of China

Han Dynasty(206-220 C.E.)--- opening of silk road

--- 50 million people

Tang Dynasty(618-907 C.E.)--- Chang'an(today's Xi'an) was one of the largest cities in the world

--- 6o million people

--- only one empress: Wu Zetian

Ming Dynasty(1368-1644 C.E.)--- formed by poor uneducated peasants

--- driven the Mongols from Beijing

Modern China

Modern China: over 1.38 billion population, capital---Beijing

Forbidden City, fifteenth century, Ming Dynasty, stone masonry, marble, brick, wood, ceramic tile, Beijing, China


  • Largest and most complete Chinese architectural ensemble in existence(72 hectares), which has 9,999rooms, walls 30 feet high to keep people out and those inside in.
  • Each corner of the rectangular plan has a tower representing the four corners of the world .
  • Focus is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the throne room and seat of power (wood structure made with elaborately painted beams; meant for grand ceremonies).
  • Yellow tile roofs and red painted wooden beams placed on marble foundations unify the structures in the Forbidden City into an artistic whole


  • so named because only the royal court could enter
  • once was going to be destructed by the government
  • center of Beijing

Innovation: large size, wooden structure

Convention: royal palace, ceremonial, living space

Comparisons: Versailles, Nan Madol, Houses of Parliament

Funeral Banner of Lady Dai (Xin Zhui), 180 B.C.E., painted silk, Hunan Provincial Museum, Changsha

The wife of Li Cang (利蒼) who died in 168 B.C.E. in Hunan province; Han Dynasty. Tomb found with over 100 objects in 1972.

  • T-shaped silk banner covering the inner coffin of the intact body
  • Probably carried in a procession to the tomb then placed over the body to speed its journey to the afterlife
  • "Yin" symbols at left, "Yang" symbols at right; the center mixes the two philosophies
  • Painted in three distinct regions

Comparisons: Fabric Arts--- Hiapo, All-T'oqapu Tunic, Dancing at the Louvre

Fan Kuan, Travelers among Mountains and Streams, c.1000, ink on silk, National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Produced very complex landscapes
  • Different brushstrokes describe different kinds of trees
  • Long waterfall on right balanced by mountain on left; waterfall accents the height of the mountain
  • Not a pure landscape: donkeys laden with firewood are driven by two men; a small temple appears in the forest; man seen as small and insignificant in a vast natural world


  • Hanging scroll
  • Artist isolated himself away from civilization to be with nature and study it, for his landscapes; Daoist pilosophy
  • Might be Fan Kuan's only surviving work; signature hidden in he brushes on the lower right

Innovation: Hanging scroll, Black ink only, Ink on silk

Conventions: Clear brushstrokes, Observation of nature/ landscapes

Comparisons: The Oxbow, Hunters in the Snow, Screen with Hunting Scenes



Created By
Cindy Liang


Created with images by 3dman_eu - "roof china dragon" • llama2014020 - "china fuzhou this temple" • Dimitry B - "Bell Tower, Xi'an, China" • jo.sau - "IMG_7750" • UniBay - "shanghai tower china skyscrapers" • Thomas Depenbusch - "Wuxi, Jiangsu, China" • TravelCoffeeBook - "lake water reflections" • USAGI_POST - "facing garden gyeongbok palace cultural property" • Jack78 - "china pekin forbidden city beijing" • kalleboo - "Inside the forbidden city" • charlemagne - "versailles architecture france" • NOAA Photo Library - "smwd0023" • Wilson Hui - "Houses of Parliament - Big Ben" • 3dman_eu - "roof china dragon" • zeevveez - "Yin Yang Door" • _paVan_ - "Chinese Lanterns, Gardens By The Bay, Singapore"

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