Chinese Art: The History, Architecture, Sculpture, and Porcelain Hongjun Wu

China: An Old Civilization

Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago.

According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 B.C.E.

The civilization continued...to today.

Dynasties mark different time periods throughout Chinese history.

The First United Dynasty.

The Warring States period ended in 221 B.C.E. after the state of Qin conquered the other six kingdoms and established the first unified Chinese state.

King Zheng proclaimed himself the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty.

Painting of King Zheng

He enacted Qin's legalist reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of Chinese characters, measurements, road widths, and currency.

His dynasty also conquered the Yue tribes in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Vietnam.

The Qin dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after the First Emperor's death, as his harsh authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.

The First and Only Empress.

Wu ZeTian is the one and only empress throughout the Chinese History.

Wu's leadership resulted in important effects regarding social class in Chinese society and in relation to state support for Buddhism, education, and literature.

The "china"

China got its country name from "china", the most well known ceramics product that serves at the best selling product for thousands of years.

Since prehistory era Chinese people knew how to use clay to make useful items in their daily life, they would also draw some line patterns as an artistic innovation.

The ceramics technique continues through out the history, and the profession and artistic on these items made this country known as "The country of china", and that's where China got its name.

Blue-and-white porcelain

Imagine... If America is called "Fast Food" or "Trump"...

The Last Dynasty of China

The last dynasty of China is called the Qing Dynasty. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for the modern Chinese state.

Flag for the Qing Dynasty

Under the Qing, traditional forms of art flourished and innovations occurred at many levels and in many types. High levels of literacy, a successful publishing industry, prosperous cities, and the Confucian emphasis on cultivation all fed a lively and creative set of cultural fields.

"Qing Palace version" of the Along the River During the Qingming Festival

The First People's Republic Country

Mao defeated the Japanese with the Nationalists (The leader was Chiang Kai-shek) and defeated Chiang Kai-shek after the civil war, and unified mainland China.

Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong toasting together in 1946 following the end of World War II

On 1 October 1949, Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

Mao declaring independence of the People's republic of China
Chinese Art

Forbidden City, Fifteenth Century, Ming Dynasty, Stone Masonry, Marble, Brick, Wood, Ceramic Tile, Beijing, China.

This is the largest and most complete Chinese Architectural ensemble in existence.

The Forbidden City is a large precinct of red walls and yellow glazed roof tiles located in the heart of China’s capital, Beijing. As its name suggests, the precinct is a micro-city in its own right.

There are 9,000 rooms! Which means...if you live in a room for a day, it might take you about 25 years to live all of the rooms once.

Public and domestic spheres are clearly divided in the Forbidden City. The southern half, or the outer court, contains spectacular palace compounds of supra-human scale.

While the outer court is reserved for men, the inner court is the domestic space, dedicated to the imperial family. The inner court includes the palaces in the northern part of the Forbidden City.

Today, the Forbidden City serves as one of the biggest national museum of the nation. It is a time lapse of the nation's past, and the collection of the emperors continues fascinate most visitors. (I've been to the Forbidden City twice!!)

Chairman Mao En Route to Anyuan, based on an oil painting by Liu Chunhua, 1969, Color Lithograph, Private Collection.

During the Cultural Revolution, artists focused on creating “Mao paintings,” which represented Mao’s effort to regain his hold after bitter political struggles within the party.

Liu Chunhua illustrated an evocative portrayal that suggested that Mao was capable of leading the country toward revolution. Thus, this painting serves as a propaganda purpose.

Mao appears superhuman, yet also practical and charismatic.

Chairman Mao en Route to Anyuan celebrated the grassroots nature of revolutionary history and cultivated devotion to Mao during a tumultuous time.

As a brilliant example of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, it was reportedly reproduced over nine hundred million times, and distributed widely in print, sculpture, and other media.

Army of Emperor Shi Huangdi, Painted Terra-Cotta, 221-209 B.C.E., Qin Dynasty, Lintong, China.

The First Emperor known for stunning innovations that consolidated his rule through modernization. He is regarded as a military genius, and while his methods included massacre and destruction, some claim that his ultimate success at bringing the states together justifies the violence, a necessary cost of nation-building.

The First Emperior's underground palace was a mausoleum attended by an army including over 7,000 terracotta warriors horses, chariots and weaponry intended to protect him in the afterlife.

The First Emperor envisioned a subterranean domain that would parallel his worldly existence after corporal death.

However, these are just some minor burial items in the First Emperor's tomb. His tomb is like a mountain, with rivers of mercury inside the tomb represented the lakes and rivers, and glowing jewels on the ceiling representing stars in the sky.

A large amount of mercury is detected in the First Emperor's tomb, indicates that ancient historians are saying true things.

The "Army" of emperor Shi Huang Di is actually some of the minor discoveries when looking at the whole entire tomb of the emperor Shi Huang Di. Thus, we look forward to discover what is inside the Emperor Shi Huang Di's tomb.

Longmen Cave, 493-1127, Tang Dynasty, Limestone, Luoyang, China.

Empress Wu Zetian sponsored these colossal rock-cut sculptures. The Tang artists represented the Mahayana Cosmic Buddha in serene majesty, suppressing surface detail in favor of monumental simplicity.

There were 800,000 people worked on the site, and there are about 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, more than 60 stupas, and 2,800 inscriptions on steles.

Buddhas arranged as if on an altar of a temple, deeply set into the rock surface.

Connection: Mo Gao Caves Wall Painting

Buddhism was introduced to the Chinese people...approximately since when Jesus born. So Buddhism is deep blended into the Chinese culture. A lot of caves are built during the two thousand years, and a lot of masterpieces are created with a Buddhism theme as well.

The David Vases, 1351, White Porcelain with Cobalt Blue Underglaze, British Museum, London.

The David Vases is one of the most important examples of blue and white porcelain in existence.

The David Vase was made for a Taoist temple, and these vases are believed to be the earliest known blue and white porcelain dedication.

The blue color was imported from Iran through the silk road, and this enabled the technique of making blue and white ceramics.

They are too beautiful...maybe that is where China gets her name...

Credits:

Created with images by capelle79 - "Forbidden City, Beijing" • capelle79 - "Forbidden City, Beijing" • Wiepsel - "Teracotta Army, hall 1" • Zingaro. I am a gipsy too. - "Xi'an. "Viale fantasma" per le tombe dell'imperatrice Wu e del marito, l'imperatore Tang Gaozong." • Fæ - "Lobed Vase with Floral Sprays and Lotus Petals LACMA M.2004.7.15" • 3dman_eu - "roof china dragon" • gill_penney - "beijing 2 113" • Thad Zajdowicz - "Lion Dog" • Hans - "image painting boot" • xiquinhosilva - "57262-Shangri-La" • Fæ - "Buddha Seokgamoni (Shakyamuni) Preaching to the Assembly on Vulture Peak LACMA AC1998.268.1 (9 of 11)" • edenpictures - "Imperial Dragon" • Gwydion M. Williams - "2009_07_20_DSC04669d" • Gwydion M. Williams - "2009_07_20_DSC04660" • Naomi Chung's Daydream Art - "sketch Chinese bamboo" • mechanicalcurator - "Image taken from page 258 of 'Pictures of the Chinese, drawn by themselves. Described by Rev. R. H. Cobbold'" • mechanicalcurator - "Image taken from page 17 of 'Overland through Asia. Pictures of Siberian, Chinese, and Tartar life ... With ... map, and ... illustrations'" • Jack78 - "china pekin forbidden city beijing" • Wiepsel - "Teracotta Army, hall 1" • Xuan Che - "longmen grottoes - fengxiansi" • Fæ - "Pair of Vases LACMA M.2005.123.1.1-.2 (2 of 2)"

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