History of Chinese Art

Get an overview of the different developments that took place in the world of Chinese art as we trace the history of Chinese of art.

China is a country that has a long art heritage. Indeed the arts that have originated from China have some of the most unique elements that the world has witnessed. Chinese art slowly developed into what it is today over a period of five thousand years.

The Neolithic era saw the Chinese producing a vast variety of artifacts. The most commonly produced items were painted pottery, jade carvings, ornaments and tools. Even at that time their carving displayed a fine level of craftsmanship and intricate designing. The bulk of the art work from the Neolithic era consists of pottery along with work on bronze and jade.

Chinese Bronze Art

With the advent of the Shang Dynasty that lasted from 1750 to 1045 B.C China produced some of the most amazing works of art especially in bronze. Sacrificial vessels from the time display the stylistic developments that had started to take place during this era. The archeologists have been able to unearth such amazing ritualistic bronze artwork that shows us that the Shang Dynasty was a progressive dynasty that developed many new techniques through trial and error.

With the adoption of Buddhism China began to experience a transition towards art that had a very different character that was previously witnessed from the country. Sculpture and painting along with architecture began to take on a religious theme. Detailed sculptures of important religious figures and mythological characters began to flourish as Buddhism began to exert its influence on the masses.

Buddhist art started to come into its own in China during the rule of the Tang dynasty. Under their rule the Chinese produced excellent works of art that had a very graceful nature and were created in perfect proportion and harmony. With time Buddhist art took on a more dramatic nature and as the Ming dynasty came into power miniature sculpture in ivory, glass and jade began to flourish.

With regards to the Chinese paintings from the years gone by we find that very few of them have managed to remain intact over the years. There is a considerable amount of variety of ceramics, tiles and lacquer from the region. Chinese painters were especially renowned for their mastery over the use of line and silhouette.

Chinese Figurine Painting

The Tang dynasty is known for its contribution to the world of Chinese art in the form of figurine painting. The artists of that time drew inspiration from the courtly life, animals, and human figures. Chinese landscape paintings that are held in great esteem today also began to flourish during the rule of the Tang dynasty which lasted from 618 to 906.

Subsequent years saw many developments in Chinese paintings especially in terms of the use of the brush. The Chinese gained their mastery over the brush because of the art form of calligraphy which is one of the most well renowned forms of art to have originated from the country.

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