An Introduction to Chinese Art

Chinese art
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For a detailed discussion of each of the arts mentioned above, see Chinese painting , Chinese calligraphy , Chinese architecture , Chinese pottery , Chinese bronzes , Chinese lacquerwork , Chinese jade , and silk. One of the outstanding characteristics of Chinese art is the extent to which it reflects the class structure that has existed at different times in Chinese history.

Up to the Warring States period — bce , the arts were produced by anonymous craftsmen for the royal and feudal courts. It is believed that during the Shang and early Zhou periods the production of ritual bronze s was exclusively regulated under the authority of the court, which could grant or withhold authorization for production by regional workshops among the various states or others who paid fealty to the court.

Under the careful regulation of court patrons in the Shang and Zhou periods, design features were shared among specialists working in the various media and were remarkably uniform from bronzes to lacquerwares to textiles.

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During the Warring States period and the Han dynasty bce — ce , the growth of a landowning and merchant class brought new patrons. After the Han there began to emerge the concept of cultural practice as the product of the leisure of the educated gentry, many of whom were amateur practitioners of the arts of poetry , music , calligraphy , and, eventually, painting.

At this time a distinction began to arise between the lower-class professional and the elite amateur artist; this distinction would have a great influence on the character of Chinese art in later times. Gradually one tradition became identified with the artists and craftsmen who worked for the court or sold their work for profit.

The scholarly amateurs looked upon such people with some contempt , and the visual arts of the literati became a separate tradition that was increasingly refined and rarefied to the point that, from the Song dynasty — onward, an assumed awkwardness zhuo or understatement pingdan in technique was admired as a mark of the amateur and gentleman. As a medium of highly individual expression, painting and calligraphy also became important media of exchange in a social economy where the giving of gifts was central to the building of an interpersonal network.

One effect of the revolutions of the 20th century was the breaking down of the class barriers between amateur and professional.

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During the Cultural Revolution of —76, literati art and artists were denigrated and an emphasis was placed on anonymous, proletarian-made art like that of the Tang dynasty — and earlier. Since the 3rd century ce , calligraphy, or writing as a fine art, has been considered supreme among the visual arts in China. Not only does it require immense skill and fine judgment, but it is regarded as uniquely revealing of the character and breadth of cultivation of the writer. It is believed that the appreciation and production of calligraphy requires lofty personal qualities and unusual aesthetic sensitivity.

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The comprehension of its finer points is thought to require experience and sensibility of a high order. Calligraphers of that duration decided to reveal their inner sensations and interests with calligraphy. More theoretical books came out, offering theoretical support for the later generations. The calligraphy in the Ming Dynasty was generally an inheritance and advancement of that of the Song and Yuan dynasties, which of the Qing Dynasty was normally divided into two periods.

There was an increasing of numerous well-known calligraphers with numerous outstanding calligraphic works.

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Chinese calligraphy is an Chinese art. Like using chopsticks, calligraphy was completely Chinese.

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However, as Chinese culture affects Korea, Japan, and Singapore, calligraphy became a special attribute of Chinese art. This is a guest post by Benjamin Cai.

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Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China .. He wrote three books about painting theory: On Painting ( 畫論), Introduction of Famous Paintings of Wei and Jin Dynasties (魏晉名畫記) and. An Introduction to Chinese Art. [Michael. Sullivan] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Benjamin is a native Chinese who lives in Hong Kong. He start learning Mandarin since He is the co-founder of SpeakMandarinToday. Stephen, from London to Beijing. Picture Postcards: Hong Kong houses. We feature guest posts from people all over the world.

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