Chinese art history carries traces of historical periods of a society that has existed for thousands of years. China is a society with a diverse cultural background. Let’s take a look at the history of his artistic activities in China.
Chinese Art History
Two important areas of Chinese art history are traditional Chinese painting and Chinese architecture. The origin of Chinese painting goes back quite a long way.
Chinese Painting History
Chinese painting is one of the oldest art forms that continues to exist today. Like many forms of Chinese art, it began as an ornamental task but soon evolved into something purposeful. This article explains the origins and history of this artistic tradition and the techniques commonly associated with it.
In China, painting began as decorative patterns and shapes that typically adorned pottery; these include spirals, dots, squiggles and various animals. BC Chinese painters began to use paintings to summarize the world around them. It wasn’t until 400. During the Han and Tang Dynasties, which occurred in 202 BC and 618-906 AD respectively, artists tended to paint the human body. These paintings ended up in burial grounds on silk scrolls and were there to protect the dead on their journey to heaven. From AD 907 to 1127, Chinese painting evolved to include the landscape; This period is considered the highest point of Chinese painting and is therefore known as the ‘Great Age of the Chinese Landscape’. Artists from northern and southern China each painted their own landscapes.
As time progressed, people began to recognize paintings as fine works of art, individual artists became the center of attention, and guidelines for Chinese painting were established. Most importantly, the ‘Six Principles of Chinese Painting’ emerged in the fifth century. These principles are described by Xie He, an art historian and author, as follows: “Soul resonance, which is the energy transferred from the artist to the work, the bone method that expresses the way the brush is used, the correspondence with the object referring to the painting, and whether it effectively depicts the real entity, the tone and colors of the painting. Conformity to the script, which is the part, refers to the order, spacing and depth of the picture, and planning and Transmission by copying is the copying of those models from life and history.
The Tang Dynasty allowed images of royal life to flourish, such that realism reached its peak during this period. Many artists used exaggerated colors and extensive details in their paintings; but one artist decided to do the opposite. Wu Daozi was a master artist who refused to include any color in his work. After this time, paintings like him were considered finished works of art rather than sketches that would later be filled with color. Landscape paintings soon became much more meaningful as they freed themselves from duplicating nature and instead revealed the artist’s spiritual nature. This allowed painters to describe the ‘inner spirit’ of the objects they painted rather than their exterior. At the dawn of the 20th century, Chinese artists were exposed to many Western arts, and some were even trained in Europe. While many of these artists began to reject traditional Chinese painting, others tried to connect the two forms.
From the 13th century until just before the 20th century, artists developed the tradition of painting simple objects such as fruit or flowers. Color printing techniques were developed and technical guides on painting emerged. Originally the painting was made on silk because of its durability and association with the lifestyle of the royal nobility; It is where the majority of painters come because they have an appropriate amount of recreational time to perfect their painting techniques and instruments. Shortly after paper was invented in the first century by Cai Lun, it replaced silk as the primary medium for writing and painting. As painting began to grow in popularity, two basic techniques evolved. The first is known as Gong-bi, which means diligence. The other style is called Shui-mo, meaning free hand; this type of technique is similar to what western cultures know as watercolor painting. These techniques, collectively referred to as traditional painting, are practically similar to calligraphy in that they use a brush dipped in ink instead of oil. Traditional painting is typically done on paper and silk, but is sometimes done in other mediums as well. Chinese painting has matured over thousands of years as a mixture of styles, subjects, and cultures.
Chinese Architecture History
As long as civilization has existed, the Chinese people have been expressing their cultural beliefs through architecture. Basic structural design principles have remained relatively stagnant for thousands of years; only the decorative qualities have been changed. Chinese culture had such a great influence on most of Asia that similar architectural styles can be seen in Vietnam, Japan, and Korea. Architecture in China typically has five components that define its existence. The first is called Architectural Binary Symmetry and it means balance in laymen’s terms. Buildings are intended to appear equal on both sides of the centre; To achieve this, an even number of columns is used to create an odd number of outer panels.
The enclosure is an additional feature of Chinese architecture; this is when a courtyard is set up in the middle of a ring of buildings. This is usually only found in northern China; Southern China uses a slightly different structure called the ‘skywell’. A skywell is formed by intersections of narrowly spaced buildings and is traditionally used to regulate temperature and collect rainwater. The importance of buildings is another important feature; this is known as Hierarchy. The more important buildings are located with their doors facing the front of the property, the less important buildings facing the side and the least important buildings facing the back of the property. Conversely, placing a building at the back of property or in a relatively private location is considered highly respectful as a place of worship for elders or ancestors. When this is done, the living quarters for the servants, the storage areas and the kitchen are placed at the edges of the property to preserve the courtyard environment. The Horizontal Emphasis also adds to the architectural style; this is when the wealthy tend to build very large structures to signify their importance; this runs counter to the Western tradition of building and extracting wealth to express it.
Mythology also plays a large role in Chinese architecture. For example, screen walls face the main entrance of the house to prevent bad things from traveling in straight lines. Also, talismans representing good fortune are displayed in many places to bring prosperity and escape negative energy. The buildings themselves are beautifully crafted assets, typically constructed without the use of nails or glue. This is accomplished with large, load-bearing timbers and an incredibly tight fit of doweling and joint work. Curtains and door panels are used to surround a building or to conceal load-bearing walls in the construction of premium buildings. Gable roofs are actually the ‘only roof’ in existence because they are the preferred style over flat roofs. The most economical type of roof is a flat pitched roof, common in the architecture of the lower classes. While multi-sloped roofs are used in rich architecture, the largest known as ‘sweep’ roofs are usually only seen in temples and palaces, but are sometimes found in the homes of the extraordinarily wealthy.
Types of Buildings in Chinese Architecture
There are three main types of buildings common in Chinese architecture. These consist of communal, imperial and religious structures. The communal structures are built with a mausoleum in the middle of the house, bedrooms for the elderly, and the kitchen for the younger members of the family, surrounded by the living room, dining room and other necessary rooms. Imperial buildings are typically built with yellow tiles and red wood to symbolize their importance. Also, these buildings are the only structures where nine spaces are allowed between the two pillars. Religious buildings are the final classification of Chinese architecture. These usually follow the imperial style as they have a front hall with a statue of a Bodhisattva.
Tang Dynasty occupies an important place in Chinese art history. The Tang Dynasty, known as the ‘Golden Age of China’ due to the economic and political stability of the period, allowed all kinds of arts to flourish. This is when many advances have been made in brick making and structural stability, and buildings of all kinds have been built. However, after this period, China fell into a state of disrepair for nearly 100 years. Political and economic instability, war, and government corruption have caused society to almost regress in its technological evolutions; The monetary system was reduced to barter and many important structures were destroyed. However, after this period of destruction, Chinese architecture flourished once again. Large structures such as pagodas, palaces, pavilions and multi-storey buildings were built, shared in the diversity of the new architectural style. This technique is better designed, more beautifully crafted structures on smaller, larger, omnipotent buildings.
The Ming and Qing Dynasties marked the end of imperial rule in China; but they did not abandon their efforts to build. These two dynasties allowed structures to be built on a large scale. Cities expanded, defensive walls were built, standards were set. The Great Wall of China grew in succession and it was a defining feature of the era that its name was more than just a name. The Ming Dynasty moved the country’s capital to Beijing and created the now famous ‘Forbidden City’, a place of architectural beauty reserved for royal nobility. As a kind of last stand, the Qing Dynasty created the Terra cotta Army as a sign of their architectural skills. Although Chinese architecture has undergone minor changes over the last four thousand years, most of the underlying methodology was created during the rule of the high imperial dynasties.
Dragons are creatures believed to have great powers that appear in the legends of many cultures around the world. Dragon figure is very important for Chinese art history. It appears in a work of art: painting, sculpture, landscape, costume… Essentially, flying reptiles with snake-like features, dragons have traditionally been depicted as fire-breathing beasts of savage nature. Historically, they have been depicted in different ways from culture to culture.
Chinese Dragon, Chinese Art History
European dragons were often represented as evil or destructive. The Chinese dragon, unlike the European dragon, was seen as wise and essentially benevolent and kind; They were often seen as symbols of Chinese emperors. Chinese dragons are seen as figures and symbols of the new year in the Chinese zodiac. New Year’s celebrations continue to feature dragons in parades. China has a wide range of folklore devoted to dragons.
In this article, the subject of Chinese art history is examined in outline.