Song Dynasty A collection of art and culture
Song Culture/Philosophy • Development of Neo-Confucianism, partly influenced by concepts from Chan (meditation) Buddhism. • Emergence of scholars' ("literati") culture and concept of certain arts as congenial modes for self-expression; compilation of encyclopedias; antiquarianism; art collecting. • The Song is generally regarded as a period of cultural introspection and consolidation, in contrast to the Tang.
Song Art • Painting: flourished at court, development of fan and album leaf formats, associated with Buddhism and Daoism • Ceramics: profusion of regional wares, many of them characterized by simplicity of shape and restraint in decoration
Influenced by Daoism philosophies, the artists of the Song dynasty had a special awareness of nature and painted landscapes accompanied by poetry in calligraphy. Of course all paintings had the artist’s stamp, recognizing whose work it was.
This work shows a boy and a girl playing a game with dates. Completely intent on their game, their attitudes appear most natural. In the garden with a decorative rock, the colorful chrysanthemums and hibiscus capture the autumn mood. Some toys have been left on top of a round garden stool, and a pair of cymbals lies on the ground. Every detail in this work is precisely delineated, making it one of Su Han-ch'en's greatest surviving masterpieces.
Southern Song Art (1127-1279 A.D.) • In 1125, when the Jurchen, a seminomadic people from northeast Asia, invaded Song China and captured the capital at Bianliang • the Song court reestablished itself in the south in Hangzhou, where it continued to rule for another 150 years as the Southern Song dynasty. • Southern Song society was characterized by the pursuit of a highly aestheticized way of life, and paintings of the period often focus on evanescent pleasures and the transience of beauty. Images evoke poetic ideas that appeal to the senses or capture the fleeting qualities of a moment in time.
The Southern Song Imperial Painting Academy continued the stylistic direction and high technical high technical standards set by Emperor Huizong in the early twelfth century. The paintings shown here were done in the style of the period- often on album-leaf format with ink on silk ( sometimes pressed into an oval fan) or on a paper scroll.
The decorative arts also reached the height of elegance and technical perfection during the Southern Song. Like painting, the plastic arts responded to two different aesthetics—that of the imperial court and that of popular culture. Supreme among the decorative arts of the Song period are ceramics, which many connoisseurs consider the highest artistic achievement of the Chinese potter.
Northern Song Art (960-1127 A.D.) • The Song dynasty (960–1279) was culturally the most brilliant era in later imperial Chinese history. A time of great social and economic change, the period in large measure shaped the intellectual and political climate of China down to the twentieth century. The first half of this era, when the capital was located at Bianliang (modern Kaifeng), is known as the Northern Song period. • Song court painters transformed these idealized images of nature into emblems of a perfectly ordered state. The early Northern Song dynasty witnessed the flowering of one of the supreme artistic expressions of Chinese civilization: monumental landscape painting.
The early Northern Song dynasty witnessed the flowering of one of the supreme artistic expressions of Chinese civilization: monumental landscape painting.tenth-century recluse-painters discovered in nature the moral order that they had found lacking in the human world. In their visionary landscapes, the great mountain, towering above the lesser mountains, trees, and men, was like "a ruler among his subjects, a master among servants." Later, Song court painters transformed these idealized images of nature into emblems of a perfectly ordered state.
Stone wares such as porcelain fired in kilns of Jianci village were popular. The colors on them were pigmented and sophisticated.
Under Emperor Huizong (r. 1101–25), himself an accomplished painter and calligrapher, imperial patrnage and the ruler's direct involvement in establishing artistic direction reached a zenith. While maintaining that the fundamental purpose of painting was to be true to nature, Huizong sought to enrich its content through the inclusion of poetic resonance and references to antique styles.