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Early China and Korea. Chinese Art Vocabulary. Northern Song Period. Yangshao Culture. Liao Dynasty. Shang Dynasty. Southern Song Period. Zhou Dynasty. Korean Art. Qin Dynasty. Three Kingdoms Period. Han Dynasty. Unified Silla Kingdom. Period of Disunity. KoryoDynasty.

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Chinese Art Vocabulary


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    1. Early China and Korea Chinese Art Vocabulary Northern Song Period Yangshao Culture Liao Dynasty Shang Dynasty Southern Song Period Zhou Dynasty Korean Art Qin Dynasty Three Kingdoms Period Han Dynasty Unified Silla Kingdom Period of Disunity KoryoDynasty Tang Dynasty Click the Pagoda to take you home

    2. Chinese Art • Confucianism • School of thought founded by Confucius and his disciple Mencius (Mengzi) stressing social responsibility and order. The ideal social order is personified by the junzi ( “superior person“) who possesses ren (“human-heartedness”). Anyone can become a junzi by cultivating virtues such as empathy, pursuit of morality and justice, and respect for tradition. • Daoism • Philosophy arising from the metaphysical teachings of Laozi and Zhuangzi stressing an intuitive awareness and harmony with nature. The Dao is the “universal path“ where strength comes from flexibility and inaction. It stresses the cultivation of individuals, often in reclusion. • Clustered brackets • A system of cantilevering a roof to allow for broad overhang of eaves using beams, lintels, struts, purlins, and rafters, all interlocking without mortar or glue. • Bays • Spaces between supporting columns in architecture.

    3. Yangshao Culture

    4. The prehistoric Yangshao culture located along the Yellow River in northeastern China. Its major artistic form was Earthenware pottery.

    5. Techniques for decorating earthenware and stoneware in early China relied on changes made to the piece during firing. Earthenware is fired at low temperatures in open pits or simple kilns and remains soft and porous, allowing liquids to seep through. Stoneware is fired at a much higher temperature in a kiln, and has a stonelike hardness and density. Decoration on Yangshao pottery included zigzags, lozenges, and spirals Potters of the Yangshao Culture produced fine decorated earthenware bowls in the 4th millennium BCE, prior to the invention of the potter's wheel. Yangshao Culture vases from Gansu Province, China mid-third millennium B.C.E.

    6. Shang Dynasty

    7. Shang dynasty bronzes used animal forms probably connected with the world of spirits. Bronze ritual vessels were most characteristic of the Shang period. Guang probably from Anyang, China Shang dynasty12th or 11th century BCE. bronze6 1/2 in. high

    8. Types of objects found in tombs of Shang rulers and those of Sanxingdui and the material from which they were made. bronze vessels Elephant tusks and an ivory beakerinlaid with turquoise jade (nephrite) objects Turtle shells and animals bonesinscribed in the earliest form of theChinese language lacquer and gold objects Bronze statues Standing figure from Sanxingdui, China ca. 1200–1050 B.C.E.bronze8 ft. 5 in. high, including base

    9. Zhou Dynasty The Zhou dynasty was among the longest in Chinese history.

    10. While all theories presented to date are speculative, we can forward one based upon the Warring States text Zhou li(Rites of Zhou), that "bi" are thought to represent symbols of heaven and were used in ancient rituals together with square tubes (cong) symbolizing the earth. "To worship heaven with a bi" explains their importance and use. "Bi" also symbolize status of high social rank and sheds light on why many carved jades have been found in Zhou royal tombs. When used in burials, the Bi is placed under the head or heart of the deceased, to conduct the “hun” soul to heaven Among the most common finds in tombs during the Zhou dynasty are bi disks Bi disk with dragons from Jincun(?), China Eastern Zhou dynastyfourth to third century B.C.E. Nephrite6 1/2 in. diameter

    11. Qin Dynasty

    12. In addition to his work on the Great Wall, the Qin ruler Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, is remembered in art history for the army of life-sized ceramic and bronze warriors and horses he commissioned for his tomb Army of the First Emperor of Qin in pits next to his burial mound Lintong, China Qin dynastyca. 210 B.C.E.painted terracottaaverage figure 5 ft. 10 7/8 in. high.

    13. What was found in excavations around the tomb mound of Emperor Shi Huangdi at Shaanxi? A vast underground funerary palace filled with more than 6000 life-size painted terracotta figures of soldiers and horses, as well as bronze horses and chariots.

    14. Han Dynasty Han ancestral shrines documented the emergence of private, non-aristocratic families as patrons of religious and mythological art.

    15. The Archer Yi? and Reception in a Mansion Jiaxiang, China Han Dynastyca.147-168 C.E.rubbing of a stone relief3 x 5 ft..

    16. Stylistic characteristics of Han reliefs Scenes are separated into horizontal courses each with its own groundline. Slightly twisted perspective, giving a flat appearance with no depth of space. Strong silhouettes with a mix of curvilinear and angular forms.

    17. The Silk Road The overland route that brought silk from China to Rome and other fine goods (and ideas, like Buddhism) along the way; a network of caravan tracts across Central Asia linking it to the Mediterranean world. Buddhism was brought to China from India in the first century BCE. Funeral Banner from Tomb 1 Mawangdui, China Han Dynastyca.168 B.C.E.painted silk6 ft. 8 3/4 in. x 3 ft. 1/4 in.

    18. Model of a house Han dynastyfirst century CEPainted earthenware4 ft. 4 in. high

    19. Chinese raised-beam construction

    20. Period of Disunity

    21. Three stylistic features, derived from Gandharan prototypes, that occur in the earliest Chinese image of the Buddha The ushnisha and the cross-legged position. The flat, relief-like handling of the robe’s folds. The dhyana (meditation) mudra, which is actually misrepresented here, with the hands facing the stomach instead of the viewer. Buddhism and Buddhist images became important in China during the Period of Disunity ShakyamuniBuddha From Hebei Province Period of Disunity338gilded bronze1 ft. 3 1/2 in. high

    22. Gu Kaizhi Lady Feng and the Bear, detail of Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies Period of Disunitylate fourth centuryhandscroll, ink and colors on silkentire scroll 9 3/4 in. X 11 ft. 4 1/2 in.

    23. The earliest extant precisely datable Chinese Buddhist image is a gilded bronze statuette of Shakyamuni Buddha Shakyamuni and Prabhutaratna from Hebei Province Northern Wei dynasty518Gilded bronze10 1/4 in. high

    24. Tang Dynasty Worldly and dignified typifies the Tang court and the art it commissioned.

    25. Drawing of East Main Hall Foguang Si Mount Wutai, China Tang dynastyca. 857

    26. The Vairocana Buddha is massive in size (44 feet tall), but in addition, is carved in the round with a geometric regularity of contour and smoothness of planes to emphasize the volume of the figure, as opposed to the flatter, more relief-like carving of the Zhao Shakyamuni Buddha. Vairocana Buddha, disciples, and bodhisattvas Fengxian Temple, Longmen Caves, Luoyang, China Tang dynastycompleted 675LimestoneBuddha 44 ft. high.

    27. Vairocana Buddha, disciples, and bodhisattvas Fengxian Temple, Longmen Caves, Luoyang, China Tang dynastycompleted 675LimestoneBuddha 44 ft. high.

    28. Tang dynasty artists and craftspeople taught visitors from Korea and Japan, and some traveled abroad. Vairocana Buddha, disciples, and bodhisattvas Fengxian Temple, Longmen Caves, Luoyang, China Tang dynastycompleted 675LimestoneBuddha 44 ft. high.

    29. Materials • Wood (with lacquer), marble, and tiled roofs. • Colors favored • Red, black, yellow, and white. • Roof line favored • Curved, with overhanging eaves. Builders laid beams between columns, decreasing the length of the beams as the structure rose. The beams supported vertical struts, which supported higher beams and eventually the purlins running the length of the building. The purlins carry the roof’s sloping rafters, which could be straight or curved. Unlike Egyptian and Greek architecture, Chinese architecture had roofs with curving silhouettes and were constructed differently.

    30. Type of perspective was used; Central, with objects that recede into space but do not converge onto one single vanishing point. Paradise of Amitabha Cave 172,Dunhuang, China Tang Dynastymid 8th centurywall paintingwall approximately 10 feet high

    31. Each figure exists in an undefined space. Importance is represented by size. The emphasis is on line drawing and flat colored washes, with simple shading to suggest volume. The painting The Thirteen Emperors is attributed to Yan Liben attributed to Yan Liben Emperor Xuan and attendants, detail of The Thirteen Emperors Tang dynastyca. 650handscroll, ink and colors on silkdetail: 1 ft. 8 1/4 in. x 1 ft. 5 1/2 in. ; entire scroll, 17 ft. 5 in. long

    32. Devices used to give a sense of depth and space to the composition. Paired figures facing into and out of the space of the picture. The figures are grouped in an oval with intervals that suggest a common ground plane. Palace ladies, detail of a wall painting in the tomb of Princess Yongtai Qianxian, China Tang dynasty706detail 5 ft. 10 in. high

    33. Types of figurines commonly found in Tang tombs: Chinese people (such as First Emperor of Qin’s army). Foreigners. Fantastic creatures. Domestic animals. Horse Tang Dynasty8th to 9th century C.E.20 in. highglazed earthenware

    34. Neighing Horse Tang Dynasty8th to 9th century C.E.20 in. highglazed earthenware

    35. Northern Song Period

    36. Stylistic characteristics Shifting perspective where some objects are represented from a level ground and others from an oblique perspective. Humans are dwarfed by overwhelming nature. Distance is represented with smaller, paler brush markes and unrepresented space (in front of the mountain). Shifting perspective is most characteristic in the paintings of the northern Song artist Fan Kuan. Fan Kuan Travelers Among Mountains and Streams Northern Song Periodearly 11th centuryhanging scroll, ink, and colors on silk6 ft. 7 1/4 in. x 3 ft. 4 1/4 in.

    37. A pioneer of Chinese landscape painting during the Period of Disunity was Fan Kuan The six canons of Chinese painting include responding to things, depicting their forms and dividing and planning, positioning and arranging, but not making objects appear still and persons appear in motion Scholars praised landscape Song dynasty painter Fan Kuan as a master of light, shade, and texture Fan Kuan Travelers Among Mountains and Streams Northern Song Periodearly 11th centuryhanging scroll, ink, and colors on silk6 ft. 7 1/4 in. x 3 ft. 4 1/4 in.

    38. Calligraphy has been highly valued throughout China’s history and was required training for court painters. Chinese painting valued care with and variety of brushstrokes for both drawing and shading. When Huizong reorganized the imperial painting academy, he required the study of poetry as part of the official training of court painters. Attributed to Huizong Auspicious Cranes Northern Song period1112section of a handscroll, ink and colors on silk1 ft. 8 1/8 in. X 4 ft. 6 3/8 in.

    39. Chinese potters applied slip to earthenware and stoneware vessels by painting, pouring, and dripping on a clay body not yet fully dried. Meiping vase from Xiuwi, China Northern Song period12th centurystoneware, Cizhou type, with sgraffito decoration 1 ft. 7 1/2 in. high

    40. Meiping vase Northern Song period 960-1127 C.E.Stoneware, Cizhou type with sgraffito decoration