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Art China and Japan
The Beginnings of Chinese Civilization, which began some 2,000 years before the birth of Christ, is the oldest continuous culture in the world. As this civilization grew, its people gained skill and knowledge in many different fields. Among Chinese accomplishments are the inventions of the compass, paper, porcelain, and printing with carved wood blocks.
TEAPOT. This artifact is from the Ming dynasty. It is both a functional object as well as a piece of fine art
Near the end of the Han dynasty, the religion of Buddhism, which originated in India, came to China. This religion had a great impact on the way artists approached their work. It also helped raise artists to a position of respect and admiration in Chinese society. The Chinese people were the first to consider the painting of pictures an important and honorable task; they placed artists on the same level as poets, who were very highly regarded
Unlike ancient Greek sculptors, Chinese sculptors did not regard the body as a thing of beauty. This attitude, combined with the fact that they did not regard sculpture as one of the important arts, caused them to limit their sculpture production to religious portraits such as that of the Bodhisattva.
power and influence. The people enjoyed prosperity, military campaigns extended the boundaries of the empire, foreign trade increased, and Buddhism grew in strength.
Tomb sculptures, chiefly in clay, were also created to honor the dead. Many of these tomb sculptures were of animals. An excellent example is the earthenware and polychrome glazed horse.
Tang Handscroll campaigns extended the boundaries of the empire, foreign trade increased, and Buddhism grew in strength
Horses were highly prized by the Chinese. The emperor Ming Huang was said to own more than 40,000. The handscroll illustrated below shows one of his favorite horses rearing against the tether that binds it to a post
bringing an end to the Sung dynasty. Following a period of strife, the Mongols, under Kublai Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, took control of the country and established the Yiian dynasty. During this time, artists such as Ch'ien Hsiian (chee-en shoo-ahn) painted scenes that repeat a familiar Chinese theme: the quiet contemplation of nature.
decorate a wall of a house. They were intended to inspire in the viewer the same deep thoughts that passed through the mind of the artist while the work was created. A work like this would be unrolled and savored only when the viewer was in the proper state of mind and was certain not to be disturbed.
Japan the viewer the same deep thoughts that passed through the mind of the artist while the work was created. A work like this would be unrolled and savored only when the viewer was in the proper state of mind and was certain not to be disturbed.
Hiroshi Yoshida, wood block, 1939
presented the treasures of his court to the Great Buddha enshrined at Todaiji. Other gifts were later added to these treasures and were housed and protected in the temple. As a result, no less than 10,000 works of eighth century Japanese art were preserved.
The Yamato-e Style
Contacts with China continued until 898 when ties were broken as a consequence of internal strife in Japan. No longer able to draw inspiration from China, Japanese artists developed their own unique style of painting, which was known as Vamato-e, or painting in the Japanese manner.
Kawae Hause enshrined at Todaiji. Other gifts were later added to these treasures and were housed and protected in the temple. As a result, no less than 10,000 works of eighth century Japanese art were preserved.Rain in Maehawa Woodblock
For centuries, the dragon has been a symbol of power and mystery. Depicted in countless legends, both Eastern and Western, the dragon has provoked man to fear and worship it. In medieval Europe, it was a blood thirsty, fire breathing figure. Its malevolence and ferociousness struck terror in all.
However in Asia, it is the contrary. The mighty dragon is a mythical beast long celebrated for its benevolence, intelligence and good will. The dragon has been a common symbol of identity for East Asian cultures. In fact, Chinese people all over the world are affectionately known as lung de chuan ren, or the “descendants of the dragon.”
There are several distinct types of Chinese dragons:
The Horned dragon is considered the mightiest.
The Celestial dragon supports the heavens and protects the Gods.
The earth dragon rules all of the earth
The Spiritual Dragon controls the wind and rain.
The treasure Dragon is the keeper of all precious metals and gems
The Winged Dragon is the only dragon with wings
The Coiling Dragon dwells in the ocean.
The Yellow Dragon is a hornless dragon known for its scholarly knowledge.
are worn. The shape of the kimono and its dimensions are carefully prescribed. The fabric must be silk, or cotton for summer, and is decorated with embroidery or intricate batik designs. Lengths of fabric are sewn together to make long, straight panels. Kimonos can be worn for many years; they are often passed along as family treasures.
Ito Shinsui carefully prescribed. The fabric must be silk, or cotton for summer, and is decorated with embroidery or intricate batik designs. Lengths of fabric are sewn together to make long, straight panels. Kimonos can be worn for many years; they are often passed along as family treasures.Shrine in Snow wood block
The artist first prepared a design in ink, adding color notations to guide the printer. The lines of the design were then transferred to a wood block, and a specialist in wood cutting carved away the wood between the lines. A separate block was prepared for each color. Finally, the printer inked each block and pressed each one against paper, being careful to align the blocks exactly. Since
Spring Dance Scene 1694 wood block print