Chinese Art

  1. The Creative Eye The Asia Society invited artists, architects and writers to select an item from their collection of Indian, Japanese, South East Asian and Chinese art then write comments about the art. Some of the texts are scholarly, some poetic, some personal and some all three. Choose some of the 75 artworks yourself and see if you and the commentator agree.

  2. Monks and Merchants The Silk Road was the first transcontinental highway of the ancient world. It was a vast network of roads that connected China with Central and Western Asia, the Mediterranean and the Indian subcontinent. Adventurers, traders, monks and pilgrims traveled the route, bringing luxury goods, new ideas and religions to the many communities it linked. Learn more about the Silk Road through the many splendid artworks at this site.

  3. The Potala Palace This Buddhist complex is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet. Construction of the present palace began in 1645 during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama and by 1648 the Potrang Karpo, or White Palace, was completed. The Potrang Marpo, or Red Palace, was added between 1690 and 1694; its construction required the labors of more than 7000 workers and 1500 artists and craftsman. The photo shows you clearly how this architectural wonder dominates the valley and mountains around it.

  4. Taoism And The Arts Of China The name "Taoism" comes from the Chinese word Tao (pronounced "dow"), which literally means "way" or "path." Taoism is China's primary native religion and though it began over 3,000 years ago, it still exists today. This very large web exhibit was created by The Art Institute of Chicago. It showcases works of art illustrating many facets of the Taoist religion. The exhibition includes paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, porcelain, lacquer, and ritual robes and implements. You can enjoy the beautiful, colorful works of art and if you wish, learn more about Taoism.

  5. Fire Over Earth Throught the seven artworks in this Asia Society web exhibition, you'll learn about the ceramic traditions of China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. This area of the world is rich in clay and the minerals needed to make brilliant artworks that are artisticly beautiful and technically outstanding.

  6. From Court to Caravan Over 2,300 years ago, the Chinese buried beautifully decorated sculptures in the tombs of kings and high officials. These seven examples tell us a wonderful story about the court attendants, entertainers and animals that were part of the life of the deceased. The sculptures were highly valued and admired by mourners at the funeral.

  7. The Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home For 200 years, the Huang Family lived in this typical merchant's home, sometimes three generations at a time. This web gallery lets you explore a rare example of architecture from south east China that has been re-erected at the Peabody Essex Museum..

  8. China: One Hundred Treasures The Israel Museum in Jerusalem created this web gallery for their millenium exhibit. There are 21 objects from over ten provinces, cities, and autonomous regions, from north to south and east to west at this site. You can learn more about the mysterious tomb of the first Chinese emporer, Qin Shi Huangdi.

  9. The Forbidden City The Forbidden City in Bejing contained the Imperial Palace, gardens, and important religious temples for the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). This virtual tour starts with a map of the major gates and halls then allows you to click on the icon to see photographs of the highlighted buildings with short explanations of their functions. Alison's Tour of The Forbidden City This is a close-up look at the city through a tourist's eyes. There are some very nice details of decorative artworks.

  10. Oriental Architecture If you are interested in seeing more examples of Chinese architecture, visit this web site then click on the link to China. You will have a choice of many architectural examples to explore. Photographs are donated by generous people so quality varies, but it is fascinating to see many details and get an idea of the size of a building or temple.

  11. The Chinese Writing System The web site has a great section on the Chinese language and writing system. It's easy to read, has great examples and answers the basic questions most people have about it's origins, evolution and current useage.

  12. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wonderful feature, the Timeline of Art History. There are hundreds of beautifully illustrated articles on special topics organized chronologically, or from the oldest to the newest, as art developed around the world. Here are topics and artworks of interest for this period of art history.

    • Shang and Zhou Dynasties 2000-256 BC The Bronze Age in China developed as large cities began to grow. The Shang was the earliest dynasty to control large areas of China and their artists created great ritual objects.
    • Tang Dynasty 618-906 AD After 300 years of war, the Tang Dynasty unified China. Peace brought wealth as trade flourished on the Silk Road. The new wealthy elite were great patrons of the arts.
    • A New Visual Language The Mongol King, Ghengis Khan, conquered China and unified much of the Far East in the 13th century. During this peaceful time, artists and craftsmen traveled freely and exchanged artisitc ideas and images.
    • Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368 AD It was amazing, but during this century of foreign domination by the Mongols, Chinese culture was reinvigorated, especially calligraphy.
    • Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 AD Chinese rulers returned to the throne and hired artists to show its generosity and majesty. Paintings, decorative arts and sculpture flourished.
    • Qing Dynasty 1644-1911 The royal court became a leading patron of the arts and encouraged landscape paintings of great variety.
    • Tibetan Buddhist Art Buddhism reached Tibet by the 7th century. Over the centuries, its sacred arts were influenced by the artists of China and India.
    • Korean Celadon For five centuries, the ceramic artists of Korea created exquisite green-glazed vases and bowls. The simple, graceful shapes and luminous colors are known around the world.


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