Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 65

Japanese art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cypress Tree Bybu, folding screen by Kano Eitoku, 1590

Sudden Shower at the Atake Bridge, Hiroshige, 1856

Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture, ink
paintingand calligraphy on silk and paper, ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints, kirie, kirigami, origami, and more recently mangamodern Japanese cartooning and comicsalong
with a myriad of other types of works of art. It has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of
human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present.
Historically, Japan has been subject to sudden invasions of new and alien ideas followed by long
periods of minimal contact with the outside world. Over time the Japanese developed the ability to
absorb, imitate, and finally assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their
aesthetic preferences. The earliest complex art in Japan was produced in the 7th and 8th centuries
in connection with Buddhism. In the 9th century, as the Japanese began to turn away
from China and develop indigenous forms of expression, the secular arts became increasingly
important; until the late 15th century, both religious and secular arts flourished. After the nin
War(14671477), Japan entered a period of political, social, and economic disruption that lasted for
over a century. In the state that emerged under the leadership of the Tokugawa shogunate,
organized religion played a much less important role in people's lives, and the arts that survived
were primarily secular.

Painting is the preferred artistic expression in Japan, practiced by amateurs and professionals alike.
Until modern times, the Japanese wrote with a brush rather than a pen, and their familiarity with
brush techniques has made them particularly sensitive to the values and aesthetics of painting. With
the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e became a
major art form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints of everything from daily
news to schoolbooks. The Japanese, in this period, foundsculpture a much less sympathetic medium
for artistic expression; most Japanese sculpture is associated with religion, and the medium's use
declined with the lessening importance of traditional Buddhism.
Japanese ceramics are among the finest in the world and include the earliest known artifacts of their
culture. In architecture, Japanese preferences for natural materials and an interaction of interior and
exterior space are clearly expressed.

1 History of Japanese art


1.1 Jmon art

1.2 Yayoi art

1.3 Kofun art

1.4 Asuka and Nara art

1.5 Heian art

1.6 Kamakura art

1.7 Muromachi art

1.8 Azuchi-Momoyama art

1.9 Art of the Edo period

1.10 Art of the Prewar period

1.11 Art of the Postwar period

1.11.1 Contemporary art in Japan

2 Performing arts

3 Aesthetic concepts

4 Artists

4.1 Art schools

4.2 Private sponsorship and foundations

5 See also

6 Sources

7 References

8 Further reading

9 External links

History of Japanese art[edit]

Statuette with Snow Glasses, Jmon Era

Jmon art[edit]
The first settlers of Japan, the Jmon people (c. 11000 c. 300 BC), named for the cord markings
that decorated the surfaces of their clay vessels, were nomadic hunter-gatherers who later practiced
organized farming and built cities with populations of hundreds if not thousands. They built simple
houses of wood and thatch set into shallow earthen pits to provide warmth from the soil. They
crafted lavishly decorated pottery storage vessels, clay figurines called dog, and crystal jewels.

Yayoi art[edit]
The next wave of immigrants was the Yayoi people, named for the district in Tokyo where remnants
of their settlements first were found. These people, arriving in Japan about 350 BC, brought their
knowledge of wetland rice cultivation, the manufacture of copper weapons and bronze bells
(dtaku), and wheel-thrown, kiln-fired ceramics.

Kofun art[edit]

A Sankakubuchi shinjky (ja), or triangular-edged mirror with divine beast design

The third stage in Japanese prehistory, the Kofun period (c. 250 552 AD), represents a
modification of Yayoi culture, attributable either to internal development or external force. The period
is named for the large number of kofun megalithic tombs created during this period. In this period,
diverse groups of people formed political alliances and coalesced into a nation. Typical artifacts are
bronze mirrors, symbols of political alliances, and clay sculptures called haniwa which were erected
outside tombs.

Asuka and Nara art[edit]

Bodhisattva, Asuka period, 7th century

During the Asuka and Nara periods, so named because the seat of Japanese government was
located in the Asuka Valley from 552 to 710 and in the city of Nara until 784, the first significant influx
of continental Asian culture took place in Japan.
The transmission of Buddhism provided the initial impetus for contacts between China, Korea and
Japan. The Japanese recognized the facets of Chinese culture that could profitably be incorporated
into their own: a system for converting ideas and sounds into writing; historiography; complex
theories of government, such as an effectivebureaucracy; and, most important for the arts, new
technologies, new building techniques, more advanced methods of casting in bronze, and new
techniques and media for painting.
Throughout the 7th and 8th centuries, however, the major focus in contacts between Japan and the
Asian continent was the development of Buddhism. Not all scholars agree on the significant dates
and the appropriate names to apply to various time periods between 552, the official date of the
introduction of Buddhism into Japan, and 784, when the Japanese capital was transferred from

Nara. The most common designations are the Suiko period, 552645; the Hakuh period, 645710,
and the Tenpy period, 710784.

Miroku Bosatsu atChg-ji

The earliest Japanese sculptures of the Buddha are dated to the 6th and 7th century.[1] They
ultimately derive from the 1st- to 3rd-century AD Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, characterized by
flowing dress patterns and realistic rendering,[2] on which Chinese and Korean artistic traits were
superimposed. After the Chinese Northern Wei buddhist art had infiltrated a Korean peninsula,
Buddhist icons were brought to Japan by Various immigrant groups.[3] Particularly, the semi-seated
Maitreya form was adapted into a highly developed Ancient Greek art style which was transmitted to
Japan as evidenced by the Kry-ji Miroku Bosatsu and the Chg-ji Siddhartha statues.[4] Many
historians portray Korea as a mere transmitter of Buddhism.[5] the Three Kingdoms, and particularly
Baekje, were instrumental as active agents in the introduction and formation of a Buddhist tradition
in Japan in 538 or 552.[6] They illustrate the terminal point of the Silk Road transmission of Art during
the first few centuries of our era. Other examples can be found in the development of the
iconography of the Japanese Fjin Wind God,[7] the Ni guardians,[8] and the near-Classicalfloral
patterns in temple decorations.[9]

Pagoda and Kond at Hry-ji, 8th century

The earliest Buddhist structures still extant in Japan, and the oldest wooden buildings in the Far
East are found at the Hry-ji to the southwest of Nara. First built in the early 7th century as the
private temple of Crown Prince Shtoku, it consists of 41 independent buildings. The most important
ones, the main worship hall, or Kond(Golden Hall), and Goj-no-t (Five-story Pagoda), stand in
the center of an open area surrounded by a roofed cloister. The Kond, in the style of Chinese
worship halls, is a two-story structure of post-and-beam construction, capped by an irimoya, or
hipped-gabled roof of ceramic tiles.
Inside the Kond, on a large rectangular platform, are some of the most important sculptures of the
period. The central image is a Shaka Trinity (623), the historical Buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas,
sculpture cast in bronze by the sculptor Tori Busshi (flourished early 7th century) in homage to the

recently deceased Prince Shtoku. At the four corners of the platform are the Guardian Kings of the
Four Directions, carved in wood around 650. Also housed at Hry-ji is the Tamamushi Shrine, a
wooden replica of a Kond, which is set on a high wooden base that is decorated with figural
paintings executed in a medium of mineral pigments mixed with lacquer.

Hokked at Tdai-ji, 8th century

Temple building in the 8th century was focused around the Tdai-ji in Nara. Constructed as the
headquarters for a network of temples in each of the provinces, the Tdaiji is the most ambitious
religious complex erected in the early centuries of Buddhist worship in Japan. Appropriately, the
16.2-m (53-ft) Buddha (completed 752) enshrined in the main Buddha hall, or Daibutsuden, is
a Rushana Buddha, the figure that represents the essence of Buddhahood, just as the Tdaiji
represented the center for Imperially sponsored Buddhism and its dissemination throughout Japan.
Only a few fragments of the original statue survive, and the present hall and central Buddha are
reconstructions from the Edo period.
Clustered around the Daibutsuden on a gently sloping hillside are a number of secondary halls:
the Hokke-d (Lotus Sutra Hall), with its principal image, the Fukukenjaku Kannon (the most popular
bodhisattva), crafted of dry lacquer (cloth dipped in lacquer and shaped over a wooden armature);
the Kaidanin (Ordination Hall) with its magnificent clay statues of the Four Guardian Kings; and the
storehouse, called the Shsin. This last structure is of great importance as an art-historical cache,
because in it are stored the utensils that were used in the temple's dedication ceremony in 752, the
eye-opening ritual for the Rushana image, as well as government documents and many secular
objects owned by the Imperial family.

Heian art[edit]

Taizokai Mandala, T-jiowning

In 794 the capital of Japan was officially transferred to Heian-ky (present-day Kyoto), where it
remained until 1868. The term Heian periodrefers to the years between 794 and 1185, when
the Kamakura shogunate was established at the end of the Genpei War. The period is further

divided into the early Heian and the late Heian, or Fujiwara era, the pivotal date being 894, the
year imperial embassies to China were officially discontinued.
Early Heian art: In reaction to the growing wealth and power of organized Buddhism in Nara, the
priest Kkai (best known by his posthumous title Kb Daishi, 774-835) journeyed to China to
study Shingon, a form of Vajrayana Buddhism, which he introduced into Japan in 806. At the core of
Shingon worship are mandalas, diagrams of the spiritual universe, which then began to influence
temple design. Japanese Buddhist architecture also adopted the stupa, originally an Indian
architectural form, in its Chinese-style pagoda.

Pagoda of Mur-ji(800)

The temples erected for this new sect were built in the mountains, far away from the Court and the
laity in the capital. The irregular topography of these sites forced Japanese architects to rethink the
problems of temple construction, and in so doing to choose more indigenous elements of design.
Cypress-bark roofs replaced those of ceramic tile, wood planks were used instead of earthen floors,
and a separate worship area for the laity was added in front of the main sanctuary.
The temple that best reflects the spirit of early Heian Shingon temples is the Mur-ji (early 9th
century), set deep in a stand of cypress trees on a mountain southeast of Nara. The wooden image
(also early 9th century) of Shakyamuni, the "historic" Buddha, enshrined in a secondary building at
the Mur-ji, is typical of the early Heian sculpture, with its ponderous body, covered by thick drapery
folds carved in the hompa-shiki (rolling-wave) style, and its austere, withdrawn facial expression.

Pagoda in way (, "Japanese") style,Ichij-ji

Fujiwara art: In the Fujiwara period, Pure Land Buddhism, which offered easy salvation through
belief in Amida (the Buddha of the Western Paradise), became popular. This period is named after
the Fujiwara family, then the most powerful in the country, who ruled as regents for the Emperor,

becoming, in effect, civil dictators. Concurrently, the Kyoto nobility developed a society devoted to
elegant aesthetic pursuits. So secure and beautiful was their world that they could not conceive of
Paradise as being much different. They created a new form of Buddha hall, the Amida hall, which
blends the secular with the religious, and houses one or more Buddha images within a structure
resembling the mansions of the nobility.

Byd-in Phoenix Hall, Uji, Kyoto

The H--d (Phoenix Hall, completed 1053) of the Byd-in, a temple in Uji to the southeast of
Kyoto, is the exemplar of Fujiwara Amida halls. It consists of a main rectangular structure flanked by
two L-shaped wing corridors and a tail corridor, set at the edge of a large artificial pond. Inside, a
single golden image of Amida (c. 1053) is installed on a high platform. The Amida sculpture was
executed by Jch, who used a new canon of proportions and a new technique (yosegi), in which
multiple pieces of wood are carved out like shells and joined from the inside. Applied to the walls of
the hall are small relief carvings of celestials, the host believed to have accompanied Amida when he
descended from the Western Paradise to gather the souls of believers at the moment of death and
transport them in lotus blossoms to Paradise. Raig paintings on the wooden doors of the H--d,
depicting the Descent of the Amida Buddha, are an early example of Yamato-e, Japanese-style
painting, and contain representations of the scenery around Kyoto.

Panel from the Genji Monogatari Emaki pictorial scroll

of the Tale of Genji

E-maki: In the last century of the Heian period, the horizontal, illustrated narrative handscroll, known
as e-maki (, lit. "picture scroll"), came to the fore. Dating from about 1130, the Genji Monogatari
Emaki, a famous illustrated Tale of Genji represents the earliest surviving yamato-e handscroll, and
one of the high points of Japanese painting. Written about the year 1000 by Murasaki Shikibu, a
lady-in-waiting to the Empress Akiko, the novel deals with the life and loves of Genji and the world of
the Heian court after his death. The 12th-century artists of the e-maki version devised a system of
pictorial conventions that convey visually the emotional content of each scene. In the second half of
the century, a different, livelier style of continuous narrative illustration became popular. The Ban
Dainagon Ekotoba (late 12th century), a scroll that deals with an intrigue at court, emphasizes
figures in active motion depicted in rapidly executed brush strokes and thin but vibrant colors.

Bandainagon Ekotoba, Tokiwa Mitsunaga, 12th century

E-maki also serve as some of the earliest and greatest examples of the otoko-e (Men's pictures)
and onna-e (Women's pictures) styles of painting. There are many fine differences in the two styles,
appealing to the aesthetic preferences of the genders. But perhaps most easily noticeable are the
differences in subject matter. Onna-e, epitomized by the Tale of Genji handscroll, typically deals with
court life, particularly the court ladies, and with romantic themes. Otoko-e, on the other hand, often
recorded historical events, particularly battles. The Siege of the Sanj Palace (1160), depicted in the
"Night Attack on the Sanj Palace" section of the Heiji Monogatari handscroll is a famous example of
this style.

Kamakura art[edit]

Ni Guardian at theTdai-ji (Nara), Unkei, 1203

Muchaku in Kfuku-ji, by Unkei, 1212

Amitabha Triad at the Jdo-ji(Ono), Kaikei, 1197

In 1180 a war broke out between the two most powerful warrior clans, the Taira and the Minamoto;
five years later the Minamoto emerged victorious and established a de facto seat of government at
the seaside village of Kamakura, where it remained until 1333. With the shift of power from the
nobility to the warrior class, the arts had to satisfy a new audience: men devoted to the skills of
warfare, priests committed to making Buddhism available to illiterate commoners, and conservatives,
the nobility and some members of the priesthood who regretted the declining power of the court.
Thus, realism, a popularizing trend, and a classical revival characterize the art of the Kamakura
period. In the Kamakura period, Kyoto and Nararemained the centers of artistic production and high
Sculpture: The Kei school of sculptors, particularly Unkei, created a new, more realistic style of
sculpture. The two Ni guardian images (1203) in the Great South Gate of the Tdai-ji in Nara
illustrate Unkei's dynamic supra-realistic style. The images, about 8 m (about 26 ft) tall, were carved
of multiple blocks in a period of about three months, a feat indicative of a developed studio system of
artisans working under the direction of a master sculptor. Unkei's polychromed wood sculptures
(1208, Kfuku-ji, Nara) of two Indian sages, Muchaku and Seshin, the legendary founders of
theHoss sect, are among the most accomplished realistic works of the period; as rendered by
Unkei, they are remarkably individualized and believable images. One of the most famous works of
this period is an Amitabha Triad (completed in 1195), in Jdo-ji in Ono, created by Kaikei, Unkei's
Calligraphy and painting: The Kegon Engi Emaki, the illustrated history of the founding of
the Kegon sect, is an excellent example of the popularizing trend in Kamakura painting. The Kegon
sect, one of the most important in the Nara period, fell on hard times during the ascendancy of
the Pure Land sects. After the Genpei War (11801185), Priest Mye of Kzan-ji sought to revive the
sect and also to provide a refuge for women widowed by the war. The wives of samurai had been
discouraged from learning more than a syllabary system for transcribing sounds and ideas
(see kana), and most were incapable of reading texts that employed Chinese ideographs (kanji).

a part of "Shihon choshoku Kegonsh soshi eden"

(Kegon Engi Emaki), Kzan-ji owning

Thus, the Kegon Engi Emaki combines passages of text, written with a maximum of easily readable
syllables, and illustrations that have the dialogue between characters written next to the speakers, a
technique comparable to contemporary comic strips. The plot of the e-maki, the lives of the two
Korean priests who founded the Kegon sect, is swiftly paced and filled with fantastic feats such as a
journey to the palace of the Ocean King, and a poignant love story.

A work in a more conservative vein is the illustrated version of Murasaki Shikibu's diary. Emaki versions of her novel continued to be produced, but the nobility, attuned to the new interest in
realism yet nostalgic for past days of wealth and power, revived and illustrated the diary in order to
recapture the splendor of the author's times. One of the most beautiful passages illustrates the
episode in which Murasaki Shikibu is playfully held prisoner in her room by two young courtiers,
while, just outside, moonlight gleams on the mossy banks of a rivulet in the imperial garden.

Muromachi art[edit]
Main articles: Kitayama period and Higashiyama period

Art of Miyabi, Kitayama Culture(Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto, 1397)

Art of Wabi-sabi, Higashiyama Culture (Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto, 1489)

During the Muromachi period (13381573), also called the Ashikaga period, a profound change took
place in Japanese culture. TheAshikaga clan took control of the shogunate and moved its
headquarters back to Kyoto, to the Muromachi district of the city. With the return of government to
the capital, the popularizing trends of the Kamakura period came to an end, and cultural expression
took on a more aristocratic, elitist character. Zen Buddhism, the Ch'an secttraditionally thought to
have been founded in China in the 6th century, was introduced for a second time into Japan and
took root.
Painting: Because of secular ventures and trading missions to China organized by Zen temples,
many Chinese paintings and objects of art were imported into Japan and profoundly influenced
Japanese artists working for Zen temples and the shogunate. Not only did these imports change the
subject matter of painting, but they also modified the use of color; the bright colors of Yamato-e
yielded to themonochromes of painting in the Chinese manner, where paintings generally only have
black and white or different tones of a single color.

"Landscape of fall and winter" by Sesshu

Typical of early Muromachi painting is the depiction by the priest-painter Kao (active early 15th
century) of the legendary monk Kensu (Hsien-tzu in Chinese) at the moment he achieved
enlightenment. This type of painting was executed with quick brush strokes and a minimum of detail.
'Catching a Catfish with a Gourd' (early 15th century, Taiz-in, Myshin-ji, Kyoto), by the priestpainter Josetsu (active c. 1400), marks a turning point in Muromachi painting. Executed originally for
a low-standing screen, it has been remounted as a hanging scroll with inscriptions by contemporary
figures above, one of which refers to the painting as being in the "new style." In the foreground a
man is depicted on the bank of a stream holding a small gourd and looking at a large slithery catfish.
Mist fills the middle ground, and the background mountains appear to be far in the distance. It is
generally assumed that the "new style" of the painting, executed about 1413, refers to a more
Chinese sense of deep space within the picture plane.
The foremost artists of the Muromachi period are the priest-painters Shbun and Sessh. Shbun, a
monk at the Kyoto temple of Shokoku-ji, created in the painting Reading in a Bamboo Grove (1446)
a realistic landscape with deep recession into space. Sessh, unlike most artists of the period, was
able to journey to China and study Chinese painting at its source. Landscape of the Four
Seasons (Sansui Chokan; c. 1486) is one of Sesshu's most accomplished works, depicting a
continuing landscape through the four seasons.

Azuchi-Momoyama art[edit]
Main article: Art of the Momoyama period

The Siege of Osaka Castle, 17th century.

In the Momoyama period (15731603), a succession of military leaders, such as Oda

Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, attempted to bring peace and political
stability to Japan after an era of almost 100 years of warfare. Oda, a minor chieftain, acquired power
sufficient to take de facto control of the government in 1568 and, five years later, to oust the last
Ashikaga shogun. Hideyoshi took command after Oda's death, but his plans to establish hereditary
rule were foiled by Ieyasu, who established the Tokugawa shogunate in 1603.
Painting: The most important school of painting in the Momoyama period was that of the Kan
school, and the greatest innovation of the period was the formula, developed by Kano Eitoku, for the
creation of monumental landscapes on the sliding doors enclosing a room. The decoration of the

main room facing the garden of the Juko-in, a subtemple of Daitoku-ji (a Zen temple in Kyoto), is
perhaps the best extant example of Eitoku's work. A massive ume tree and twin pines are depicted
on pairs of sliding screens in diagonally opposite corners, their trunks repeating the verticals of the
corner posts and their branches extending to left and right, unifying the adjoining panels. Eitoku's
screen, 'Chinese Lions', also in Kyoto, reveals the bold, brightly colored style of painting preferred by
the samurai.
Three Beauties of the Present Day, by Utamaro, 1793

Hasegawa Tohaku, a contemporary of Eitoku, developed a somewhat different and more decorative
style for large-scale screen paintings. In his 'Maple Screen', now in the temple of Chishaku-in, Kyoto,
he placed the trunk of the tree in the center and extended the limbs nearly to the edge of the
composition, creating a flatter, less architectonic work than Eitoku, but a visually gorgeous painting.
His sixfold screen, 'Pine Wood', is a masterly rendering in monochrome ink of a grove of trees
enveloped in mist.

Art of the Edo period[edit]

"Fjin and Raijin" by Tawaraya Statsu

The Tokugawa shogunate gained undisputed control of the government in 1603 with a commitment
to bring peace and economic and political stability to the country; in large measure it was successful.
The shogunate survived until 1867, when it was forced to capitulate because of its failure to deal
with pressure from Western nations to open the country to foreign trade. One of the dominant
themes in the Edo period was the repressive policies of the shogunate and the attempts of artists to
escape these strictures. The foremost of these was the closing of the country to foreigners and the
accoutrements of their cultures, and the imposition of strict codes of behavior affecting every aspect
of life, the clothes one wore, the person one married, and the activities one could or should not
In the early years of the Edo period, however, the full impact of Tokugawa policies had not yet been
felt, and some of Japan's finest expressions in architecture and painting were produced: Katsura
Palace in Kyoto and the paintings of Tawaraya Statsu, pioneer of theRimpa school.

Circuit style Japanese garden:Koraku-en Garden in Okayama, completed in 1700

Architecture: Katsura Detached Palace, built in imitation of Genji's palace, contains a cluster of
shoin buildings that combine elements of classic Japanese architecture with innovative
restatements. The whole complex is surrounded by a beautiful garden with paths for walking. Many

of powerful Daimyo (feudal lords) built a Circuit style Japanese garden in the territory country, and
competed for the beauty.
Painting: Statsu evolved a superb decorative style by re-creating themes from classical literature,
using brilliantly colored figures and motifs from the natural world set against gold-leaf backgrounds.
One of his finest works is the pair of screens The Waves at Matsushima in the Freer Gallery in
Washington, D.C. A century later, Korin reworked Statsu's style and created visually gorgeous
works uniquely his own. Perhaps his finest are the screen paintings of red and white plum blossoms.
Sculpture The Buddhist monk Enk carved 120,000 Buddhist images in a rough, individual style.
Ukiyo-e and Bunjinga: The school of art best known in the West is that of the ukiyo-e paintings
and woodblock prints of the demimonde, the world of the kabuki theater and the pleasure districts.
Ukiyo-e prints began to be produced in the late 17th century; in 1764 Harunobu produced the
first polychrome print. Print designers of the next generation, including Torii Kiyonaga and Utamaro,
created elegant and sometimes insightful depictions of courtesans.

The print Red Fuji from Hokusai's series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.

In the 19th century the dominant figures were Hokusai and Hiroshige, the latter a creator of romantic
and somewhat sentimental landscape prints. The odd angles and shapes through which Hiroshige
often viewed landscape, and the work of Kiyonaga and Utamaro, with its emphasis on flat planes
and strong linear outlines, had a profound impact on such Western artists as Edgar
Degas and Vincent van Gogh. Via artworks held in Western museums, these same printmakers
would later exert a powerful influence on the imagery and aesthetic approaches used by
early Modernist poets such as Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington and H.D..[10]
A school of painting contemporary with ukiyo-e was Nanga, or Bunjinga, a style based on paintings
executed by Chinese scholar-painters. Just as ukiyo-e artists chose to depict figures from life outside
the strictures of the Tokugawa shogunate, Bunjin artists turned to Chinese culture. The exemplars of
this style are Ike no Taiga, Yosa Buson, Tanomura Chikuden, and Yamamoto Baiitsu.

Art of the Prewar period[edit]

Tokyo Station, by Kingo Tatsuno, 1914

When Emperor of Japan regained ruling power in 1868, Japan was once again invaded by new and
alien forms of culture. During thePrewar period, The introduction of Western cultural values led to a
dichotomy in Japanese art, as well as in nearly every other aspect of culture, between traditional

values and attempts to duplicate and assimilate a variety of clashing new ideas. This split remained
evident in the late 20th century, although much synthesis had by then already occurred, and created
an international cultural atmosphere and stimulated contemporary Japanese arts toward ever more
innovative forms.

Keiunkan Main Garden, by Jihe Ogawa, 1887

By the early 20th century, European art forms were well introduced and their marriage produced
notable buildings like the Tokyo Train Station and the National Diet Building that still exist today.
A lot of artistic new Japanese gardens were built with Jihe Ogawa.
Manga were first drawn in the Meiji period, influenced greatly by English and French political
cartoons. However, some art popular in the Meiji era, such as joge-e (reversible images), is no
longer popular in modern Japan.
Architecture: Tokyo Station, a building of Giyf architecture, full of bricks and pseudo-European
style. This style buildings were built in urban area.
Painting: The first response of the Japanese to Western art forms was open-hearted acceptance,
and in 1876 the Technological Art School was opened, employing Italian instructors to teach Western
methods. The second response was a pendulum swing in the opposite direction spearheaded
by Okakura Kakuz and the American Ernest Fenollosa, who encouraged Japanese artists to retain
traditional themes and techniques while creating works more in keeping with contemporary taste.
This was a strategy that eventually served to extend the influence of Japanese art as far as Calcutta,
London, and Boston in the years leading up to World War I.[11] Out of these two poles of artistic theory
- derived from Europe and from East Asia respectively - developed Yga (Western-style painting)
and Nihonga (Japanese painting), categories that remain valid to the present day.

Art of the Postwar period[edit]

After the end of World War II in 1945, many artists began working in art forms derived from the
international scene, moving away from local artistic developments into the mainstream of world art.
But traditional Japanese conceptions endured, particularly in the use of modular space in
architecture, certain spacing intervals in music and dance, a propensity for certain color
combinations and characteristic literary forms.
Art from 1603 to 1945 (Edo period and Prewar period) were supported by merchants. Counter to
Edo period and Prewar period, art of Postwar period was changed to the art which is supported by
people as consumers. The wide variety of art forms available to the Japanese reflect the vigorous
state of the arts, widely supported by the Japanese people and promoted by the government. In the
1950s and 1960s, Japan's artistic avant garde included the internationally influential Gutai group,
which originated or anticipated various postwar genres such as performance art, installation
art, conceptual art, and wearable art. In photography, Kansuke Yamamoto was prominent.

American art and architecture greatly influenced Japan. Though fear of earthquakes severely
restricted the building of a skyscraper, technological advances let Japanese build larger and higher
buildings with more artistic outlooks.
As Japan has always made little distinction between 'fine art' and 'decorative art', as the West has
done since the Renaissance, it is important to note Japan's significant and unique contributions to
the fields of art in entertainment, commercial uses, and graphic design. Cartoons imported from
America led to anime that at first were derived exclusively from manga stories.[citation needed] Today, anime
abounds, and many artists and studios have risen to great fame as artists; Hayao Miyazaki and the
artists and animators of Studio Ghibli are generally regarded to be among the best the anime world
has to offer. Japan also flourishes in the fields of graphic design, commercial art (e.g. billboards,
magazine advertisements), and in video game graphics and concept art.
Contemporary art in Japan[edit]
Japanese modern art takes as many forms and expresses as many different ideas as modern art in
general, worldwide. It ranges from advertisements, anime, video games, and architecture as already
mentioned, to sculpture, painting, and drawing in all their myriad forms.
Many artists do continue to paint in the traditional manner, with black ink and color on paper or silk.
Some of these depict traditional subject matter in the traditional styles, while others explore new and
different motifs and styles, while using the traditional media. Still others eschew native media and
styles, embracing Western oil paints or any number of other forms.
In sculpture, the same holds true; some artists stick to the traditional modes, some doing it with a
modern flair, and some choose Western or brand new modes, styles, and media. Yo Akiyama is just
one of many modern Japanese sculptors. He works primarily in clay pottery and ceramics, creating
works that are very simple and straightforward, looking like they were created out of the earth itself.
Another sculptor, using iron and other modern materials, built a large modern art sculpture in
the Israeli port city of Haifa, called Hanabi (Fireworks). Nahoko Kojima is a contemporary Kirie artist
who has pioneered the technique of Paper Cut Sculpture which hangs in 3d.
Takashi Murakami is arguably one of the most well-known Japanese modern artists in the Western
world. Murakami and the other artists in his studio create pieces in a style, inspired by anime, which
he has dubbed "superflat". His pieces take a multitude of forms, from painting to sculpture, some
truly massive in size. But most if not all show very clearly this anime influence, utilizing bright colors
and simplified details.

Performing arts[edit]

Kabuki Theater

A remarkable number of the traditional forms of Japanese music, dance, and theater have survived
in the contemporary world, enjoying some popularity through reidentification with Japanese cultural
values. Traditional music and dance, which trace their origins to ancient religious use
- Buddhist, Shint, and folk - have been preserved in the dramatic performances of Noh, Kabuki,
and bunraku theater. Ancient court music and dance forms deriving from continental sources were
preserved through Imperial household musicians and temple and shrine troupes. Some of the oldest

musical instruments in the world have been in continuous use in Japan from the Jmon period, as
shown by finds of stone and clay flutes and zithers having between two and four strings, to
which Yayoi period metal bells and gongs were added to create early musical ensembles. By the
early historical period (6th to 7th centuries), there were a variety of large and small drums,
gongs, chimes, flutes, and stringed instruments, such as the imported mandolin-like biwa and the flat
six-stringed zither, which evolved into the thirteen-stringed koto. These instruments formed the
orchestras for the 7th-century continentally derived ceremonial court music (gagaku), which,
together with the accompanying bugaku (a type of court dance), are the most ancient of such forms
still performed at the Imperial court, ancient temples, and shrines. Buddhism introduced the rhythmic
chants, still used, that underpin Shigin, and that were joined with native ideas to underlay the
development of vocal music, such as inNoh.

Aesthetic concepts[edit]

Calligraphy ofBodhidharma, Zen points directly to the human heart, see into your nature and become
Buddha, Hakuin Ekaku, 17th century

Main article: Japanese aesthetics

Japanese art is characterized by unique polarities. In the ceramics of the prehistoric periods, for
example, exuberance was followed by disciplined and refined artistry. Another instance is provided
by two 16th-century structures that are poles apart: the Katsura Detached Palace is an exercise in
simplicity, with an emphasis on natural materials, rough and untrimmed, and an affinity for beauty
achieved by accident; Nikk Tsh-g is a rigidly symmetrical structure replete with brightly colored
relief carvings covering every visible surface. Japanese art, valued not only for its simplicity but also
for its colorful exuberance, has considerably influenced 19th-century Western painting and 20thcentury Western architecture.
Japan's aesthetic conceptions, deriving from diverse cultural traditions, have been formative in the
production of unique art forms. Over the centuries, a wide range of artistic motifs developed and
were refined, becoming imbued with symbolic significance. Like a pearl, they acquired many layers

of meaning and a high luster. Japanese aesthetics provide a key to understanding artistic works
perceivably different from those coming from Western traditions.
Within the East Asian artistic tradition, China has been the acknowledged teacher and Japan the
devoted student. Nevertheless, several Japanese arts developed their own style, which can be
differentiated from various Chinese arts. The monumental, symmetrically balanced, rational
approach of Chinese art forms became miniaturized, irregular, and subtly suggestive in Japanese
hands. Miniature rock gardens, diminutive plants (bonsai), and ikebana (flower arrangements), in
which the selected few represented a garden, were the favorite pursuits of refined aristocrats for a
millennium, and they have remained a part of contemporary cultural life.
The diagonal, reflecting a natural flow, rather than the fixed triangle, became the favored structural
device, whether in painting, architectural or garden design, dance steps, or musical notations. Odd
numbers replace even numbers in the regularity of a Chinese master pattern, and a pull to one side
allows a motif to turn the corner of a three-dimensional object, thus giving continuity and motion that
is lacking in a static frontal design. Japanese painters used the devices of the cutoff, close-up, and
fade-out by the 12th century in yamato-e, or Japanese-style, scroll painting, perhaps one reason
why modern filmmaking has been such a natural and successful art form in Japan. Suggestion is
used rather than direct statement; oblique poetic hints and allusive and inconclusive melodies and
thoughts have proved frustrating to the Westerner trying to penetrate the meanings of literature,
music, painting, and even everyday language.
The Japanese began defining such aesthetic ideas in a number of evocative phrases by at least the
10th or 11th century. The courtly refinements of the aristocratic Heian period evolved into the elegant
simplicity seen as the essence of good taste in the understated art that is called shibui. Two terms
originating from Zen Buddhist meditative practices describe degrees of tranquility: one, the repose
found in humble melancholy (wabi), the other, the serenity accompanying the enjoyment of subdued
beauty (sabi). Zen thought also contributed a penchant for combining the unexpected or startling,
used to jolt one's consciousness toward the goal of enlightenment. In art, this approach was
expressed in combinations of such unlikely materials as lead inlaid in lacquer and in clashing poetic
imagery. Unexpectedly humorous and sometimes grotesque images and motifs also stem from the
Zen koan (conundrum). Although the arts have been mainly secular since the Edo period, traditional
aesthetics and training methods, stemming generally from religious sources, continue to underlie
artistic productions.

Art history
Eastern art history
Japanese art history
Japanese Art Main Page
Architecture - Calligraphy
Lacquer - Painting - Pottery
Prints - Sculpture - Swords

Historical Periods
Jmon and Yayoi periods
Yamato period
Heian period
Kamakura period
Muromachi period
Azuchi-Momoyama period
Edo period
Prewar period
Postwar period
Japanese Artists
Artists (chronological)
Artists - Calligraphers
Geisha - Painters
Sculptors - Architects
Photographers - Printmakers
Schools, Styles and Movements
Schools category
Buddhist art
Kan - Yamato-e - Kyoto - Nanga
Rinpa - Tosa - Ukiyo-e
The Art World
Art museums
Anime and Manga
Anime - Manga - Animators
Illustrators - Manga artists
Japan WikiProject
Part of a series on the

Culture of Japan


Mythology and folklore[show]




Music and performing arts[show]






Japan portal

Traditionally, the artist was a vehicle for expression and was personally reticent, in keeping with the
role of an artisan or entertainer of low social status. The calligrapher, a member of
the Confucian literati class, or noble samurai class in Japan, had a higher status, while artists of
great genius were often recognized in the Kamakura period by receiving a name from a feudal lord
and thus rising socially. The performing arts, however, were generally held in less esteem, and the
purported immorality of actresses of the early Kabuki theater caused the Tokugawa government to
bar women from the stage; female roles in Kabuki and Noh thereafter were played by men.
After World War II, artists typically gathered in arts associations, some of which were longestablished professional societies while others reflected the latest arts movement. The Japan Artists
League, for example, was responsible for the largest number of major exhibitions, including the
prestigious annual Nitten (Japan Art Exhibition). The P.E.N. Club of Japan (P.E.N. stands for prose,
essay, and narrative), a branch of an international writers' organization, was the largest of some
thirty major authors' associations. Actors, dancers, musicians, and other performing artists boasted
their own societies, including the Kabuki Society, organized in 1987 to maintain this art's traditional
high standards, which were thought to be endangered by modern innovation. By the 1980s,
however, avant-garde painters and sculptors had eschewed all groups and were "unattached"

Art schools[edit]
There are a number of specialized universities for the arts in Japan, led by the national universities.
The most important is the Tokyo Arts University, one of the most difficult of all national universities to
enter. Another seminal center is Tama Arts University in Tokyo, which produced many of Japan's late
20th-century innovative young artists. Traditional training in the arts, derived from Chinese traditional
methods, remains; experts teach from their homes or head schools working within a master-pupil
relationship. A pupil does not experiment with a personal style until achieving the highest level of
training, or graduating from an arts school, or becoming head of a school. Many young artists have
criticized this system as stifling creativity and individuality. A new generation of the avant-garde has
broken with this tradition, often receiving its training in the West. In the traditional arts, however, the
master-pupil system preserves the secrets and skills of the past. Some master-pupil lineages can be
traced to the Kamakura period, from which they continue to use a great master's style or theme.
Japanese artists consider technical virtuosity as the sine qua non of their professions, a fact
recognized by the rest of the world as one of the hallmarks of Japanese art.
The national government has actively supported the arts through the Agency for Cultural Affairs, set
up in 1968 as a special body of theMinistry of Education. The agency's budget for FY 1989 rose to
37.8 billion after five years of budget cuts, but still represented much less than 1 percent of the
general budget. The agency's Cultural Affairs Division disseminated information about the arts within
Japan and internationally, and the Cultural Properties Protection Division protected the nation's
cultural heritage. The Cultural Affairs Division is concerned with such areas as art and culture
promotion, arts copyrights, and improvements in the national language. It also supports both national
and local arts and cultural festivals, and it funds traveling cultural events in music, theater, dance, art
exhibitions, and filmmaking. Special prizes are offered to encourage young artists and established

practitioners, and some grants are given each year to enable them to train abroad. The agency
funds national museums of modern art in Kyoto and Tokyo and The National Museum of Western
Art in Tokyo, which exhibit both Japanese and international shows. The agency also supports
the Japan Academy of Arts, which honors eminent persons of arts and letters, appointing them to
membership and offering 3.5 million in prize money. Awards are made in the presence of
the Emperor, who personally bestows the highest accolade, the Cultural Medal.

Private sponsorship and foundations[edit]

Arts patronage and promotion by the government are broadened to include a new cooperative effort
with corporate Japan to provide funding beyond the tight budget of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Many other public and private institutions participate, especially in the burgeoning field of awarding
arts prizes. A growing number of large corporations join major newspapers in sponsoring exhibitions
and performances and in giving yearly prizes. The most important of the many literary awards given
are the venerable Naoki Prize and theAkutagawa Prize, the latter being the equivalent of the Pulitzer
Prize in the United States.
In 1989 an effort to promote cross-cultural exchange led to the establishment of a Japanese "Nobel
Prize" for the arts, the Premium Imperiale, by the Japan Art Association. This prize of US$100,000
was funded largely by the mass media conglomerate Fujisankei Communications Group and was
awarded on a worldwide selection basis.
A number of foundations promoting the arts arose in the 1980s, including the Cultural Properties
Foundation set up to preserve historic sites overseas, especially along the Silk Road in Inner
Asia and at Dunhuang in China. Another international arrangement was made in 1988 with the
United States Smithsonian Institution for cooperative exchange of high-technology studies of Asian
artifacts. The government plays a major role by funding the Japan Foundation, which provides both
institutional and individual grants, effects scholarly exchanges, awards annual prizes, supported
publications and exhibitions, and sends traditional Japanese arts groups to perform abroad. The Arts
Festival held for two months each fall for all the performing arts is sponsored by the Agency for
Cultural Affairs. Major cities also provides substantial support for the arts; a growing number of cities
in the 1980s had built large centers for the performing arts and, stimulated by government funding,
were offering prizes such as the Lafcadio Hearn Prizeinitiated by the city of Matsue. A number of
new municipal museums were also providing about one-third more facilities in the 1980s than were
previously available. In the late 1980s, Tokyo added more than twenty new cultural halls, notably, the
large Bunkamurabuilt by Tokyu Group and the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. All
these efforts reflect a rising popular enthusiasm for the arts. Japanese art buyers swept the Western
art markets in the late 1980s, paying record highs for impressionist paintings and US$51.7 million
alone for one blue period Picasso.


Korean art
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gilt-bronze Maitreya in Meditation.

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it
has insufficientinline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise
citations. (May 2014)
Korean arts include traditions in calligraphy, music, painting and pottery, often marked by the use of
natural forms, surface decoration and bold colors or sounds.

1 Introduction

2 History

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Neolithic era

2.3 Bronze Age

2.4 Iron Age

2.5 Three Kingdoms

2.5.1 Goguryeo

2.5.2 Baekje

2.5.3 Silla

2.5.4 Gaya
2.6 North-South States

2.6.1 Unified Silla

2.6.2 Balhae

2.7 Goryeo Dynasty

2.8 Joseon Dynasty

3 Other visual arts


3.1 Calligraphy and printing

3.2 Painting

3.3 North Korea

3.4 Photography and cinema

4 Ceramics and sculpture

5 Architecture and interior design

6 Performing arts

6.1 Tea ceremony

6.2 Musical arts and theatre

6.3 Storytelling and comedy

6.4 Dance
7 Literature

7.1 Poetry

8 See also

9 References

10 Further reading

11 External links

The earliest examples of Korean art consist of stone age works dating from 3000 BCE. These mainly
consist of votive sculptures, although petroglyphs have also been recently rediscovered.
This early period was followed by the art styles of various Korean kingdoms and dynasties. Korean
artists sometimes modified Chinese traditions with a native preference for simple elegance, purity of
nature and spontaneity.
The Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) was one of the most prolific periods for artists in many disciplines,
especially in pottery.
The Korean art market is concentrated in the Insadong district of Seoul where over 50 small galleries
exhibit and there are occasional fine arts auctions. Galleries are co-operatively run, small and often
with curated and finely designed exhibits. In every town there are smaller regional galleries, with
local artists showing in traditional and contemporary media. Art galleries usually have a mix of
media. Attempts at bringing Western conceptual art into the foreground have usually had their best
success outside of Korea in New York, San Francisco, London and Paris.

Professionals have begun to acknowledge and sort through Koreas own unique art culture and
important role in not only transmitting Chinese culture but also assimilating it and creating a unique
culture of its own. "An art given birth to and developed by a nation is its own art." says one scholar.

Neolithic era[edit]

Comb-patterned pottery.

Humans have occupied the Korean Peninsula from at least c. 50,000 BCE.[1][2] Pottery dated to
approximately 7,000 BCE has been found. This pottery was made from clay and fired over open or
semi-open pits at temperatures around 700 degrees Celsius. [1].
The earliest pottery style, dated to circa 7,000 BCE, were flat-bottomed wares (yunggi-mun) were
decorated with relief designs, raised horizontal lines and other impressions. [2].
Jeulmun-type pottery, is typically cone-bottomed and incised with a comb-pattern appearing circa
6,000 BCE in the archaeological record. This type of pottery is similar to Siberian styles. [3].
Mumun-type pottery emerged approximately 2000 BCE and is characterized as large, undecorated
pottery, mostly used for cooking and storage.

Bronze Age[edit]
Between 2000 BCE and 300 BCE bronze items began to be imported and made in Korea. By the
seventh century BCE, an indigenous bronze culture was established in Korea as evidenced by
Korean bronze having a unique percentage of zinc. [4]. Items manufactured during this time were
weapons such as swords, daggers, and spearheads. Also, ritual items such as mirrors, bells, and
rattles were made. These items were buried in dolmens with the cultural elite. Additionally, iron-rich
red pots began to be created around circa 6th century. Comma-shaped beads, usually made from
nephrite, known as kokkok have also been found in dolmen burials. Kokkok may be carved to imitate
bear claws. Another Siberian influence can be seen in rock drawings of animals that display a life
line in the X-ray style of Siberian art. [5].

Iron Age[edit]
The Iron Age began in Korea around 300 BCE. Korean iron was highly valued in the Chinese
commanderies and in Japan.[citation needed]. Korean pottery advanced with the introduction of the potters
wheel and climbing kiln firing.

Three Kingdoms[edit]
This period began circa 57 BCE to 668 CE. Three Korean kingdoms, Goguryeo, Baekje,
and Silla vied for control over the peninsula.
Buddhism was introduced to Goguryeo first in 372 CE because of its location spanning much
of Manchuria and the northern half of Korea, closest to the northern Chinese states like the Northern
Wei. Buddhism inspired the Goguryeo kings to begin commission art and architecture dedicated to
the Buddha. A notable aspect of Goguryeo art are tomb murals that vividly depict everyday aspects
of life in the ancient kingdom as well as its culture. UNESCO designated the Complex of Goguryeo
Tombs and as a World Heritage Site because Goguryeo painting was influential in East Asia,
including Japan, an example being the wall murals of Horyu-ji which was influenced by Goguryeo.

Mural painting also spread to the other two kingdoms. The murals portrayed Buddhist themes and
provide valuable clues about kingdom such as architecture and clothing. These murals were also the
very beginnings of Korean landscape paintings and portraiture. However, the treasures of the tombs
were easily accessible and looted leaving very little physical artifacts of the kingdom.

Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje.

Baekje (or Paekche) is considered the kingdom with the greatest art among the three states. Baekje
was a kingdom in southwest Korea and was influenced by southern Chinese dynasties, such as
the Liang Dynasty. Baekje was also one of the kingdoms to introduce a significant Korean influence
into the art of Japan during this time period.[3]
Baekje Buddhist sculpture is characterized by its naturalness, warmness, and harmonious
proportions exhibits a unique Korean style.[4]Another example of Korean influence is the use of the
distinctive "Baekje smile", a mysterious and unique smile that is characteristic of many Baekje
statutes.[5] While there are no surviving examples of wooden architecture, the Mireuksa site holds the
foundation stones of a destroyed temple and two surviving granite pagodas that show what Baekje
architecture may have looked. An example of Baekje architecture may be gleaned from Horyuji temple because Baekje architects and craftsmen helped design and construct the original temple.
The tomb of King Muryeong held a treasure trove of artifacts not looted by grave robbers. Among the
items were flame-like gold pins, gilt-bronze shoes, gold girdles (a symbol of royalty), and swords with
gold hilts with dragons and phoenixes.[6]

Gold Crown of Silla.

The Silla Kingdom was the most isolated kingdom from the Korean peninsula because it was
situated in the southeast part of the peninsula. The kingdom was the last to adopt Buddhism and
foreign cultural influences.
The Silla Kingdom tombs were mostly inaccessible and so many examples of Korean art come from
this kingdom. The Silla craftsman were famed for their gold-crafting ability which have similarities
to Etruscan and Greek techniques, as exampled by gold earrings and crowns. [7] Because of Silla gold
artifacts bearing similarities to European techniques along with glass and beads depicting blue-eyed
people found in royal tombs, many believe that the Silk Road went all the way to Korea. Most
notable objects of Silla art are its gold crowns that are made from pure gold and have tree and
antler-like adornments that suggest a Scythe-Siberian and Korean shamanistic tradition. [6]
The Gaya confederacy was a group of city-states that did not consolidate into a centralized kingdom.
It shared many similarities in its art, such as crowns with tree-like protrusions which are seen in
Baekje and Silla. Many of the artifacts unearthed in Gaya tumuli are artifacts related to horses, such
as stirrups, saddles, and horse armor. Ironware was best plentiful in this period than any age.

North-South States[edit]
North South States Period (698926 CE) refers to the period in Korean history when Silla
and Balhae coexisted in the southern and northern part of Korea, respectively.
Unified Silla[edit]
Unified Silla was a time of great artistic output in Korea, especially in Buddhist art. Examples include
the Seokguram grotto and the Bulguksa temple. Two pagodas on the ground, the Seokgatap and
Dabotap are also unique examples of Silla masonry and artistry. Craftsmen also created massive
temple bells, reliquaries, and statutes. The capital city of Unified Silla was nicknamed the city of
gold because of use of gold in many objects of art.
The composite nature of the northern Korean Kingdom of Balhae art can be found in the two tombs
of Balhae Princesses. Shown are some aristocrats, warriors, and musicians and maids of the Balhae
people, who are depicted in the mural painting in the Tomb of Princess Jeonghyo, a daughter of King

Mun (737-793), the third monarch of the kingdom. The murals displayed the image of the Balhae
people in its completeness.

Goryeo Dynasty[edit]

Dragon-shaped Celadon Ewer.

The Goryeo Dynasty lasted from 918 CE to 1392. The most famous art produced by Goryeo artisans
was Korean celadon pottery which was produced from circa 1050 CE to 1250 CE. While celadon
originated in China, Korean potters created their own unique style of pottery that was so valued that
the Chinese considered it first under heaven and one of the twelve best things in the world.
The Korean celadon had a unique glaze known as king-fisher color, an iron based blue-green glaze
created by reducing oxygen in the kiln. Korean celadon displayed organic shapes and free-flowing
style, such as pieces that were made to look like fish, melons, and other animals. Koreans invented
an inlaid technique known as sanggam, where potters would engrave semi-dried pottery with
designs and place materials within the decorations with black or white clay.

Joseon Dynasty[edit]

General View of Mt. Geumgang byJeong Seon.

The influence of Confucianism superseded that of Buddhism in this period, however Buddhist
elements remained and it is not true that Buddhist art declined, it continued, and was encouraged
but not by the imperial centres of art, or the accepted taste of the Joseon Dynasty publicly; however
in private homes, and indeed in the summer palaces of the Joseon Dynasty kings, the simplicity of
Buddhist art was given great appreciation - but it was not seen as citified art.
While the Joseon Dynasty began under military auspices, Goreyo styles were let to evolve, and
Buddhist iconography (bamboo, orchid, plum and chrysanthemum; and the familiar knotted goodluck
symbols) were still a part of genre paintings. Neither colours nor forms had any real change, and
rulers stood aside from edicts on art. Ming ideals and imported techniques continued in early
dynasty idealized works.
Mid-dynasty painting styles moved towards increased realism. A national painting style of
landscapes called "true view" began - moving from the traditional Chinese style of idealized general
landscapes to particular locations exactly rendered. While not photographic, the style was academic
enough to become established and supported as a standardized style in Korean painting.
The mid- to late Joseon dynasty is considered the golden age of Korean painting. It coincides with
the shock of the collapse of Ming dynasty links with the Manchu emperors accession in China, and
the forcing of Korean artists to build new artistic models based on nationalism and an inner search
for particular Korean subjects. At this time China ceased to have pre-eminent influence, Korean art
took its own course, and became increasingly distinctive.

Other visual arts[edit]

Korean art is characterized by transitions in the main religions at the time: early Korean shamanist
art, then Korean Buddhist art and Korean Confucian art, through the various forms of Western arts in
the 20th century.
Art works in metal, jade, bamboo and textiles have had a limited resurgence. The South Korean
government has tried to encourage the maintenance of cultural continuity by awards, and by
scholarships for younger students in rarer Korean art forms.

Calligraphy and printing[edit]

See also: Korean calligraphy

Painting in the Era of Cold Weather by Kim Jeong-hui.

Korean calligraphy is seen as an art where brush-strokes reveal the artist's personality enhancing
the subject matter that is painted. This art form represents the apogee of Korean Confucian art.
Korean fabric arts have a long history, and include Korean embroidery used in costumes and
screenwork;Korean knots as best represented in the work of Choe Eun-sun, used in costumes and
as wall-decorations; and lesser known weaving skills as indicated below in rarer arts. There is no
real tradition of Korean carpets or rugs, although saddle blankets and saddle covers were made
from naturally dyed wool, and are extremely rare. Imperial dragon carpets, tiger rugs for judges or
magistrates or generals, and smaller chair-covers were imported from China and are traditionally in
either yellow or red. Few if any imperial carpets remain. Village rug weavers do not exist.

Korean paper art includes all manner of handmade paper (hanji), used for architectural purposes
(window screens, floor covering), for printing, artwork, and the Korean folded arts (paper fans, paper
figures), and as well Korean paper clothing which has an annual fashion show in Jeonju city
attracting world attention.
In the 1960s, Korean paper made from mulberry roots was discovered when the Pulguksa (temple)
complex in Gyeongju was remodelled. The date on the Buddhist documents converts to a western
calendar date of 751, and indicated that indeed the oft quoted claim that Korean paper can last a
thousand years was proved irrevocably. However after repeated invasions, very little early Korean
paper art exists. Contemporary paper artists are very active.

See also: Korean painting

Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land by An Gyeon.

For much of the 20th century, painting commanded precedence above other artistic media in Korea.
Beginning in the 1930s, abstraction was of particular interest.
From the mid-1960s, artists like Kwon Young-woo began to push paint, soak canvas, drag pencils,
rip paper, and otherwise manipulate the materials of painting in ways that challenged preconceived
notions of what it meant to be an ink painter (tongyanghwaga) or oil painter (soyanghwaga), the two
categories within which most artists were categorized. In the 1970s and 80, these challenges
eventually became the foundation of Dansaekhwa, or Korean monochrome painting, one of the most
successful and controversial artistic movements in twentieth-century Korea. Literally meaning
"monochrome painting," the works of artists like Ha Chonghyun, Park Seo-bo, Lee Ufan, Yun Hyong
Keun, Choi Myoung-young, Kim Guiline and Lee Dong-youbwere promoted in Seoul, Tokyo, and
Paris. Tansaekhwa grew to be the international face of contemporary Korean art and a cornerstone
of contemporary Asian art.
Some contemporary Korean painting demands an understanding of Korean ceramics and Korean
pottery as the glazes used in these works and the textures of the glazes make Korean art more in
the tradition of ceramic art, than of western painterly traditions, even if the subjects appear to be of
western origin. Brush-strokes as well are far more important than they are to the western artist;
paintings are judged on brush-strokes more often than pure technique.
The contemporary artist Suh Yongsun, who is highly appreciated and was elected "Korea's artist of
the year 2009",[8] makes paintings with heavy brushstrokes and shows topics like both Korean history
and urban scenes especially of Western cities like New York and Berlin.[9] His artwork is a good
example for the combination of Korean and Western subjects and painting styles.
Other Korean artists combining modern Western and Korean painting traditions are i.e. Junggeun
Oh and Tschoon Su Kim.
While there have been only rare studies on Korean aesthetics, a useful place to begin for
understanding how Korean art developed an aesthetic is in Korean philosophy, and related articles
on Korean Buddhism, and Korean Confucianism.

North Korea[edit]
In the north, changing political systems from Communism merging with the old yangban class of
Korean nationalistic leaders have brought out a different kind of visual arts that again is quite
distinctive from the common socialist realism art styles. This is so particularly in the patriotic films
that dominated that culture from 1949 to 1994, and the reawakened architecture, calligraphy, fabric
work and neo-traditional painting, that has occurred from 1994 to date.
The impact was greatest on revolutionary posters, lithography and multiples, dramatic and
documentary film, realistic painting, grand architecture, and least in areas of domestic pottery,
ceramics, exportable needlework, and the visual crafts. Sports art and politically charged
revolutionary posters have been the most sophisticated and internationally collectible by auction
houses and specialty collectors. North Korean painters who escaped to the United States in the late
1950s include the Fwhang sisters. Duk Soon Fwhang and Chung Soon Fwhang O'Dwyer avoid
overtly political statements in favor of tempestuous landscapes, bridging Western and Far Eastern
painting techniques.

Photography and cinema[edit]

See also: Photography in Korea and Cinema of Korea

Ceramics and sculpture[edit]

See also: Korean glass art, Korean stone art, Korean sculpture, Korean Buddhist
sculpture and Korean petroglyphs

Sam Taegeuk

Korean pottery is the most famous and senior art in Korea, it is closely tied to Korean
ceramics which represents tile work, large scale ceramic murals, and architectural elements.

Korean bronze art, as represented in the work of Kim Jong-dae, master of yundo or bronze
mirror casting; and Yi Bong-ju, who works in hammered bronze metalware.

Korean silver art, as represented in the work of Kim Cheol-ju in circular silver containers.

Korean jade carving, as represented in the work of Master Jang-Ju won typically in Joseon
Dynasty imperial style, with complex jade knotwork, Buddhist motifs, and Korean shamanistic

Korean grass weaving as represented in the work of Master Yi Sang-jae, in his legendary
wancho weaving containers.

Korean bamboo pyrography, as represented in the work of Kim Gi-chan in this unique
artwork involved with burning patterns and art on circular bamboo containers.

Korean bamboo strip work, as represented in the work of Seo Han-gyu (chaesang weaving),
and Yi Gi-dong (bamboo fans).

Korean ox-horn inlaying, as represented in the work of Yi Jae-man in his small storage box,
and commissioned gift furniture.

Korean blinds weaving, as represented in the work of seventh generation master, Jo Daeyong, and descended from Jo Rak-sin, who created his first masterworks for King Cheoljong;
and through Jo Seong-yun, and Jo Jae-gyu. Winners of Joseon Craft Contests. The artwork
known as Tongyeong blinds has gained more recognition with the appointment of Jo Dae-yong
as Master Craftsman of Bamboo Blinds weaving *Yeomjang) by the Korean government, and his
artworks as "Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 114", with Jo at age 51 becoming the
youngest 'human cultural property' in the republic.

Korean wood sculpture, as represented in the work of Park Chan-soo and is a subdivision
of Korean sculpture.

Architecture and interior design[edit]

See also: Korean architecture, Korean architectural ceramics, Korean gardens and Korean flower
There is a long tradition of Korean gardens, often linked with palaces.
Patterns often have their origins in early ideographs. Geometric patterns and patterns of plant,
animal and nature motifs are the four most basic patterns. Geometric patterns include triangles,
squares, diamonds, zigzags, latticework, frets, spirals sawteeth, circles, ovals and concentric circles.
Stone Age rock carvings feature animal designs in order to relate to food-gathering activities. These
patterns are found doors of temples and shrines, clothes, furniture and daily objects such as fans
and spoons.

Performing arts[edit]

In the performing arts, Korean storytelling is done in both ritualistic shamanistic ways, in the songs
of yangban scholars, and the cross-overs between the visual arts and the performing arts which are
more intense and fluid than in the West.
Depicted on petroglyphs and in pottery shards, as well as wall-paintings in tombs, the various
performing arts nearly always incorporated Korean masks, costumes with Korean knots, Korean
embroidery, and a dense overlay of art in combination with other arts.
Some specific dances are considered important cultural heritage pieces of art. The performing arts
have always been linked to the fabric arts: not just in costumery, but in woven screens behind the
plays, ornaments woven or embroidered or knotted to indicate rank, position, or as shamanistic
charms; and in other forms to be indicated.
Historically the division of the performing arts is between arts done almost exclusively by women in
costume, danceworks; and those done exclusively by men in costume, storytelling. And those done
as a group by both sexes with women's numbers in performances reduced as time goes on as it
became reputable for men to function as public entertainers.

Tea ceremony[edit]
The Korean tea ceremony is held in a Korean tea house with characteristic architecture, often
within Korean gardens and served in a way with ritualized conversation, formal poetry on wallscrolls, and with Korean pottery and traditional Korean costumes, the environment itself is a series of
naturally flowing events that provide a cultural and artistic experience.

Musical arts and theatre[edit]

See also: Music of Korea and Korean theatre
The skill of contemporary Korean performing artists, who have had great recognition abroad,
particularly in stringed instruments and as symphony directors, or operatic sopranos and mezzos,
takes part in a long musical history.
Korean music in contemporary times is generally divided into the same audiences as the west: with
the same kind of audiences for music based on age, and city (classical, pop, techno, house, hip-hop,
jazz; traditional) and provincial divisions (folk, country, traditional, classical, rock). World music
influences are very strong provincially, with traditional musical instruments once more gaining
ground. Competition with China for tourists has forced a much larger attention to traditional Korean
musical forms in order to differentiate itself from the west, and east.
The new Seoul Opera house, which will be the anchor for Korean opera has just been given the goahead, is set for a $300 million home on an island on the Han river. Korean opera and an entirely
redeveloped western opera season, and opera school, to compete with the Beijing opera house, and
Japan's historical centre for western operas in the far east is the present focus.
Korean court music has a history going back to the Silla where Tang court music was played;
later Song dynasty inspired "A-ak" a Korean version played on Chinese instruments within
the Joseon era. Recreations of this music are done in Seoul primarily under the auspices of the
Korea Foundation and The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts (NCKTPA).
Court musicians appear in traditional costume, maintain a rigid proper formal posture, and play
stringed five-stringed instruments. Teaching by this the "yeak sasang" principles of Confucianism,
perfection of tone and acoustic space is put ahead of coarse emotionality. Famous works of court
music include: jongmyo jeryeak, designated a UNESCO world cultural heritage, Cheoyongmu,
Taepyeongmu, and Sujecheon.
Korean folk music or pansori is the base from which most new music originates being strongly
simple and rhythmic.

Korean musicals are a recent innovation, encouraged by the success of Broadway revivals, like
Showboat, recent productions such as the musical based on Queen Min have toured globally. There
are precedents for popular musical dance-dramas in gamuguk popular in Goryeo times, with some
21st-century concert revivals.
Korean stage set design again has a long history and has always drawn inspiration from landscapes,
beginning with outdoor theatre, and replicating this by the use of screens within court and temple
stagings of rituals and plays. There are few if any books on this potentially interesting area. A rule of
thumb has been that the designs have much open space, more two-dimensional space, and
subdued tone and colour, and been done by artists to evoke traditional brush painting subjects.
Modern plays have tended towards western scenic flats, or minimalist atonality to force a greater
attention on the actors. Stage lighting still has to catch up to western standards, and does not reflect
a photographer's approach to painting in colour and light, quite surprisingly.
Korean masks are generally used in shamanistic performances that have increasingly been
secularized as folkart dramas. At the same time the masks themselves have become tourist
artefacts post 1945, and reproduced in large numbers as souvenirs.

Storytelling and comedy[edit]

Narrative storytelling, either in poetic dramatic song by yangban scholars, or in rough-housing by
physical comedians, is generally a male performance. There is as yet virtually no stand-up comedy
in Korea because of cultural restrictions on insult-humour, personal comments, and respect for
seniors, despite globally successful Korean comic films which depend on comedy of error, and
situations with no apparent easy resolution under tight social restraints.
Korean oral history includes narrative myths, legends, folk tales; songs, folksongs, shaman songs
and p'ansori; proverbs that expand into short historical tales, riddles, and suspicious words which
have their own stories. They have been studied by Cho Dong-Il; Choi In-hak, and Zong In-sop, and
published often in editions in English for foreigners, or for primary school teachers.

See also: Korean dance, Korean fan dance, Salpurichum dance, Seungmu dance and Talchum
Dance is a significant element of traditional Korean culture. Special traditional dances are performed
as part of many annual festivals and celebrations (harvest, etc.), involving traditional costumes,
specific colors, music, songs and special instruments. Some dances are performed by either men
only or women only, while others are performed by both. The women usually have their hair pulled
back away from the face in a bun, or may be wearing colorful hats. Some variation of the
traditional hanbok is typically worn, or a special costume specific to that dance. In some dances, the
women's costumes will have very long sleeves, or trail a long length of fabric, to accentuate graceful
arm movements. Outdoor festivals are loud and joyous, and cymbals and drums can prominently be
heard. Masks may be worn.

Main article: Korean literature
Notable examples of historical records are very well documented from early times, and as well
Korean books with moveable type, often imperial encyclopaedias or historical records, were
circulated as early as the 7th century during the Three Kingdoms era from printing wood-blocks; and
in the Goryeo era the world's first metal type, and books printed by metal type were produced.
Genres include epics, poetry, religious texts and exigetical commentaries on Buddhist and
Confucianist learning; translations of foreign works; plays and court rituals; comedies, tragedies,
mixed genres; and various kinds of novels. Korean's weave.

Main article: Korean poetry
Korean poetry began to flourish in the Three Kingdoms period. Collections were repeatedly printed.
With the rise of Joseon nationalism, poetry developed increasingly so and reached its apex in the
late 18th century. There were attempts at introducing imagist and modern poetry methods in the
early 20th century, and in the early republic period, patriotic works were very successful. Lyrical
poetry dominated from the 1970s onwards.


Chinese art
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It has been suggested that Chinese fine art be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since
October 2014.

Chinese jade ornament, with dragon and phoenixdesign, of the late Spring and Autumn Period (722482 BC).

Early Autumn, 13th century, by Song loyalist painter Qian Xuan. The decaying lotus leaves and dragonflies
hovering over stagnant water are probably a veiled criticism of Mongol rule.[1]

Ju ware bowl in the shape of a lotus, 1086-1106 AD

Portrait of the Yuan dynastyEmperor Kubilai Khan

Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by
Chinese artists. The Chinese art in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and that of overseas Chinese can
also be considered part of Chinese art where it is based in or draws on Chinese heritage
and Chinese culture. Early "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of
simple pottery and sculptures. After this early period Chinese art, like Chinese history, is typically
classified by the succession of ruling dynasties of Chinese emperors, most of which lasted several
hundred years.
Chinese art has arguably the oldest continuous tradition in the world, and is marked by an unusual
degree of continuity within, and consciousness of, that tradition, lacking an equivalent to the Western
collapse and gradual recovery of classical styles. The media that have usually been classified in the
West since the Renaissance as the decorative arts are extremely important in Chinese art, and
much of the finest work was produced in large workshops or factories by essentially unknown artists,
especially in the field of Chinese porcelain. Much of the best work in ceramics, textiles and other

techniques was produced over a long period by the various Imperial factories or workshops, which
as well as being used by the court was distributed internally and abroad on a huge scale to
demonstrate the wealth and power of the Emperors. In contrast, the tradition of ink wash painting,
practiced mainly by scholar-officials and court painters especially of landscapes, flowers, and birds,
developed aesthetic values depending on the individual imagination of and objective observation by
the artist that are similar to those of the West, but long pre-dated their development there. After
contacts with Western art became increasingly important from the 19th century onwards, in recent
decades China has participated with increasing success in worldwide contemporary art.

1 Painting

2 Sculpture

3 Pottery

4 Decorative arts

5 Historical development to 221 BC


5.1 Neolithic pottery

5.2 Jade culture

5.3 Bronze casting

5.4 Chu and Southern culture

6 Early Imperial China (221 BCAD 220)


6.1 Qin sculpture

6.2 Pottery

6.3 Han art

7 Period of division (220581)


7.1 Influence of Buddhism

7.2 Calligraphy

7.3 Painting
8 The Sui and Tang dynasties (581960)

8.1 Buddhist architecture and sculpture

8.2 Painting

9 The Song and Yuan dynasties (9601368)


9.1 Song painting

9.2 Yuan painting

10 Late imperial China (13681911)


10.1 Ming painting

10.2 Early Qing painting

10.3 Late Qing Art

10.4 Shanghai School

11 New China art (19121949)


11.1 Transformation

11.2 Painting

12 Communist and socialist art (1950-1980s)


12.1 Selective art decline

12.2 Painting

13 Redevelopment (Mid-1980s 1990s)


13.1 Contemporary Art

13.2 Visual art

14 Art market

15 Museums

16 See also

17 Notes

18 References

19 Further reading

20 External links


Part of Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, an imaginary tour through Xiao-xiang by Li Shi (), 12th century scroll, 30
x 400 cm. Ink on paper.Tokyo National Museum.

Main article: Chinese painting

Traditional Chinese painting involves essentially the same techniques as Chinese calligraphy and is
done with a brush dipped in black or colored ink; oils are not used. As with calligraphy, the most
popular materials on which paintings are made of paper and silk. The finished work can be mounted
on scrolls, such as hanging scrolls or handscrolls. Traditional painting can also be done on album
sheets, walls, lacquerware, folding screens, and other media.
The two main techniques in Chinese painting are:

Gong-bi (), meaning "meticulous", uses highly detailed brushstrokes that delimits details
very precisely. It is often highly coloured and usually depicts figural or narrative subjects. It is

often practised by artists working for the royal court or in independent workshops. Bird-andflower paintings were often in this style.

Ink and wash painting, in Chinese Shui-mo or ([2]) also loosely termed watercolour or
brush painting, and also known as "literati painting", as it was one of the "Four Arts" of the
Chinese Scholar-officialclass.[3] In theory this was an art practised by gentlemen, a distinction
that begins to be made in writings on art from the Song dynasty, though in fact the careers of
leading exponents could benefit considerably.[4] This style is also referred to as "xie yi" () or
freehand style.

Artists from the Han (202 BC) to the Tang (618906) dynasties mainly painted the human figure.
Much of what is known of early Chinese figure painting comes from burial sites, where paintings
were preserved on silk banners, lacquered objects, and tomb walls. Many early tomb paintings were
meant to protect the dead or help their souls get to paradise. Others illustrated the teachings of the
Chinese philosopher Confucius, or showed scenes of daily life. Most Chinese portraits showed a
formal full-length frontal view, and were used in the family in ancestor veneration. Imperial portraits
were more flexible, but were generally not seen outside the court, and portraiture formed no part of
Imperial propaganda, as in other cultures.
Many critics consider landscape to be the highest form of Chinese painting. The time from the Five
Dynasties period to the Northern Song period (9071127) is known as the "Great age of Chinese
landscape". In the north, artists such as Jing Hao, Li Cheng, Fan Kuan, and Guo Xi painted pictures
of towering mountains, using strong black lines, ink wash, and sharp, dotted brushstrokes to suggest
rough rocks. In the south, Dong Yuan, Juran, and other artists painted the rolling hills and rivers of
their native countryside in peaceful scenes done with softer, rubbed brushwork. These two kinds of
scenes and techniques became the classical styles of Chinese landscape painting.

Traditional Chinese portrait Hanging scroll portrait on silk

Pink and White Lotus, 14th centurybird-and-flower painting

Chen Cheng-po, 1933, canvas oil painting, Collection of Taiwan Museum of Fine Art

Wood, Bamboo, and Elegant Stone, Ni Zan, 1360s-1370s, Palace Museum


Tang Dynasty (618907) pottery horse and rider

Chinese ritual bronzes from the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties come from a period of over a
thousand years from c. 1500, and have exerted a continuing influence over Chinese art. They are
cast with complex patterned and zoomorphic decoration, but avoid the human figure, unlike the huge
figures only recently discovered at Sanxingdui.[5] The spectacular Terracotta Army was assembled for
the tomb ofQin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China from 221210 BC, as a grand
imperial version of the figures long placed in tombs to enable the deceased to enjoy the same
lifestyle in the afterlife as when alive, replacing actual sacrifices of very early periods. Smaller figures
in pottery or wood were placed in tombs for many centuries afterwards, reaching a peak of quality in
the Tang Dynasty.[6]
Native Chinese religions do not usually use cult images of deities, or even represent them, and large
religious sculpture is nearly all Buddhist, dating mostly from the 4th to the 14th century, and initially
using Greco-Buddhist models arriving via the Silk Road. Buddhism is also the context of all large
portrait sculpture; in total contrast to some other areas in medieval China even painted images of the
emperor were regarded as private. Imperial tombs have spectacular avenues of approach lined with
real and mythological animals on a scale matching Egypt, and smaller versions decorate temples
and palaces.[7] Small Buddhist figures and groups were produced to a very high quality in a range of
media,[8] as was relief decoration of all sorts of objects, especially in metalwork and jade.[9] Sculptors
of all sorts were regarded as artisans and very few names are recorded. [10]

Pottery tomb figure of dancing girl, Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD)

Northern Wei Dynasty Maitreya (386534)

Tang Dynasty (618907) pottery tomb guardian

Seated Buddha, Tang Dynasty ca. 650.

The Leshan Giant Buddha, Tang Dynasty, completed in 803.

Portrait of monk, Song Dynasty, 11th century

A wooden Bodhisattva from the Song Dynasty (9601279)

Chinese jade Cup with Dragon Handles, 12th century

Main article: Chinese ceramics
Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development since the pre-dynastic periods, and is one
of the most significant forms of Chinese art. China is richly endowed with the raw materials needed
for making ceramics. The first types of ceramics were made during the Palaeolithic era, and in later
periods range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired
in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court. Most
later Chinese ceramics, even of the finest quality, were made on an industrial scale, thus very few
individual potters or painters are known. Many of the most renowned workshops were owned by or
reserved for the Emperor, and large quantities of ceramics were exported as diplomatic gifts or for
trade from an early date.

Wine jar, Western Zhou Dynasty (1050 BC-771 BC)

Dish with underglazed blue and overglazed red design of clouds and dragons, Jingdezhen
ware, Yongzhengreign 1723-1735, Qing, Shanghai Museum

Sancai glazed ceramic horse, Tang Dynasty of China, 7th-8th Century,Muse Guimet

Chinese jar, Ming dynasty, Jiajingperiod (1521-1567), porcelain, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Blue underglaze statue of a man with his pipe, from Jingdezhen, Ming Dynasty (13681644)

Decorative arts[edit]
As well as porcelain, a wide range of materials that were more valuable were worked and decorated
with great skill for a range of uses or just for display.[9] Chinese jade was attributed with magical
powers, and was used in the Stone and Bronze Ages for large and impractical versions of everyday
weapons and tools, as well as the bi disks and congvessels.[11] Later a range of objects and small
sculptures were carved in jade, a difficult and time-consuming technique. Bronze, gold and
silver, rhinoceros horn, Chinese silk, ivory, lacquer, cloisonne enamel and many other materials had
specialist artists working in them.

Armorial screen, Qing Dynasty 1720-1730,from Peabody Essex Museum

Six panels with birds, figures, and characters in the form of a screen, fromPeabody Essex Museum

Folding screen(Chinese: ; pinyin: pngfng) is also a form of decorative art in China. And the
folding screen itself was often decorated with beautiful art, major themes included mythology, scenes
of palace life, and nature.There are different kinds of materials in making folding screens, such as
wood panel, paper and silk. Folding screens were considered ideal ornaments for many painters to
display their paintings and calligraphy on.[12][13] Many artists painted on paper or silk and applied it
onto the folding screen.[12] There were two distinct artistic folding screens mentioned in historical
literature of the era.

Historical development to 221 BC[edit]

Neolithic pottery[edit]
Main article: Yangshao culture
Early forms of art in China are found in the Neolithic Yangshao culture, which dates back to the 6th
millennium BC. Archeological findings such as those at the Banpo have revealed that the Yangshao
made pottery; early ceramics were unpainted and most often cord-marked. The first decorations
were fish and human faces, but these eventually evolved into symmetrical-geometric abstract
designs, some painted.
The most distinctive feature of Yangshao culture was the extensive use of painted pottery, especially
human facial, animal, and geometric designs. Unlike the later Longshan culture, the Yangshao
culture did not use pottery wheels in pottery making. Excavations have found that children were
buried in painted pottery jars.

Jade culture[edit]
Main article: Liangzhu culture
The Liangzhu culture was the last Neolithic Jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta and was spaced
over a period of about 1,300 years. The Jade from this culture is characterized by finely worked,
large ritual jades such as Cong cylinders, Bi discs, Yue axes and also pendants and decorations in
the form of chiseled open-work plaques, plates and representations of small birds, turtles and fish.
The Liangzhu Jade has a white, milky bone-like aspect due to its Tremolite rock origin and influence
of water-based fluids at the burial sites.

Bronze casting[edit]

Shang Dynasty bronze ritual ding

Main article: Chinese ritual bronzes

The Bronze Age in China began with the Xia Dynasty. Examples from this period have been
recovered from ruins of the Erlitou culture, in Shanxi, and include complex but unadorned utilitarian
objects. In the following Shang Dynasty more elaborate objects, including many ritual vessels, were
crafted. The Shang are remembered for their bronze casting, noted for its clarity of detail. Shang
bronzesmiths usually worked in foundries outside the cities to make ritual vessels, and sometimes
weapons and chariot fittings as well. The bronze vessels were receptacles for storing or serving
various solids and liquids used in the performance of sacred ceremonies. Some forms such as
theku and jue can be very graceful, but the most powerful pieces are the ding, sometimes described
as having the an "air of ferocious majesty."
It is typical of the developed Shang style that all available space is decorated, most often with
stylized forms of real and imaginary animals. The most common motif is the taotie, which shows a
mythological being presented frontally as though squashed onto a horizontal plane to form a
symmetrical design. The early significance of taotie is not clear, but myths about it existed around
the late Zhou Dynasty. It was considered to be variously a covetous man banished to guard a corner
of heaven against evil monsters; or a monster equipped with only a head which tries to devour men
but hurts only itself.
The function and appearance of bronzes changed gradually from the Shang to the Zhou. They
shifted from been used in religious rites to more practical purposes. By theWarring States period,
bronze vessels had become objects of aesthetic enjoyment. Some were decorated with social
scenes, such as from a banquet or hunt; whilst others displayed abstract patterns inlaid with gold,
silver, or precious and semiprecious stones.
Shang bronzes became appreciated as works of art from the Song Dynasty, when they were
collected and prized not only for their shape and design but also for the various green, blue green,
and even reddish patinas created by chemical action as they lay buried in the ground. The study of
early Chinese bronze casting is a specialized field of art history.

Black eggshell pottery of the Longshan culture (c. 30002000 BC)

A Zhou Dynasty bronze musical bell

Chu and Southern culture[edit]

A rich source of art in early China was the state of Chu, which developed in the Yangtze River valley.
Excavations of Chu tombs have found painted wooden sculptures, jade disks, glass beads, musical
instruments, and an assortment of lacquerware. Many of the lacquer objects are finely painted, red
on black or black on red. A site in Changsha, Hunan province, has revealed some of the oldest
paintings on silk discovered to date.

Early Imperial China (221 BCAD 220)[edit]

Qin sculpture[edit]

Crossbow men from theTerracotta Army, interred by 210 BC, Qin Dynasty

The Terracotta Army, inside the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, consists of more than 7,000
life-size tomb terra-cotta figures of warriors and horses buried with the self-proclaimed
first Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang) in 210209 BC. The figures were painted before being placed
into the vault. The original colors were visible when the pieces were first unearthed. However,
exposure to air caused the pigments to fade, so today the unearthed figures appear terracotta in
color. The figures are in several poses including standing infantry and kneeling archers, as well as
charioteers with horses. Each figure's head appears to be unique, showing a variety of facial
features and expressions as well as hair styles.

Porcelain is made from a hard paste made of the clay kaolin and a feldspar called petuntse, which
cements the vessel and seals any pores.China has become synonymous with high-quality porcelain.
Most china pots comes from the city of Jingdezhen in China's Jiangxi province. Jingdezhen, under a
variety of names, has been central to porcelain production in China since at least the early Han
The most noticeable difference between porcelain and the other pottery clays is that it "wets" very
quickly (that is, added water has a noticeably greater effect on the plasticity for porcelain than other
clays), and that it tends to continue to "move" longer than other clays, requiring experience in
handling to attain optimum results. During medieval times in Europe, porcelain was very expensive
and in high demand for its beauty. TLV mirrors also date from the Han dynasty.

Han art[edit]
The Han Dynasty was known for jade burial suits. One of the earliest known depictions of a
landscape in Chinese art comes from a pair of hollow-tile door panels from a Western Han Dynasty
tomb near Zhengzhou, dated 60 BC.[14] A scene of continuous depth recession is conveyed by the
zigzag of lines representing roads and garden walls, giving the impression that one is looking down
from the top of a hill.[14] This artistic landscape scene was made by the repeated impression of
standard stamps on the clay while it was still soft and not yet fired. [14] However, the oldest known
landscape art scene tradition in the classical sense of painting is a work by Zhan Ziqian of the Sui
Dynasty (581618).

A gilt bronze lamp with a shutter, in the shape of a maidservant, from theWestern Han Dynasty, 2nd
century BC

Two gentlemen engrossed in conversation while two others look on, a painting on a ceramic tile from a
tomb near Luoyang, Henan province, dated to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25220 AD)

Period of division (220581)[edit]

Part of the scroll for Admonitions of the Instructress to the Palace Ladies, probably a Tang Dynasty copy of the
original by Gu Kaizhi

Influence of Buddhism[edit]
Main article: Buddhist art
Buddhism arrived in China around the 1st century AD (although there are some traditions about a
monk visiting China duringAsoka's reign), and through to the 8th century it became very active and
creative in the development of Buddhist art, particularly in the area of statuary. Receiving this distant
religion, China soon incorporated strong Chinese traits in its artistic expression.
In the fifth to sixth century the Northern Dynasties, rather removed from the original sources of
inspiration, tended to develop rather symbolic and abstract modes of representation, with schematic
lines. Their style is also said to be solemn and majestic. The lack of corporeality of this art, and its
distance from the original Buddhist objective of expressing the pure ideal of enlightenment in an
accessible, realistic manner, progressively led to a research towards more naturalism and realism,
leading to the expression of Tang Buddhist art.

In ancient China, painting and calligraphy were the most highly appreciated arts in court circles and
were produced almost exclusively by amateurs, aristocrats and scholar-officials who alone had the
leisure to perfect the technique and sensibility necessary for great brushwork. Calligraphy was
thought to be the highest and purest form of painting. The implements were the brush pen, made of
animal hair, and black inks, made from pine soot and animal glue. Writing as well as painting was
done on silk. But after the invention of paper in the 1st century, silk was gradually replaced by the
new and cheaper material. Original writings by famous calligraphers have been greatly valued
throughout China's history and are mounted on scrolls and hung on walls in the same way that
paintings are.
Wang Xizhi was a famous Chinese calligrapher who lived in the 4th century AD. His most famous
work is the Lanting Xu, the preface of a collection of poems written by a number of poets when

gathering at Lan Ting near the town of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province and engaging in a game called
"qu shui liu shang".
Wei Shuo was a well-known calligrapher of Eastern Jin Dynasty who established consequential rules
about the Regular Script. Her well-known works include Famous Concubine Inscription ( Ming
Ji Tie) and The Inscription of Wei-shi He'nan ( Wei-shi He'nan Tie).

Gu Kaizhi is a celebrated painter of ancient China born in Wuxi. He wrote three books about painting
theory: On Painting (), Introduction of Famous Paintings of Wei and Jin Dynasties (
) and Painting Yuntai Mountain (). He wrote, "In figure paintings the clothes and the
appearances were not very important. The eyes were the spirit and the decisive factor."
Three of Gu's paintings still survive today. They are "Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court
Ladies", "Nymph of the Luo River" (), and "Wise and Benevolent Women".
There are other examples of Jin Dynasty painting from tombs. This includes the Seven Sages of the
Bamboo Grove, painted on a brick wall of a tomb located near modern Nanjing and now found in the
Shaanxi Provincial Museum. Each of the figures are labeled and shown either drinking, writing, or
playing a musical instrument. Other tomb paintings also depict scenes of daily life, such as men
plowing fields with teams of oxen.

Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, anEastern Jin tomb painting from Nanjing, now located in
theShaanxi Provincial Museum.

Northern Wei wall muralsand painted figurines from the Yungang Grottoes, dated 5th to 6th centuries.

A scene of two horseback riders from a wall painting in the tomb of Lou Rui at Taiyuan, Shanxi, Northern
QiDynasty (550577)

The Sui and Tang dynasties (581960)[edit]

Main article: Tang Dynasty art

Strolling About in Spring, by Zhan Ziqian, artist of the Sui Dynasty (581618).

A Chinese Tang Dynasty tri-color glazed porcelain horse (ca. 700 AD), using yellow, green and white colors.

Buddhist architecture and sculpture[edit]

Following a transition under the Sui Dynasty, Buddhist sculpture of the Tang evolved towards a
markedly lifelike expression. As a consequence of the Dynasty's openness to foreign trade and
influences through the Silk Road, Tang dynasty Buddhist sculpture assumed a rather classical form,
inspired by the Greco-Buddhist art of Central Asia.
However, foreign influences came to be negatively perceived towards the end of the Tang dynasty. In
the year 845, the Tang emperor Wu-Tsung outlawed all "foreign" religions (including
Christian Nestorianism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism) in order to support the indigenous Taoism.
He confiscated Buddhist possessions and forced the faith to go underground, therefore affecting the
ulterior development of the religion and its arts in China.
Most wooden Tang sculptures have not survived, though representations of the Tang international
style can still be seen in Nara, Japan. The longevity of stone sculpture has proved much greater.
Some of the finest examples can be seen at Longmen, near Luoyang,Yungang near Datong,
and Bingling Temple, in Gansu.
One of the most famous Buddhist Chinese pagodas is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, built in 652

A Man Herding Horses, by Han Gan (706783 AD), Tang Dynasty original.

Tang Dynasty painting from Dunhuang.


Painting by Dong Yuan (c. 934962).

Beginning in the Tang dynasty (618907), the primary subject matter of painting was the landscape,
known as shanshui (mountain water) painting. In these landscapes, usually monochromatic and
sparse, the purpose was not to reproduce exactly the appearance of nature but rather to grasp an
emotion or atmosphere so as to catch the "rhythm" of nature.
Painting in the traditional style involved essentially the same techniques as calligraphy and was
done with a brush dipped in black or colored ink; oils were not used. As with calligraphy, the most
popular materials on which paintings were made were paper and silk. The finished works were then

mounted on scrolls, which could be hung or rolled up. Traditional painting was also done in albums,
on walls, lacquer work, and in other media.
Dong Yuan was an active painter in the Southern Tang Kingdom. He was known for both figure and
landscape paintings, and exemplified the elegant style which would become the standard for brush
painting in China over the next 900 years. As with many artists in China, his profession was as an
official where he studied the existing styles of Li Sixun and Wang Wei. However, he added to the
number of techniques, including more sophisticated perspective, use of pointillism and crosshatching
to build up vivid effect.
Zhan Ziqian was a painter during the Sui Dynasty. His only painting in existence is Strolling About In
Spring arranged mountains perspectively. Because the first pure scenery paintings of Europe
emerged after the 17th century, Strolling About In Spring may well be the first scenery painting of the

The Song and Yuan dynasties (9601368)[edit]

Main article: Culture of the Song Dynasty

A wooden Bodhisattva from theSong Dynasty (9601279 AD)

The Sakyamuni Buddha, by Zhang Shengwen, 11731176 AD, Song Dynasty period.

Song painting[edit]
During the Song dynasty (9601279), landscapes of more subtle expression appeared;
immeasurable distances were conveyed through the use of blurred outlines, mountain contours
disappearing into the mist, and impressionistic treatment of natural phenomena. Emphasis was
placed on the spiritual qualities of the painting and on the ability of the artist to reveal the inner
harmony of man and nature, as perceived according to Taoist and Buddhist concepts.
Liang Kai was a Chinese painter who lived in the 13th century (Song Dynasty). He called himself
"Madman Liang," and he spent his life drinking and painting. Eventually, he retired and became
a Zen monk. Liang is credited with inventing the Zen school of Chinese art. Wen Tong was a painter

who lived in the 11th century. He was famous for ink paintings of bamboo. He could hold two
brushes in one hand and paint two different distanced bamboos simultaneously. He did not need to
see the bamboo while he painted them because he had seen a lot of them.
Zhang Zeduan was a notable painter for his horizontal Along the River During Qingming
Festival landscape and cityscape painting. It has been quoted as "China's Mona Lisa" and has had
many well-known remakes throughout Chinese history.[15] Other famous paintings include The Night
Revels of Han Xizai, originally painted by the Southern Tang artist Gu Hongzhong in the 10th
century, while the well-known version of his painting is a 12th-century remake of the Song Dynasty.
This is a large horizontal handscroll of a domestic scene showing men of the gentry class being
entertained by musicians and dancers while enjoying food, beverage, and wash basins provided by
maidservants. In 2000, the modern artist Wang Qingsong created a parody of this painting with a
long, horizontal photograph of people in modern clothing making similar facial expressions, poses,
and hand gestures as the original painting.

Song Dynasty ding-wareporcelain bottle with iron pigment under a transparent colorless glaze, 11th

Playing Children, by Song artist Su Hanchen, c. 1150 AD.

Yuan painting[edit]
With the fall of the Song dynasty in 1279, and the subsequent dislocation caused by the
establishment of the Yuan dynasty by the Mongol conquerors, many court and literary artists
retreated from social life, and returned to nature, through landscape paintings, and by renewing the
"blue and green" style of the Tang era.[16]
Wang Meng was one such painter, and one of his most famous works is the Forest Grotto. Zhao
Mengfu was a Chinese scholar, painter and calligrapher during the Yuan Dynasty. His rejection of
the refined, gentle brushwork of his era in favor of the cruder style of the 8th century is considered to
have brought about a revolution that created the modern Chinese landscape painting. There was
also the vivid and detailed works of art by Qian Xuan (12351305), who had served the Song court,
and out of patriotism refused to serve the Mongols, instead turning to painting. He was also famous
for reviving and reproducing a more Tang Dynasty style of painting.

The later Yuan dynasty is characterized by the work of the so-called "Four Great Masters". The most
notable of these was Huang Gongwang (12691354) whose cool and restrained landscapes were
admired by contemporaries, and by the Chinese literati painters of later centuries. Another of great
influence was Ni Zan (13011374), who frequently arranged his compositions with a strong and
distinct foreground and background, but left the middle-ground as an empty expanse. This scheme
was frequently to be adopted by later Ming and Qing dynasty painters.[16]

Late imperial China (13681911)[edit]

A glazed stoneware statue of a Judge of Hell, Ming Dynasty (16th century)

Ming painting[edit]
Main article: Ming Dynasty painting

Peach Festival of the Queen Mother of the West, early 17th century, Ming Dynasty.

Chinese painting from 1664 by the Qing Dynasty painter, Kun Can

Under the Ming dynasty, Chinese culture bloomed. Narrative painting, with a wider color range and a
much busier composition than the Song paintings, was immensely popular during the time.
Wen Zhengming (14701559) developed the style of the Wu school in Suzhou, which dominated
Chinese painting during the 16th century.[17]
European culture began to make an impact on Chinese art during this period. The Jesuit
priest Matteo Ricci visited Nanjing with many Western artworks, which were influential in showing
different techniques of perspective and shading.[18]

Early Qing painting[edit]

The Yongzheng EmperorEnjoying Himself During the 8th Lunar Month, by anonymous court artists, 17231735
AD, Palace Museum, Beijing, showing the use of linear perspective.

The early Qing dynasty developed in two main strands: the Orthodox school, and the Individualist
painters, both of which followed the theories of Dong Qichang, but emphasizing very different
The "Four Wangs", including Wang Jian (15981677) and Wang Shimin (15921680), were
particularly renowned in the Orthodox school, and sought inspiration in recreating the past styles,
especially the technical skills in brushstrokes and calligraphy of ancient masters. The younger Wang
Yuanqi (16421715) ritualized the approach of engaging with and drawing inspiration from a work of
an ancient master. His own works were often annotated with his theories of how his painting relates
to the master's model.[20]
The Individualist painters included Bada Shanren (16261705) and Shitao (16411707). They drew
more from the revolutionary ideas of transcending the tradition to achieve an original individualistic
styles; in this way they were more faithfully following the way of Dong Qichang than the Orthodox
school (who were his official direct followers.)[21]
As the techniques of color printing were perfected, illustrated manuals on the art of painting began to
be published. Jieziyuan Huazhuan(Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden), a five-volume work first
published in 1679, has been in use as a technical textbook for artists and students ever since.

Late Qing Art[edit]

Nianhua were a form of colored woodblock prints in China, depicting images for decoration during
the Chinese New Year. In the 19th century Nianhua were used as news mediums.

Shanghai School[edit]
The Shanghai School is a very important Chinese school of traditional arts during the Qing
Dynasty and the 20th century. Under efforts of masters from this school, traditional Chinese art
reached another climax and continued to the present in forms of "Chinese painting" (),
or guohua () for short. The Shanghai School challenged and broke the literati tradition of
Chinese art, while also paying technical homage to the ancient masters and improving on existing
traditional techniques. Members of this school were themselves educated literati who had come to
question their very status and the purpose of art, and had anticipated the impending modernization
of Chinese society. In an era of rapid social change, works from the Shanghai School were widely
innovative and diverse, and often contained thoughtful yet subtle social commentary. The best
known figures from this school are Ren Xiong, Ren Bonian, Zhao Zhiqian, Wu Changshuo, Sha
Menghai, Pan Tianshou, Fu Baoshi, He Tianjian, and Xie Zhiliu. Other well-known painters
include Wang Zhen, XuGu, Zhang Xiong, Hu Yuan, and Yang Borun.

New China art (19121949)[edit]

Sanmao, one of the most well-known comic book characters in China


With the end of the last dynasty in China, the New Culture Movement began and defied all facets of
traditionalism. A new breed of 20th century cultural philosophers like Xiao Youmei, Cai
Yuanpei, Feng Zikai and Wang Guangqi wanted Chinese culture to modernize and reflect the New
China. The Chinese Civil War would cause a drastic split between the Kuomintang and
the Communist Party of China. Following was the Second Sino-Japanese War in particular the Battle
of Shanghai would leave the major cultural art center borderline to a humanitarian crisis.

Ong Schan Tchow (Chinese: ) (19001945), artist and friend of Cai Yuanpei accomplished the
subtle integration of Western art techniques and perspectives into traditional Chinese painting. Ong
was one of the first few batches of Chinese scholars and artists who studied in France in the early
20th Century.
Western style oil painting was introduced to China by painters such as Xiao Tao Sheng. Another
important influential artist in the 1940s wasTai Ping Meijing who incorporated nature in all his art and
mixed traditional Asian art with realism.

Communist and socialist art (1950-1980s)[edit]

Selective art decline[edit]
The Communist Party of China would have full control of the government with Mao Zedong heading
the People's Republic of China. If the art was presented in a manner that favored the government,
the artists were heavily promoted. Vice versa, any clash with communist party beliefs would force the
artists to become farmers via "re-education" processes under the regime. The peak era of
governmental control came under the Cultural Revolution. The most notable event was
the Destruction of the Four Olds, which had major consequences for pottery, paintings, literary art,
architecture and countless others.[citation needed]

Artists were encouraged to employ socialist realism. Some Soviet Union socialist realism was
imported without modification, and painters were assigned subjects and expected to mass-produce
paintings. This regimen was considerably relaxed in 1953, and after the Hundred Flowers
Campaign of 195657, traditional Chinese painting experienced a significant revival. Along with
these developments in professional art circles, there was a proliferation of peasant art depicting
everyday life in the rural areas on wall murals and in open-air painting exhibitions. Notable modern
Chinese painters include Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Chang Ta Chien, Pan
Tianshou, Wu Changshi,Fu Baoshi, Wang Kangle and Zhang Chongren.

Redevelopment (Mid-1980s 1990s)[edit]

Contemporary Art[edit]
Contemporary Chinese art (, Zhongguo Dangdai Yishu) often referred to as Chinese
avant-garde art, continued to develop since the 1980s as an outgrowth of modern art developments
post-Cultural Revolution.

Han Yajuan: Fashion Ensemble. Oil on Canvas, 2010 (180 cm x 360 cm).

Contemporary Chinese art fully incorporates painting, film, video, photography, and performance.
Until recently, art exhibitions deemed controversial have been routinely shut down by police, and
performance artists in particular faced the threat of arrest in the early 1990s. More recently there has
been greater tolerance by the Chinese government, though many internationally acclaimed artists
are still restricted from media exposure at home or have exhibitions ordered closed. Leading
contemporary visual artists include Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, Chan Shengyao, Fang Lijun,Fu
Wenjun, Huang Yan, Huang Yong Ping, Han Yajuan, Kong Bai Ji, Li Hongbo, Li Hui, Liu Bolin, Lu
Shengzhong, Ma Liuming, Qiu Shihua, Shen Shaomin, Shi Jinsong, Song Dong, Li Wei, Christine
Wang, Wang Guangyi, Wenda Gu, Xu Bing, Yang Zhichao, Zhan Wang, Zheng Lianjie, Zhang
Dali, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Huan, Zhou Chunya, Zhu Yu,Ma Kelu, Ding Fang, Shang
Yang and Guo Jian.

Visual art[edit]
Beginning in the late 1980s there was unprecedented exposure for younger Chinese visual artists in
the west to some degree through the agency of curators based outside the country such as Hou
Hanru. Local curators within the country such as Gao Minglu and critics such as Li Xianting ()
reinforced this promotion of particular brands of painting that had recently emerged, while also
spreading the idea of art as a strong social force within Chinese culture. There was some
controversy as critics identified these imprecise representations of contemporary Chinese art as
having been constructed out of personal preferences, a kind of programmatized artist-curator
relationship that only further alienated the majority of the avant-garde from Chinese officialdom and
western art market patronage.

Art market[edit]

All The Mountains Blanketed in Red

Today, the market for Chinese art, both antique and contemporary, is widely reported to be among
the hottest and fastest-growing in the world, attracting buyers all over the world. [22][23][24] The Voice of
America reported in 2006 that modern Chinese art is raking in record prices both internationally and
in domestic markets, some experts even fearing the market might be overheating. [25] The
Economist reported that Chinese art has become the latest darling in the world market according to
the record sales from Sotheby's and Christie's, the biggest fine-art auction houses.
The International Herald Tribune reported that Chinese porcelains were fought over in the art
market as "if there was no tomorrow".[27] Contemporary Chinese art also saw record sales throughout
the 2000s. In 2007, it was estimated that 5 of the world's 10 best selling living artists at art auction
were from China, with artists such as Zhang Xiaogang whose works were sold for a total of $56.8
million at auction in 2007.[28] In terms of buying-market, China overtook France in the late 2000s as
the world's third-largest art market, after the United States and the United Kingdom, due to the
growing middle-class in the country.[29][30] Sotheby's noted that contemporary Chinese art has rapidly
changed the contemporary Asian art world into one of the most dynamic sectors on the international
art market.[31] During the global economic crisis, the contemporary Asian art market and the
contemporary Chinese art market experienced a slow down in late 2008. [32][33]The market for
Contemporary Chinese and Asian art saw a major revival in late 2009 with record level sales at
Christie's.[34] For centuries largely made-up of European and American buyers, the international
buying market for Chinese art has also began to be dominated by Chinese dealers and collectors in
recent years.[35] It was reported in 2011, China has become the world's second biggest market for art
and antiques, accounting for 23 percent of the world's total art market, behind the United States
(which accounts for 34 percent of the world's art market).[36]
One of the areas that has revived art concentration and also commercialized the industry is the 798
Art District in Dashanzi of Beijing. The artist Zhang Xiaogang sold a 1993 painting for US$2.3 million
in 2006, which included blank faced Chinese families from the Cultural Revolution era, [37] while Yue
Minjun's work Execution in 2007 was sold for a then record of nearly $6 million at Sotheby's.
Collectors including Stanley Ho, the owner of theMacau Casinos, investment
manager Christopher Tsai, and casino developer Stephen Wynn, would capitalize on the art trends.
Items such as Ming Dynasty vases and assorted Imperial pieces were auctioned off.

Other art works produced in China or Hong Kong were sold in places such as Christie's including a
Chinese porcelain piece with the mark of Emperor Qianlong sold for HKD $$151.3 million. A 1964
painting "All the Mountains Blanketed in Red" was sold for HKD $35 million. Auctions were also held
at Sotheby's where Xu Beihong's 1939 masterpiece"Put Down Your Whip" sold for HKD $72 million.
The industry is not limited to fine arts, as many other types of contemporary pieces were also sold.
In 2000, a number of Chinese artists were included in Documenta and the Venice Biennale of 2003.
China now has its own major contemporary art showcase with the Venice Biennale. Fuck Off was a
notorious art exhibition which ran alongside the Shanghai Biennial Festival in 2000 and was curated
by independent curator Feng Boyi and contemporary artist Ai Weiwei.


Dance has been a crucial part of Korean culture for the past five thousand years,
beginning in shamanistic rituals and molding into court, folk, ritual, and modern dance.
Salpuri is a Korean folk dance that was originally used in Korean shamanism after
performing an exorcism. During the exorcism, the shaman removes the sal, meaning a
curse, evil spell, or negative energy from the person by absorbing it into herself. Therefore,
in order to banish the sal from her own psyche, she performs the Salpuri dance.
Additionally, it is used to express beauty and sadness in both relationships and separations
by bringing peace to the spirits of the dead and leading them to heaven, particularly in the
case of widows coming to peace with the death of their husband. Kisaeng, or professional
entertainers, developed the form and style of present day Salpuri during the Joseon
Dynasty (1392-1897), and nowadays it is most frequently performed as an artistic dance
because it is considered one of Koreas most creative traditional dances.
Salpuri is always performed as a solo, usually by the most senior dancer in the group, and
she wears a white hanbok dress, beo-seon socks, and carries a long white handkerchief. The
dance has elements of jung-joong-dong, a serenely active yet silent thought process.
Therefore, Salpuri movement is based on pauses symbolizing thought that lead to actions,
which are shown by snapping the arm and hand that hold the handkerchief. However, the
dance is supposed to express introvertedness through the physical movements. In other
words, since the motions are rooted within the dancers inner being, her outer physical
mobility is limited. Furthermore, the controlled dance reflects her strong human will because
she is inspired by surges of strong emotions, which she is able to contain.

Traditionally, Korean music has three parts; it begins slow, rapidly increases in tempo, and
then slows again at the end. Similarly, Salpuri contains three stages beginning with
orunum hyong, meaning the controlled relaxation of tension, and ending with poo-num
hyong, meaning the release of emotion to completely resolve tension. In the background,
accompanying the dancer are musicians playing instruments like a kayagum, a long twelvestringed zither; piri, a bamboo oboe; ajaeng, a long bowed zither; and janggo, an hourglass
In the video below, the unfolding of the handkerchief represents the mind being purified,
and is also when her dancing accelerates (2:14). Significantly, the three stages are
supposed to represent a circular rather than linear structure, symbolizing Koreans
awareness of life and death as well as the annual cycle of the seasons. Therefore, at the end
when the dancer returns to the same location as she was in the beginning, it is a visual
representation of the circular structure. However, emotionally the dancer is in a different
place because her mind is refreshed after ridding the sal or coming to peace over the
death of a loved one.
I am interested in Salpuri because I am a South Korean adoptee and, unfortunately, I know
very little about the culture. From my research, it appears that it began as an important
shamanistic dance and turned into a treasured modern dance, however, I have never seen it
in person. Therefore, I hope to study it and, perhaps, another Korean dance for the second
application project, and then attend a live performance.