THE ART OF CHINA. Lecture 4: Introduction to Chinese Culture Art of the Ancient Period ( BCE)

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1 THE ART OF CHINA Lecture 4: Introduction to Chinese Culture Art of the Ancient Period ( BCE)

2 CHINA: AN ANCIENT EMPIRE IN A MODERN WORLD

3 CHRONOLOGY OF CHINESE HISTORY Neolithic Period: BCE Ancient Period: BCE Xia, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties Imperial Period: 221 BCE-1911 CE Qin, Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties Modern Period: Present China Celebrates: Top: Imperial era costume. Bottome: 60 years of the PRC

4 CHINA: ANCIENT HISTORY, MODERN SPLENDOR Left: Watchtower from Beijing s Forbidden City. Right: CCTV building, Beijing.

5

6 CHINESE WORLDVIEW: THE ANCESTORS, LI, DAO, QI Ancestor veneration: the earliest religion Belief that the deceased have an afterlife in which they have access to the gods. The living must respect the ancestors and give offerings. You can take it with you seen in early tombs. Offerings still given in modern times. Top: Tomb of Lady Fu Hao. Bottom: Ghost Money

7 CHINESE WORLDVIEW: THE ANCESTORS, LI, DAO, QI Li: Concept of perfect harmony and universal order taught by Master Kong (Confucius ca BCE). Order maintained by selfdiscipline, morality, and paying respect to the ancestors. Respect for age and authority. Confucian ideals governed one s public life.

8 CHINESE WORLDVIEW: THE ANCESTORS, LI, DAO, QI Dao: a spiritual understanding of the world that seeks an intuitive balance with nature. Nature has two vital forces: yin (female) and yang (male) energies. Their interplay gives birth to the manifest world. To experience the dao one must release the ego. Principal that governs the private or spiritual realm.

9 CHINESE WORLDVIEW: THE ANCESTORS, LI, DAO, QI Qi (Chi): in art qi is the character or spirit of a painting. Defined in the Classification Record of Ancient Painters. (See additional reading). 1."Spirit Resonance," or vitality, and seems to translate to the nervous energy transmitted from the artist into the work. The overall energy of a work of art. Xie He said that without Spirit Resonance, there was no need to look further. 2."Bone Method," or the way of using the brush. This refers not only to texture and brush stroke, but to the close link between handwriting and personality. In his day, the art of calligraphy was inseparable from painting. 3. "Correspondence to the Object," or the depicting of form, which would include shape and line. 4. "Suitability to Type," or the application of color, including layers, value and tone. 5."Division and Planning," or placing and arrangement, corresponding to composition, space and depth. 6.Transmission by Copying," or the copying of models, not only from life but also the works of antiquity.

10 CHINESE SCRIPT: COMMUNICATING WITH THE ANCESTORS Ancient and modern Chinese characters are not alphabetic; they are pictograms and ideograms that stand for ideas not sounds. There is only one form of written Chinese although there are many different languages. The longevity of Chinese culture is attributed to this unique form of language. Oracle bones, Shang dynasty

11 Huai-su. Detail of Autobiography. Tang dynasty. 7 th 10 th centuries.

12 Chinese Art of the Ancient Period: Neolithic, Shang Dynasty, and Zhou Dynasty BCE

13 CERAMIC VESSELS Domestication of animals and faming begins ca BCE. Storage and eating vessels needed; ceramic production begins. Clay from the Yellow River in the north. Decorated with abstract and nonrepresentational designs. Basin (pen), Majiayao culture, Majiayao phase, ca B.C. Earthenware with painted decoration.

14 THE DIVINE QUALITIES OF JADE Jade another popular media in China. As valued as gold in the west. Much more difficult to work. Luminous qualitiesknowledge Unyielding nature=morality Does not conceal its flaws=truthfulness Passes from hand to hand=moral leadership Arc shaped pendant on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, ca. 9 th -8 th centuries BCE. There are BEAUTIFUL Jades at the Field also.

15 BI DISK WITH DRAGONS, EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, FOURTH TO THIRD CENTURY BCE. NEPHRITE, 6 1/2 IN DIAMETER.

16 VIDEO ON WORKING JADE

17 BRONZE VESSELS Bronze: alloy of copper and tin. Very strong. Piece mold cast. New shapes and designs found in the Shang including the ding (ceremonial food vessel). Patterns beautiful the vessel and likely has symbolic meaning. Shang Dynasty Ding with Taotie carvings, 10th or 11th Century BCE. Bronze.

18 The Taotie Mask: ogre or glutton face? A god or monster? Perhaps protected people or the food within the vessel from evil spirits.

19 GUANG, SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH OR 11TH CENTURY BCE. BRONZE, 6 1/2 HIGH.

20 Top: Covered wine containers, late Western Zhou, late 9 th century. Met Museum. 21 inches high Right: Bronze Bell, Eastern Zhou Dynasty, early 5 th century. Freer Museum

21 AFTER LECTURE 3A YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO List the 4 major categories of Chinese history and dates as given by Mrs. Dally. Identify the Chinese worldviews and how it is reflected in the arts of the ancient period. Discuss the formal elements of calligraphy, ceramics, bronzes, and jades in the ancient period. Diagram the major features and iconography of a taotie figure and a bi.

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