🔥🔥🔥 East Asian Art Analysis

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East Asian Art Analysis

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Stylistic analysis of Central Javanese art - SOAS University of London

This style is characterised by gigantic carved black stone Shaivite temples and timber dwellings. They are characterised by elements like bas-relief panels, blind openings, colonettes and corbelled arches; and motifs inspired by their Gods. The most famous structure of this style of architecture is the Angkor Wat Temple. This style developed as a result of the Dutch colonialization in Indonesia- calling it the Dutch East Indies.

It was an attempt of fusion of the Dutch architecture with the local architecture. Although heavily influenced by Berlage in the Netherlands, the style showed romanesque inspired arches- classical in character but with less decoration. The walls were whitewashed instead of the dominant brickwork of the style, and roof eaves had a more significant overhang to protect openings. The structures also featured double walls and extensive openings- both essentials of tropical design for insulation and cross ventilation. This style is found mainly in the Spanish colonies in the Philippines. Predominant in regions under British colonization, there is a rich strain of fusion architecture running through Singapore , Malaysia and Myanmar. This style of architecture developed after the decolonization of the south-east Asian territories.

It was influenced by the Soviet and Chinese states around these regions. Contemporary architecture in South East Asian countries has developed with increasing concern for sustainability and is deeply rooted in their indigenous practices. They use earth-friendly material like mud, timber and bamboo with the minimum, but efficient use of concrete and steel. They pay attention to detail and create spaces that are open and airy. The buildings in this time are greatly inspired by the international standards of skyscrapers and have vastly changed the skylines of the above-mentioned cities. This style has recently developed in Singapore in an effort to create a more appropriate climate-sensitive approach towards architecture.

It involves a return to simple rectilinear forms with the incorporation of lush landscaping and efficient natural shading and cooling techniques. Ankita Sharma is an architect by training, and a writer by choice. Her love for books has given her a vivid imagination, and an eye for detail. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Spanish Colonial This style is found mainly in the Spanish colonies in the Philippines. Neoclassical, Baroque and Art Deco Predominant in regions under British colonization, there is a rich strain of fusion architecture running through Singapore , Malaysia and Myanmar.

Brutalist This style of architecture developed after the decolonization of the south-east Asian territories. It was a loose federation of city-states whose bronze weapons enabled them to dominate the valley of the Hoang-ho Yellow River and its tributary, the Wei. In many ways the Shang resembled the Mycenean princes celebrated by Homer. Their bronze vases and vessels - the key achievement of Shang Dynasty art - were made by the method of direct casting as well as by the cire-perdue lost-wax process. They were used by kings and their retainers for ritual and sacrificial ceremonies. The inscriptions they bear give the name of the owner and the maker with the purpose of the ceremony. The vessels were buried with their owners and they acquired a green, blue or red patina according to the nature of the soil.

They fall into three main categories: vessels for cooking or containing ritual food, vessels for heating or pouring millet wine, and vessels for ritual washing. They were utilitarian, functional objects, but this did not prevent them from being superb works of art. Their ritual purpose and magical connotations explain the symbolic nature of the early decoration. Motifs from the animal world were mainly used - the dragon and the cicada life and fertility or the fabulous tao-tieh - which resembles a cross between an ox and a tiger.

Note: From onwards, archeologists made a series of sensational discoveries at the Sanxingdui archaeological site located near Nanxing Township, Guanghan County, Sichuan Province. These finds included numerous monumental examples of bronze sculpture from the era of the Shang Dynasty , which have been carbon-dated to c. They reveal an advanced Sanxingdui culture which, contrary to all previous historical scholarship, appears to have evolved independently of other Yellow River cultures.

Another achievement of the Shang Dynasty was the invention of calligraphy which occurred about BCE. In addition, watercolour painting , which began, so it is said, around BCE, was also fashionable. For comparative artforms of the period, see: Mesopotamian Art c. The state of Shang came to be dominated by the Zhou highlanders from the west who captured the capital, Anyang, in BCE. Zhou Dynasty art borrowed a great deal from the Shang culture and produced the same kind of vessels but with a few differences.

The stylistic evolution was gradual and a marked change appeared only after the Zhou had moved eastwards to a new capital, Luoyang, in BCE. The high relief sculpture of the Shang motifs gave way to low relief and registers. Ornament became increasingly geometric until it was reduced to wing-and-spiral and hook-and-volute patterns. With the tools of the Iron Age it became possible to introduce inlaying of gold and silver. This was the period of the Warring States about BCE , when the Zhou state had disintegrated into contending feudal territories.

Confucius, who died at the beginning of this period, was a high-minded moralist and the unsuccessful adviser, for a time, of one of the Zhou's rulers. He was a travelling teacher, and lectured on political ethics, non-violence and filial piety. His doctrine was collected, much later, in the Analects which became the gospel of the all-powerful class of scholarly civil servants, remaining so till modern times, and which deeply marked the Chinese code of manners. Among the 'Hundred Schools of Philosophy which addressed themselves to the Chinese ruling classes during the period of the Warring States, the most remarkable perhaps was that of the Daoists Taoists.

Daoism is an attitude to life not a system. It implies being in harmony with nature and shuns all dogmas and restrictive moral codes. Its most famous theoreticians were Laozi Lao-tzu , an enigmatic author expressing himself in paradoxical sayings, and Zhuangzi Chuang-tzu about BCE who wrote in parables pervaded with a subtle irony and showing a deep insight into man's motivations. To some people they seem to combine the best in Christianity, Zen Buddhism and Yoga. Daoism was destined to have a profound influence on Chinese painting. He smashed feudalism and replaced the warlords by civil servants or commissars. His advisers belonged to the legalist schools who asserted the authority of the State.

Traditions were to be forgotten and all books destroyed, particularly the writings of Confucius. Qin Dynasty art was unimportant compared to its political and administrative activities. Qin Shihuang gave China a unified administration and a road system; he built canals and extended the frontiers of China. He also commissioned the huge series of terracotta figures, known as The Terracotta Army c.

The 8, statues took about 38 years to make, and involved roughly , master craftsmen and other workers. After the death of Qin Shihuang and a period of civil war, a powerful bandit, Liu Pang, rose to the throne and inaugurated the long-lived Han dynasty, which rehabilitated Confucius but retained Qin Shihuang's administrative reforms and ruled China with the help of a centralised administration. During the era of Han Dynasty art a new, naturalistic outlook prevailed in figurative art. This is particularly evident in bronzes and in the pottery figures called ming-chi which people had buried with them in their graves.

The Chinese believed in an afterlife and they liked to surround themselves with representations of familiar sights, particularly of those things which had given them pleasure on earth, such as dogs and horses, dancers and concubines. These figures enable us to know precisely how the subjects of the Han dynasty were dressed, what they ate, what tools they used, what games they played, the domestic animals they reared and the appearance of the houses in which they lived.

Many of the figures were coated in a lead glaze; others were painted. All are interesting and their stylised elegance is often of arresting beauty. Bronze vases were made in quantity; so were bronze sculptures of men and horses, and these show the same stylised naturalism as the pottery figures. This was also a great age for Chinese lacquerware , jade carving and silk fabrics. Han Painting and Printing. The mulberry tree had been cultivated for some time in China and silk became a Chinese monopoly. It was the chief article of export to Persia and the Near East via the caravan routes through central Asia, known as the "Silk Road".

Han painting and drawing, either on silk, on lacquer or on stone and tile, shows a most lively hand and great lightness of touch. Towards the end of the reign 1st century CE , a technique for making paper was discovered. This contributed significantly to the arts by providing a cheap and widespread medium both for painting and writing. It also led to the Chinese art of paper folding, or zhezhi and also to the Japanese art of Origami. When block printing was later invented the Chinese possessed the means of diffusing laws and literature throughout the Empire.

The languages were many and varied, but the ideographic script was the same all over the country. This made the task of the administrators easier and it provided the Chinese people with a unified culture. In its calligraphic form writing became an art in its own right, the form of art which stood highest in the Chinese intellectual's esteem.

It became a way of life, the preserve of the few, among whom were the painters, poets and scholars, those whose art was founded on calligraphy. After the demise of the Han dynasty in CE, China was to know nearly four centuries of fragmentation, during the Six Dynasties Period This state of chaos was aggravated by invasions from northern and central Asia. The hungry horsemen from the steppes were attracted irresistibly by an agricultural society with big cities.

They adopted the superior Chinese culture, became assimilated and sedentary - a process repeated several times. Among the 6th-century invaders were a Central Asian people called the Tuoba, who founded the Wei dynasty and ruled the northern half of China from to Their most memorable artistic contribution to the arts of the Six Dynasties Period was the official adoption of Buddhism , a religion born in India, which had been infiltrating China for some time.

Note: It arrived during the first-century CE, although it was not widely practised until about CE. Its founder, the living Buddha , dwelt on the border of Nepal shortly before Confucius. Buddhism had spread via Gandhara all along the Silk Road eastwards. Eventually it reached the border of China where the vast sanctuaries of Dunhuang and Yungang revealed wall-paintings and banners and a multitude of statues carved in serried ranks out of the walls of cliff and cave. Being of non-Chinese stock the Wei adopted Buddhism as a way of asserting themselves. It was always considered by the Confucian elite an outlandish, superstitious doctrine. Chinese Buddhist art - including painting, sculpture, and architecture thrived throughout the Eastern Jin Dynasty , the Southern and Northern Dynasties , the Sui Dynasty , and most of the Tang Dynasty Buddhist Sculpture.

Without Chinese Buddhist Sculpture there would be very little Chinese sculpture in stone. The Mahayana and Amitabha schools of Buddhism which prevailed in China required the representation of Buddha in his past, present and future form, and of the Bodhisattvas aspiring Buddhas , and attendants. Following the expansion of Buddhist monasticism, these were to proliferate all over the country either in stone or in bronze.

Wei sculpture , particularly in the Lung Men caves, has a transcendent beauty: idealised, elongated figures, with oblong heads and enigmatic smiles, sitting cross-legged, in long robes cascading down in rhythmical folds, the very image of mystical bliss. The stance, gestures and symbols were stereotypes derived from Indian origins. The Chinese seemed to find in Buddhism an answer to the problem of human suffering, the answer of love and prayer, and hope of Nirvana. Tang Dynasty Art China was reunited in CE by a powerful general, who founded the Sui Dynasty A political and military regime, Sui dynasty art was almost entirely Buddha-inspired and was followed by the Tang dynasty whose greatest leader, Emperor Taizong T'ai-tsung , extended the empire deep into central Asia and Korea and allowed all religions and races to flourish in an atmosphere of tolerance and intellectual curiosity.

The capital, Changan, became a great cosmopolitan centre, as did Guangzhou Canton and other southern ports. Muslims, Christians Nestorians and Manichaeans lived and worshipped side by side with Buddhists, Daoists and Confucianists. Taizong was succeeded by his son and an able but ferocious concubine, Empress Wu, who favoured Buddhism and even fell under the spell of a Rasputin-like monk. Her successor, the Confucianist emperor, Xuanzong Hsuan-tsung , presided over a most brilliant court and founded the Academy of Letters; he loved music, painting and poetry, as well as horses. Tang society was bursting with vitality and optimism. Tang dynamism is felt in all the arts. The sculpture in stone, influenced by the Gupta style from India, displays round, swelling forms, combining Indian fleshiness with Chinese linear rhythm.

The Tang fresco paintings of Dunhuang show a dynamic brush-line and the same fullness of form in garish colours. The secular tomb-paintings are even more lively; they depict powerful men and opulent women in ample robes and theatrical attitudes, displaying a keen enjoyment of life. Little painting on silk or paper has survived - enough to testify to the same love of vivid colour and an interest in landscape painting which was to bear fruit under succeeding dynasties. This was the age when the art of poetry, intimately connected with painting and calligraphy, produced its first masterpieces, including those by Bai Juyi Po-chu-i , Ling-po, and the painter Wang-wei.

As for goldsmithing and precious metalwork, particularly silver, it reveals the influence of Ancient Persian art : a number of Iranian artists, fleeing the Arab conquerors, settled in China, but as with all other foreign influences, the Persian was absorbed and became unmistakably Chinese, in spirit and inform. Some of the finest examples of Tang decorative art are to be seen in the Shoso-in treasure at the Todai-ji temple complex in Nara, Japan. For the Japanese were already looking to China for their inspiration. Developments in Tang Painting. Chinese landscape painting was revitalized at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, when artists began creating landscapes in a sparse monochromatic style - not so much to reproduce the true reality of the scenery but in order to grasp the atmosphere or mood of the location.

Thirteen centuries later, Impressionist painters like Claude Monet would use similar reasoning to create an entirely different type of landscape. In addition, figure drawing staged a comeback. Using vivid colours and elaborate detail, artists such as Zhou Fang portrayed the splendor of Tang court life in paintings of the Emperor, his palace ladies, and horses.

In contrast to Zhou Fang's rich colourful style, the Tang artist Wu Daozi used only black ink and free-flowing brushstrokes to produce such exciting ink paintings that crowds gathered to watch him paint. Henceforth, so it is said, ink paintings were no longer thought to be merely drawings to be filled in with colour; instead they were valued as finished works of art. Tang Pottery and Porcelain. Contemporary pottery, and particularly the tomb figures ming-chi provides us with a vivid insight into Tang society: the horses, of which the Tang were so fond, the camels, the musicians, jugglers, itinerant merchants, many with strongly emphasised foreign features, the dancing-girls, the dignitaries and generals, the tomb-guardians and earth-spirits; all these witnesses to the period are brightly coloured in rich, polychrome, freely-flowing glazes - a recent Chinese invention made with the oxides of copper, iron and cobalt, as were the vases and other vessels in stoneware or earthenware.

These are round, beautifully made and always superbly balanced. By then the Chinese had rediscovered and brought to perfection another of their inventions, the art of making porcelain, a hard translucent ware fused at high temperatures with the aid of 'Chinese stone' petuntse and feldspar. White porcelain of the finest quality was made during the era of Tang Dynasty art and it soon found its way to Japan, Persia and the Near East. China never opened her frontiers so widely to foreign trade and to foreign ideas as during the Tang period, when the merchant navy was flourishing and when Chinese armies penetrated into western Turkestan. Along the Silk Road a string of Chinese-influenced oasis-kingdoms assured a two-way traffic in objects and in ideas between East and West.

China sold its porcelain, its silk rolls and garments and in return it imported Persian cobalt, metallurgical techniques and stylistic ideas. All this ceased in CE when the Chinese army suffered a crushing defeat at Tallas in Turkestan by the hands of the Muslim invaders, who had conquered Persia and were overrunning central Asia. One link remained with the outer world: the ports of southern China with their large colonies of foreign merchants; but these were wiped out by a wave of nationalism at the end of the dynasty and China inaugurated a policy of isolation which still continued. Song Dynasty Art After a period of disorder known as the Five Dynasties Period , a vigorous general reunited China again by founding the Song dynasty.

In spite of a constant threat of invasion Kaifeng, the new capital, became one of the most refined centres of civilization ever known, particularly under the reign of the emperor-painter Huizong who was surrounded by artists and acquired a fabulous collection of their work. He devoted too much time to the arts at the expense of his army, for in a lightning raid Donghu barbarians called the Jurchen captured the court and destroyed Kaifeng and the entire art collection. The whole of northern China fell to the Jurchen; the survivors from the Song settled in Hangchow on the Yangtze river in the south where they continued in their pursuit of culture and beauty until they were submerged for good under the Mongol onslaught which had already reduced Asia and was threatening Europe.

The dominant ideology during the era of Song Dynasty Art was Neo-Confucianism , a blend of the ideas of Confucius and those of Daoism with some Buddhist asceticism as well. This went with a renewed interest in the earlier traditions of China, the writings of the classical authors and a strong antiquarian bias, leading to the copying of Shang and Zhou bronzes.

Buddhism of the Amitabha persuasion was on the wane and degenerating into superstition. But a new spiritual outlook appeared on the scene with dhan philosophy Japanese Zen in which man comes to terms with himself and nature through a momentary flash of intuition. This ideology was to influence painting, calligraphy and pottery. Muqi Fachang Mu-ch'i was one of its most famous exponents. Song sculpture continued the Tang tradition, but with greater elegance and a masterful rhythm of flowing lines as can be seen in the representations of the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, the spirit of mercy who became to the Chinese what the Madonna had become to many Europeans.

It is in the realms of painting and pottery that the civilization of Song reached its summit.

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