China is a vast geopolitical region, whose boundaries have changed over the course of centuries with a wide range of ethnicities, religions, time zones, historical ruling parties, and ecological environments within it. Consequently, Chinese art traditions over the course of three millennia have been fashioned just as rich and diverse typified by countless art forms, which, taken together, provide a glimpse into China's evolution. The Asian Works of Art Department at Bidsquare features a rich and diverse range of Chinese art from a range of centuries and dynasties. The Ancient Chinese Art for sale at online auctions offers works dating from the Neolithic Period through the 20th century, attracting large numbers of international collectors and bidders. Despite being geographically isolated, China is becoming one of the world's major drivers of art.
Chinese art can be broadly classified into three areas of artistic expression - works created for courtly cultural elites, Buddhist artworks, and those created for burial practices. No matter where or when, and for what purpose it was produced, there are certain qualities inherent in Chinese art that make describing and recognizing it in general terms, irrespective of continuous technological advances, changes of materials and tastes, and the influence of foreign ideas. Among these traits are an affinity for nature, an appreciation for creativity, an understanding of the moral and educational values of art, an awareness of and appreciation for brushwork, and an affinity for popular motifs and designs such as lotus leaves and dragons.
Chinese culture is largely influenced by three main worldviews - Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Here we explore some of this ancient country's most important contributions to art, from ancient pottery and ceramics to calligraphy and other artwork created by artists through the numerous Dynasties shaping the Chinese art culture.
One of the early forms of art in China is Neolithic pottery, which includes ceramic pieces, crafted from around the tenth to second millennium. Though the early pieces of this genre were unpainted, the latter part of the Neolithic era witnessed painted ceramic works with distinctively patterned imprints found in the Neolithic Yangshao culture dating back to the fifth millennium.
Another popular handicraft from Neolithic China was jade, the luminous green mineral that was regarded as a symbol of wisdom, bravery, and purity in ancient China. This “imperial gem” became the staple in several Chinese cultures and was used to create a range of objects, such as tools as well as the cong cylinders and Bi discs that were symbolic of the earth and heaven. Several jade artifacts were influenced by the two mythical creatures considered divine in ancient China, the dragon, and the phoenix.
Calligraphy and Painting were highly valued arts in ancient China. Most of these works reflect the perfection and sensibilities of the amateurs, aristocrats, and scholars to create great brushwork. Calligraphy was thought to be the purest form of painting and was appreciated for its subtle beauty since the Shang dynasty (1.6 - 1.1 millennium), reaching its ethereal beauty until the 4th century CE.
Ancient Chinese painting developed significantly during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1644 CE) owing to the development of different schools and styles of painting, many of which date back to the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368 CE). The Ming and Qing period witnessed the emergence of great masters from the prolific painting schools, reaching the pinnacle of development.