Chinese arts 

Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so-called “stone age art” dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early period was followed by a series of art dynasties, most of which lasted several hundred years. Different forms of art have swayed under the influence of great philosophers, teachers, religious figures and even political figures. Chinese art encompasses all facets of fine art, folk art and performance art.

Chinese art - tangsancaiPottery porcelain 陶瓷 [táo cí] was one of the first forms of art in the Palaeolithic period. 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. Chinese Ceramics 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. Porcelain is also often called “china” in English. 

Chinese paintingChinese painting 国画 [guó huà], meaning ‘national’ or ‘native painting’, is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world. Chinese painting became a highly appreciated art in court circles encompassing a wide variety of Shan shui with specialized styles such as Ming Dynasty painting. Painting in the traditional style is known today in Chinese as Traditional painting involves essentially the same techniques as calligraphy and is done with a brush dipped in black or colored ink. The two main techniques in Chinese painting are: Meticulous – Gong-bi 工笔 [gōng bǐ] often referred to as “court-style” painting; Freehand – Shui-mo 水墨 [shuǐmò] loosely termed watercolour or brush painting. The Chinese character “mo” means ink and “shui” means water. This style is also referred to as “xie yi” 写意 [xiěyì] or freehand style.

Peking operaChinese opera 戏曲 [xìqǔ] is a popular form of drama and musical theatre in China with roots going back as far as the third century CE. There are numerous regional branches of Chinese opera, of which the Beijing Opera or Pecking Opera 京剧 [jīng jù] is one of the most famous forms of Chinese art, which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. The opera became more popular after a provincial troupe performed before Emperor Qianlong on his 80th birthday in 1790, and is regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China. The art form is also preserved in Taiwan, where it is known as Guoju 国剧 [guójù], means national opera. It has also spread to other countries such as the United States and Japan. 

Chinese art - jianzhiChinese folk arts 民间艺术 [mín jiān yì shù] are artistic forms inherited from a regional or ethnic scene in China. Individual folk arts have a long history, and many traditions are still practiced today. Since paper was invented by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. Jianzhi 剪纸 [jiǎnzhǐ] is the type of papercutting design, the art form later spread to other parts of the world with different regions adopting their own cultural styles. Puppetry 木偶 [mùǒu] is one of the oldest forms of folk art. Puppeteers use various kinds of puppets, including marionettes, glove puppets, rod puppets, cloth puppets and wire puppets in performances incorporating folk songs and dances over some dialogues. Shadow play 皮影戏 [píyǐngxì] is a form of puppetry that is performed by moving figures made of animal skins or cardboard held behind a screen lit by lamplight. The subject matter and singing style in shadow plays are closely related to Chinese opera, except without using live actors or actresses.


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