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Buddhist Art. Early Chinese. Buddhist Sculpture ... Developments in Buddhist art & architecture were preceded, for almost a thousand ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Medieval%20Chinese%20Buddhist%20Art

Medieval Chinese Buddhist Art
Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
  • Buddhist teachings practices spread to
    China from India via trade routes along both land
    and sea. Some of the most visible traces of this
    spread are found along the famous silk road
    that ran from the Roman Islamic empires of West
    Asia all the way to China, with important side
    branches descending to North India. The icons
    shown here were created primarily in cave
    monasteries that sprang up flourished at
    important points along Chinas portion of the
    silk road, from the 5th century CE onward.
    Although such sculptural styles clearly
    originated in Northern India, they had evolved
    there only a few centuries earlier in the 2nd
    century CE when Roman artisans were hired to work
    for North Indian patrons. Once settled in China,
    Buddhist institutions developed primarily during
    the period of North/South division from the
    3rd-6th centuries CE, and then consolidated their
    power during the subsequent unification brought
    about in the 7th century by the Tang dynasty.

Buddha seated on a lotus (5th CE, Wei Dynasty)
sitting Buddha w/flaming halo (5th-6th CE,
Dunhuang Caves)
cave monastery at Longmen (5th-7th CE)
seated Buddha with halo (5th CE, Longmen)
standing Buddha bodhisattvas (6th-7th CE,
Longmen Caves)
2. Painting Sculpture in the Sung Yuan
  • After a brief period of disunity following
    the fall of the Tang in 906 CE, the Sung dynasty
    restored order to the Chinese empire in 960 CE.
    Over the next few centuries, Neo-Confucians
    increasingly criticized the emperors of this
    dynasty for their policy of appeasing potential
    northern invaders rather than confronting them
    with military force. Yet there can be no doubt
    that Song sponsorship of the arts led to a period
    of brilliant intellectual artistic activity,
    with talented painters and craftspeople (many of
    whom developed a keen interest in realism during
    this period) being richly rewarded by the
    imperial court, and art academies ranking artists
    according to their achievements. With the
    gradual weakening of this dynasty in the 13th
    century, however, Mongolian invaders under Kubla
    Khan easily invaded and took over the centers of
    power, installing themselves as the new Yuan
    dynasty after reportedly killing half of the
    population in their merciless raids. Surviving
    artists, who tended to resent the military
    weakness of the Song emperors for which the
    Chinese had suffered to intensely, developed new
    and distinct styles to distinguish themselves
    from their Song predecessors. Kublai Khans
    court, for its part, continued to sponsor the
    arts, inviting new painters from South China who
    likewise initiated new trends. The sculptures and
    paintings of this section illustrate the ongoing
    evolution of styles during both periods, and also
    reflect the dominance of Pure Land Chan
    Buddhist movements.

temple in mountain landscape (12th CE, Song
bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (12th CE, Sung
bodhisattva Guan Yin, standing
seated (12th-13th CE, Sung Dynasty)
bodhisattva Manjushri (14th CE, Yuan Dynasty)
western paradise of Amitabha (14th CE, Yuan
eastern pure land of the Medicine Buddha (1319
(Side View)
(Close Up)
Bodhidharma, patriarch of Chan tradition (14th
3. Icons Images in Neo-Confucian Tradition
  • Developments in Buddhist art architecture
    were preceded, for almost a thousand years, by
    important developments in Confucian tradition,
    which beginning in the 2nd century BCE became the
    official ideology of the Chinese empire, a
    position which it retained until the early 20th
    CE. As in considering the impact of Islamic art
    on Indian culture previously dominated by
    Buddhist Hindu influences, it is important to
    look at a few examples of the way Confucian art
    (and especially the neo-Confucian forms that
    became increasingly influential in the 11th
    12th centuries CE) differed from Buddhist art.
    Like Muslims, Confucians almost without exception
    avoided iconic depictions, though for slightly
    different reasons Confucians regarded popular
    iconic representations of divine powers as
    distractions, which kept people from seeking the
    cultivation of jen (human-heartedness) within
    themselves. This section presents a few striking
    examples of Neo-Confucian art architecture,
    which reflect the central place of written
    classics and honoring human ancestors in
    Confucian tradition.

stone carving of a Confucian classic (8th CE)
Confucian temple (15th-16th CE, Ming Dynasty)
vase with pomegranate (symbol of fertility
longevity) (late 17th CE)
painting of Confucius (1743, Qing Dynasty)