Lectures on Chinese Arts (Wei, Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties)

An Overview of the Art of Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties


  All art is closely related to the artist’s own life experience, or it is restricted by the social life of the art creator. The art of the Wei, Jin, the Southern and Northern Dynasties has a prominent position in the history of Chinese art development, which stems from the fact that the social life at that time was very different from the Qin and Han Dynasties when the feudal unity was first achieved.


The theme of Chinese social life in the Qin and Han dynasties was unification. Regardless of whether the Confucianism left over from the pre-Qin period talked about loving others, Taoism talked about life, legalism talked about governing people, Mo school talked about treating people, famous masters talked about distinguishing people, and Yinyang school talked about understanding people, they all talked about unity How to live under the rule of the feudal country; Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty supported Dong Zhongshu’s suggestion of dismissing a hundred schools and respecting Confucianism, which was actually a measure to strengthen cultural unity. As far as art is concerned, Zhou’s solemn and mysterious notion of patriarchal ancestry, Qin’s powerful and simple style of conquering, and Chu’s creative spirit of free imagination have all achieved convergence in the social life of the Han dynasty, forming a consensus of joy and harmony. The politics for the group is transformed into the life of politics, and then the art of life is produced. Therefore, no matter music, dance, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, architecture, literature, craftsmanship, they cannot get rid of the influence of ethics and political constraints.


The great feudal unification established in the Qin and Han dynasties was greatly destroyed during the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties. Except for the short-lived and nominally unified atmosphere in the Western Jin Dynasty, from 189 AD to 589 AD, China was in the two states. More than one feudal regime was divided under the rule. Although every ruler of the feudal regime had more or less expressed the demand for unification, they were always unable to do what they want to maintain the status quo. In this way, the unified cultural atmosphere of the Qin and Han dynasties disappeared, giving the feudal separatist forces a chance to express themselves. With the entry of various ethnic minorities and nobles into the Central Plains, Buddhism finally emerged and became a big sight, forming an additive to self-expression activities in the field of culture and art. In such a situation, the ethical forces of ritualism, which were closely related to the concept of patriarchal blood relationship, were slightly suppressed, while the primitive and religious artistic life appears remained vibrant. The creative impulse was restored to some extent in the artist, so in the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, there was a confusing art world that made later generations amazed. Zong Baihua said: “The Wei, Jin and Six Dynasties in the late Han Dynasty were the most chaotic era in Chinese politics and the most painful era in society. However, it was an era of extreme freedom, emancipation, wisdom, and enthusiasm. It is the most artistic era.” Introducing the art of this era is actually to show the major turning points and changes in this historical progress.

Introductiion to the Art of Three Kingdoms and Jin Dynasty


   In the period of the Three Kingdoms, the heroes came together, and the war caused the roosters and dogs to be exhausted, and there were no pedestrians in the market. The officials were big and small to eat each other, the Confucianism established by the rulers of the Western Han Dynasty was swept away in prestige. People suddenly looked back in the pain of precariousness, life and death, and found that Yao and Shun’s governance and peace and happiness were all vain talks, and only their own survival was the reality. As a result, the search for the value and meaning of individual survival gradually became a social trend. As a representative of reforming politics, Cao Cao admired relaxed people, despises those who do well, and fights with the banner of meritocracy against the electoral rights held by the aristocratic families of the Eastern Han Dynasty. This promoted individual talents to emerge in the governance of the country and the use of soldiers. You can also express your convictions when creating, or move closer to Taoism when political conditions are dangerous, and let nature be more of a teacher than you are.
   The confluence of Confucianism and Taoism was the basis for the emergence of metaphysics in the Wei and Jin Dynasties. Metaphysics, on the one hand, served as the spiritual sustenance for feudal scholars to escape from the world under the pressure of politics, and on the other hand, it also reflected the scholars’ pursuit of ideal personality. The artistic works of the Wei and Jin Dynasties that were influenced by metaphysics produced the consciousness of beauty, that is, the beauty of the person’s own image was transferred to the direction of literature, calligraphy, and painting in a way of emotional transfer.
   As far as art form is concerned, Wei Jin art began with calligraphy. Calligraphy is an art closely related to characters. The origin of Chinese characters is based on the six-character creation theory. Among them, pictograms and ideograms determine that Chinese characters have rich ideological connotations, and the writer’s thoughts and emotions can easily penetrate into the written characters. . From the perspective of the development of Chinese characters, whether the carved symbols on the colored pottery of Xi’an Banpo, the oracle bone inscriptions of the Yin Ruins and the Zhouyuan, the inscriptions of the Zhou Dynasty, the Xiaozhuan of the Qin Dynasty, and the official script chapters of the Han Dynasty, they all help and replace memory. Practical systems, for the convenience of use, there is an inevitable process of simplification. The abstract decorations used in various paintings are originally not many in Chinese characters. When they need to be simplified, they are naturally eliminated, so there is no painting and calligraphy. Reason. It’s just that the writer’s thoughts and emotions are expressed in fonts, structures, gestures, and ink, but aesthetic judgments are indispensable. In this way, writing becomes calligraphy, and it can also become an art. Since Wei-Jin metaphysics has a strong tendency of individual choice, and uses Taoism as a free travel of self-spirit, there will be more beautiful self-consciousness in the art of calligraphy. The title of Li Baotongge Road during the Wei Jingyuan reign of the Three Kingdoms period was carved on the cliff stone. The official script was written in italics, which has already seen changes in calligraphy. During the calligraphy reform from Wei to Jin, Zhong Yao studied the three types of self-study. Among them, the statute book is eight-pointed Han Li, which is used to teach elementary school, that is, traditional calligraphy. The inscription stone script is in block letters, which was a fashionable new style at the time. The running script is usually written by oneself. It is said that all three bodies are good in history. The running script is especially known in the world, which shows that the Wei and Jin Dynasty is a running script that praises many individual pursuits. of. It is precisely because of such a kind of impetus of the world that the book sage Wang Xizhi appeared. His regular script and cursive script are hard to find authentic scripts, but the Wuben “Lanting Preface” and Tang Huairen’s collection of words “Datang Sanzang Shengjiao Preface Stele” can be seen in the running script. His calligraphy is free and unrestrained, whether it is like a dragon, or as a surprise, it is the result of his personal aesthetic consciousness placed on the font, brushwork, structure, and trend. Wang Xianzhi, son of Wang Xi’s son, further developed this spirit of freedom and developed the running script into modern grass, also known as the delicately structured grass and gossamer grass. Once the cursive script became the prevailing style, calligraphy changed from being practical to art. At this time, the nature of calligraphy can be said to be the same as that of painting. This is a milestone in the history of Chinese art built by Wei and Jin art.
  
   Following the calligraphy, Wei-Jin painting had a prominent position in the history of Chinese fine arts with a refreshing posture. The artist’s pursuit of individual personality finally came to life from day to night thinking, and a large number of concrete figure paintings appeared. The eighth note of “Appreciation” in the volume of “Shi Shuo Xin Yu” quotes Gu Kaizhi’s “Painting Praise”, saying: “Tao (the mountain of the seven sages of bamboo forest) is not marked, the abyss is silent, and no one can see the situation, at least it shows that Gu Kaizhi Had a portrait of Shan Tao.” The art of Chinese painting almost accompanies the origin of Chinese civilization. Only the galloping deer, jumping dogs, and frogs climbing to the edge of the basin on the colored pottery of Yangshao culture show that the ancestors had carefully observed and reproduced life. However, judging from the decorative patterns on painted pottery and bronzes, Chinese painting has been abstracted and symbolized earlier, especially the majestic mystery of ancestors and natural divine power on bronzes, which is even more puzzling.

Although in terms of practicality, these decorative patterns are symbols of intimidation to foreigners and divine power of shelter to their own races, but after all, they have been highly abstracted into decorative objects and have lost any personal status in them. The Qin Dynasty replaced the burial of real objects with craftsmanship that imitated the real objects. For example, thousands of figurines appeared from the burial pit of the terracotta warriors and horses in the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin. However, the body of the human figurine is separate from the head. Every human head can be placed on a certain body at will. It can be seen that these thousands of warrior figurines are still made as an army as a whole, not an individual choice.
  The paintings related to the Terracotta Warriors, as well as the decorations and paintings of the bronze carts and horses, are also subordinate to the politics of the group and the individuality of the artist, and are thus lost in the aura of unity. The paintings of the Han Dynasty are full of Chu style, and almost every painting contains the contents of the sky, the underground, and the world. Free imagination is far better than real life, and various mythological figures occupy the position that natural persons should have. Only in the Wei and Jin Dynasties did the fortune-telling of human relations and the pursuit of personal ideals be expressed through paintings, “Speaking of the World?” The twenty-first “Qiaoyi Pian” says: Gu Changkang (that is, Gu Kaizhi) painted people, perhaps for several years without focusing on it. People asked why, Gu said:’This is nothing about beauty. The vivid portrayal is in the middle of Adu’. Gu Kaizhi’s pursuit of vividness is precisely exploring the ideas of the creative objects. Such clear artistic judgments can be said to be unprecedented, and the word vividness has become an unshakable tradition of Chinese painting. Such a leap in understanding is the basic reason why Wei-Jin paintings are attracting attention.


There were a lot of famous painters in the Wei and Jin dynasties. Early painters were mostly devoted to figures. For example, Cao Mao had “Picture of Pirates” and “Picture of Bianzhuang Stabbed Tiger”, Cao Buxing painted Buddha figures on fifty-foot silk, and Emperor Ming of Jin had ” Luo Shen Fu Tu, Luo Zhong, Gui Qi Tu.

National Health Association has Seven Buddhas, Dai Kui has Five Heavens Arhats, Three Ma Bole, and Fisherman, Gu Kaizhi has “Zhongxing Emperor Xianglixiang”, “Lie Xiantu”, “Three Heavenly Girl”, “Female History Admonition”. Later painters were increasingly influenced by metaphysics and Buddhism. When they were disappointed in reality, they had to pursue a spiritual state of independence from the world, so landscape paintings began to appear.
Gu Kaizhi has “Painting Yuntai Mountains”, which has a tendency to shift from figure painting to landscape painting. Zong Bing, who was born in the third year of Kangxi in Jinning and died in the 20th year of Song and Yuanjia has “The Preface of Painting Landscape”, and will use Xuan to compare landscape painting. As a driving force for artistic creation. Entrusting people’s ideal pursuits with natural landscapes, and even adapting to the individualized creative ideas of art with the deformed feelings of landscapes, this has also formed a trend in the development of Chinese painting. In this sense, Wei-Jin paintings not only show the traditional style of Chinese painting-vividness, but also have a link between the past and the future in terms of painting themes.
   The painting and calligraphy of the Three Kingdoms and Jin Dynasties was the beginning of the art of the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, and its achievements have foreshadows that this special historical period will have a fruitful result in art.

Introduction to the Art of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties


  The art of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties was actually the art of northern China from the Yongjia Rebellion in the Western Jin Dynasty to the period of the unification of the whole country in the Sui Dynasty. Although the historians of the past dynasties were constrained by the traditional concept of the distinction between the Chinese and the barbarian, they only regarded the art theories of the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties as the orthodox, and connected the art of this period in northern China with the political situation of the Wuhu disputes, thus being critical and derogatory. However, we have to admit that there were great achievements far superior to the previous generation. Especially Buddhism came east along the Silk Road. The art of Gandhara not only spreads across the northern and southern foothills of the desert and the Hexi Corridor, but also went straight to the center of the Chinese civilization—Chang’an and Luoyang, which really injected China’s undead art of the Han and Jin Dynasties. The powerful vitality produced a majestic and unrestrained style that was different from the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties.
   The art of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties is by no means a simple input of foreign or Hu culture. It is a two-way alienation process in which Han Jin culture merges with foreign and Hu culture. Since the Yongjia Rebellion, the Xiongnu, Jie, Di, Qiang, Xianbei and other tribes have successively entered the Central Plains. With the scourge of war, the people seem to have no better choice than to flee. In the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the Sima clan regarded himself as the orthodox Han nationality in the south, which caused the situation of the “Shishu” crossing to the south. However, under the circumstances that Nandu was blocked, the westward flight was still quite large. Especially in the Three Kingdoms period, Wei Guocang was the prefect of Dunhuang, and he suppressed the power of frustration and cared for the poor, which is very reasonable. He also exchanged the city with all the Hus of the Western Regions, so that the officials and the people escorted the roads, and the people called them their virtues.

In the Western Jin Dynasty, Zhang Gui was appointed as the governor of Liangzhou, and he moved to Xizhou, Huaxing Heyou… and establishing a school. Set Chongwen ritual wine, the position is not to drive, the spring and autumn trip to the country to shoot the ceremony.

The situation was more stable than the mainland, so a large number of refugees poured into Hexi. The Han culture and the Hu culture had the opportunity to blend, so that, for example, the brick paintings of the Jin Tomb of Dunhuang Foye Temple, the tomb paintings of Dingjiazha in Jiuquan, and the brick paintings of the tombs of Jiayuguan reflect the contents of a large number of inland farming life. Among them, many topics such as farming, animal husbandry, sericulture, camps, dock walls, as well as pig killing, chicken slaughtering, spine cattle, cooking, singing and dancing, music, and stationing, etc., although there was no lack of Hu nationality, but on the whole, they were still complete.

The cultural features of the Han and Jin Dynasties


   Although the Hanjin culture occupied a dominant position in northern China, the continuous input of the Hu culture since the opening of the Silk Road cannot be ignored. For example, before the Han Dynasty, the Chinese used to kneel down and sit on their laps and sit on the bed. When they arrived in the Three Kingdoms, such as today’s Mazha’er, the Hu bed has penetrated into the Chinese people.


   Cao Cao fought Ma Chao at Tongguan. Cao Cao) would cross the river. Since Cao Cao also satson the Hu bed, it can be seen that the North understood the Hu culture very early and could absorb and introduce it in large quantities. In this way, in the picture of “Music” in the tomb of Dingjiazha, Jiuquan, music artists could play traditional Chinese guqin and Dongxiao, as well as Hu nationality’s pipa and chicken drums. In the murals of No. 6 tomb in Jiayuguan, there was also a picture of people pulling camels in Han official costumes. Of course, the culture of the Hu nationality was also developing towards Sinicization. For example, the stone horse in front of the tomb of the Xi’an Huns ruler Helianbobo in the Xi’an Forest of Steles Museum is carved out of a monolithic stone. The sword was rough and the horse was tall and straight, which is similar to the Mausoleum of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. There are many similarities between the horses in the Ma Ting Xiongnu stone carvings in front of Huo Qubing’s tomb. The confluence of Hu and Han cultures formed the foundation of the colorful art of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties.
   The culture of the Hu nationality entered the Chinese mainland, and Buddhism spread to the east as a medium. Buddhism bred in ancient India, which was separated from China by high mountains and deserts, where it was divided for a long time, suffered foreign invasions, and lacked the force to expand abroad. However, Buddhism did not rely on ancient India’s national power to gain a strong position in China. To a large extent , Is to rely on the Hu nationality who migrated from the Western Regions to China as a carrier. The inland migration of the Hu ethnic group in the northwest can be traced back to Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty when he was in the Hexi Corridor and the Western Regions. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Qiang Hu was born as Zuo Qi and mixed with the Han people, which formed the conditions for the internal migration of the Hu nationality. During the Three Kingdoms period, all military groups used the Hu nationality to move inward to join the army to organize cavalry, forming an excellent opportunity for the Hu nationality to move inward. In the Western Jin Dynasty, Guanzhong, the center of the original Chinese culture, had almost become a settlement of the Hu nationality. When reflecting on the lessons of the Qi Wannian Rebellion, Jiang Tong reported to the rulers of the Western Jin Dynasty: “Among the four barbarians, Rong Di is very much…there are more than one million people in Guanzhong, and Rong Di occupies a half.” The Hu people in the northwest accepted Buddhism before the Han people in the interior. They moved inland and naturally became the carrier of Buddhism spreading eastward.


   It happened that after the Yongjia Rebellion, the Central Plains region became a place of ethnic disputes. The traditional beliefs of the Han people couldn’t meet the requirements of the ethnic minorities. In order to seek a unified ideological criterion, the people of all ethnic groups chose Buddhism. On the one hand, this is more consistent with the anti-Sinicization psychology of the ethnic minority aristocrats at that time. On the other hand, the purpose of reconciling contradictions in Buddhism and the Confucianism believed by the Han people could easily find a common foundation. Buddhism sprung up in the era of ethnic disputes to ethnic integration, and the arts such as stone carvings, paintings, and architecture, which are closely related to Buddhism, also have a chance to develop.

   Buddhist grottoes are a gathering place for the arts of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties. The Buddhist caves actually originated in India. As the Greek Macedonian Emperor Alexander the Great conquered northwestern India in the 4th century BC, the Greek art of statue carving took root in the area centered on Gandhara. In the 3rd century BC, during the Mahayana Buddhism period of the Indian Maurya Dynasty Ashoka, Sarnath, Lumbini, the stone pillars of Wangshecheng and the Balabar Grotto appeared. The Sunda dynasty of North India and the Andura dynasty of South India also have famous Buddhist works of art handed down. When Mahayana Buddhism became popular in the Great Xia Guishuang Empire, Gandhara art with both Indian and Greek styles came into being in the early 2nd century AD.

With the introduction of Buddhism into the mainland of China around AD, Buddhist grottoes with Gandhara artistic style have gradually emerged in China. The Xinjiang Qiuzi Grottoes excavated in the 3rd century AD are the earliest, and their representative is Xinjiang Baicheng Kizilqian. Buddha cave. After the 4th century A.D., Buddhist grottoes have made great progress in northern China, especially in the 5th and 6th centuries, when they reached their peak. These include the Qigexing Grottoes in the ancient Yanqi District of Xinjiang, and the Tuyugou Thousand-Buddha Caves and Turtle Caves in the ancient Gaochang District. The Kumutula Thousand-Buddha Caves in the district; Hexi Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, Liangzhou Grottoes, Maiji Mountain in Gansu, Bingling Temple, Xumi Mountain in Ningxia, etc.; and Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan, Gongxian Grottoes, Xiangtangshan Grottoes, Tianlongshan Grottoes. On the one hand, these grottoes retain many of the artistic characteristics of Gandhara and Indian dodder. They are combined with Chinese cultural traditions and have obvious creations, showing the tendency of Buddhism to be sinicized.


From the perspective of stone carvings, Buddha, Bodhisattva, and Vajra statues all have accurate realism. With the help of the situation of mountains and rocks, choose an appropriate posture related to life, with broad shoulders and solid chest, well-proportioned muscles, and light and body-fitting clothing.

The vitality and strength of the human body
   From the perspective of clay sculpture, it is more flexible to pay attention to the sculpture object than the stone carving, whether it is the image of god or man, without exception, according to different status, using different angles to make the performance based on personal understanding. For example, the frontal image and the mudra and seat posture prescribed in the Buddhist scriptures express the dignity of the Buddha.
  That shows the grace and kindness of the Bodhisattva with the changeable half-profile portrait and the movement of gently twisting the waist. As for the King Kong Warriors, either at the moment of surrendering the demons, or in the process of exerting power with a heavy load, they show energy far superior to ordinary people. Influenced by Western sculptural techniques, the proportions of the clay sculptures in the grottoes of the Sixteenth Dynasty and the Northern Dynasties are very accurate. Of course, to maintain the traditional Chinese godlikeness, some of the clay sculptures are also exaggerated. For example, the ratio of the head to the body of an individual bodhisattva is one to six or one to seven, making the body of the bodhisattva appear slender and beautiful.


  From the perspective of painting, the murals in the grottoes of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties first retained the Chinese line drawing tradition, but they also widely used the concave-convex method of Gandhara art. In particular, the face of a person is painted with layers of vermilion, and then the bridge of the nose, eyes and eyebrows are painted with white powder to show the bulge. This shading method, which strongly expresses the three-dimensional sense of the characters, was an important result of cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries at that time. From the perspective of the painting content, there are a lot of foreign life content. The first is Buddhism. Buddha statues such as Dharmakaya Buddha, Samsara Buddha, Yingshen Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, Four-faced Buddha, Seven Buddhas, Amitabha, etc., reflect the different opinions of foreign sects. Bodhisattva names are more diverse, including Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Guanyin, Dashi, Sunlight, Moonlight, Ksitigarbha, etc., most of whom wear crowns, bare upper bodies, velvet shawls, and large skirts.

The gender is biased towards females. The rest are heard, Yuanjue, Arhat, Heavenly King, and Lishi are more complex and changeable. The stories of Prince Xudanai for charity, Prince Sadao sacrificed his life to feed a tiger, and King Shibi forbearance and shame have become the themes of the painting together with the stories of the Buddha’s Jatama, which naturally introduces a large number of foreign life situations. Winged angels, Romanesque carriages, and Lulu writings found in the milan murals near Lop Nur, Xinjiang, have been traced to the east of Christianity. The portrait of the artist in the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, named Mitra Danda, has a shawl with hanging hair. Wearing a short ribbed knight costume, an open top, a right lapel, a dagger on the waist, a Chinese brush in his right hand, and a paint cup in his left, scholars have judged him to be a Byzantine. The import of foreign cultures such as India, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc., made the painting art of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties have important breakthroughs and developments compared with previous generations. Both the form and content are amazing.
 
   The calligraphy of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties also had important achievements due to the east spread of Buddhism. Because writing scriptures is a great merit, scholars of literature began to show their talents in steles, stone walls, and Buddhist caves. “Dadai Huayue Temple Stele” is said to be the beginning of the Wei stele, and Tang calligrapher Ouyang Xun’s regular script was influenced by this stele. The 42 types of inscriptions on Yunfeng Mountain were all written by Zheng Daozhao of the Northern Wei Dynasty, which contrasted sharply with Wang Xizhi’s beautiful calligraphy. There are many famous Wei steles. In addition to regular script templates such as “Zhang Ronglong Stele” and “Jia Sibo Stele”, the large number of existing epitaphs in Luoyang and Xi’an are also highly valued by the calligraphy circles. In addition, Taishan, Zulaishan, Gangshan, Jianshan, Geshan, Buffalo Mountain, Xiaotieshan cliff carvings also have brilliant content, especially the “Diamond Sutra” by Taishan Jing Shiyu, with 980 intact characters remaining. From one foot two three inches to one foot seven or eight inches, the pen is bold and powerful, showing the artist’s courage and confidence.
During the period of the Sixteen Kingdoms and Northern Dynasties, Chinese people opened their minds through the eastward spread of Buddhism. While liberating themselves from their spiritual distress, they showed their passion for pursuit and made great progress in art form, technique, and style. A large amount of precious cultural heritage will always be cherished by future generations.

Introduction to Southern Dynasty Art
   Compared with the large-scale changes in the Northern Dynasties art following the internal migration of the Hu nationality and the eastward spread of Buddhism, the Southern Dynasties art was actually a further advancement of the metaphysical spirit of the Wei and Jin scholars to reflect on themselves. Eastern Jin Dynasty Gu Kaizhi “Wei Jin Shengliu (Famous Minister)
   Painting Praise has been an attempt to establish an artistic theory. Liang Xiehe’s “Ancient Paintings Record”, Yao Zui’s “Continued Paintings Record”, and Sun Changzhi’s “Shuhuaji” can be said to have formed the artistic spirit of the Southern Dynasties. In the face of the pressure of the northern Hu invading and the political situation created by the rulers of Song, Qi, Liang, and Chen, the scholars’ empathy for art has almost become a common path to follow. The artistic spirit of the Southern Dynasty summarized by Xie He and others is actually a reflection of the social life of the Southern Dynasty.


Xie He put forward six methods in the “Records of Ancient Paintings”, which are actually six artistic standards, namely, vivid qi and rhyme, use of bone method, pictograms of objects, color according to category, business location, transfer and model writing. The vivid qi and rhyme here are basically Gu Kaizhi. It was the real continuation of the vivid portrayal of thought.


.   Qi is the manifestation of the artist’s inner life to the outside world, and is the source of all personality power. As for rhyme, it is the harmony of sound, that is, how the artist’s personality is in accordance with the natural flow of rhythm. Vivid vibe means that the artist’s personality is required to be vividly reflected. Whether calligraphy, painting, sculpture, or arts and crafts, it is required to reflect the artist’s personality style in his works. Such an idea of ​​almost avoiding life and focusing on art is naturally a betrayal of traditional group politics, and will cover up the political life with a certain art form. This is one of the reasons for the flourishing of art in the Southern Dynasties.


   Because of this, the theory of landscape painting reappeared in painting. In order to escape the real life, even the focus of painting has been moved to the direction of natural landscape. Zong Bing and Wang Wei in the Liu Song Dynasty developed from exploring mountains and rivers to depicting mountains and rivers, and finally summed up their experience in expressing natural mountains and rivers. The famous teaching of Wei-Jin metaphysics, namely the concept of nature, was finally experienced by the artist first.


   Under the gloomy and dreary political conditions, the people of the Southern Dynasties focused on their emotional life in art, forming a series of works of art with a lot of people’s popularity, and also produced a group of artists who were good at painting. Famous painters in the Song and Qi periods include Gu Junzhi, Lu Tanwei, Yuan Qian, Jiang Sengbao, Zhang Ze, Zong Bing, Gu Baoguang, etc. Lu Tanwei has the highest level. “The Record of Famous Paintings in the Tang Dynasty” says: Lu Tanwei figures The painting is extremely wonderful, as for the landscape and vegetation. It can be seen that he abides by tradition and is dedicated to figure painting. Zhang Huaiyuan praised Lu Tanwei for his sharp and sharp handwriting, which shows that Lu Tanwei strives for bright and straight lines. Zhang Yanyuan said: Gu Lu can’t see his hope, the so-called meticulous notes. Obviously, the two of them have a relationship that pursues vivid portrayal. During the Liang and Chen period, the rulers were desolate and decayed. In order to avoid obscene content popular in the court, the artist began to devote himself to Buddhist figure painting. Xie He and Yao Zui’s painting theory more or less show their pursuit of independence. Zhang Sengyou, as a master of painting in the time of Emperor Wu of Liang, maintained the inherent value of the artist with his unique Buddhist temple murals. He absorbed external influences in color, rendered the picture with concave-convex painting method, and even painted full color without contour lines. When creating Buddhist figure paintings, Zhang Sengyou switched to plump skin, which is an active absorption of foreign culture. Because of Zhang Sengyou’s special creation, the works of famous painters Yan Liben and Wu Daozi in the Tang Dynasty have seen its influence. While the famous painters continued to discuss the creation of figure paintings, landscape paintings rose rapidly in the Southern Dynasties. According to the literature, we can know: Xia Houzhan painted “Wushan Tu”, Dai Kui painted “Shanshan Tujuan”, Xu Lin’s “Landscape Picture”, Zong Bing “Autumn Mountains” by Xie Yue, “Mountain Dwelling” by Tao Hongjing, and “Mangrove Trees in Snowy Mountains” by Zhang Sengyou are all masterpieces, but they cannot be seen today. It only speculates based on the literature, the color is quite strong, the emphasis on a certain detail is exaggerated, and it is charming and expressing personal emotions.


The tomb murals of the Southern Dynasties adhere to traditional features, and most of them are traditional myths in the Han and Jin Dynasties, such as the four gods of Qinglong, White Tiger, Suzaku, Xuanwu, and the body of the animal head, the bird body of the animal head, the head of the animal biting the snake, the human head of the animal head, and the tiger head wearing a snake. Such story paintings are very common. Due to the popularity of metaphysics, there are also many pictures of “The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi”, which deliberately promote the spirit of debauchery and indulgence. However, the murals in the tomb of Zihuoge in Houhai, Zhaotong, Yunnan also depict armed riders composed of Han and ethnic minorities. The ethnic minorities wear felt, barefoot, and comb the hair of the Buddha, which shows that the scale of the Han people’s exchanges with ethnic minorities in southern China has expanded and ethnic integration. The centripetal force was increasing day by day.


  The Southern Dynasty also imported Buddhism through the sea, so Indian, Persian, and Greek cultures also appeared in southern China. The carved stone statues and stone pillars in front of the tombs of the Southern Dynasties in Nanjing and Danyang were the products of cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries during this period. There are 25 stone tombs of the Six Dynasties tombs in Nanjing and 10 in Danyang. The stone beasts in front of Liu Yuling, Emperor Wu of the Song Dynasty, are used to ward off evil spirits. They all have flying wings. The carvings of the winged beasts originated from ancient Assyria. They passed to Greece from the west to Persia and entered China at that time. There is a Greek-style stone pillar in front of the mausoleum of Xiao Shunzhi, the father of Emperor Xiao Yan of Liang Wu, with melon prismatic concave patterns carved on it, similar to the Greek Ionian-style stone pillar. On the top of the column there is a Chinese-style bearing plate, and under the plate there is a three-dimensional statue of a small stone beast, which is another Hellenistic Persian art style. Although the southern and northern dynasties have fewer foreign cultural factors than the northern dynasties, since Chinese culture is a whole, it will not deviate from this particular trend of the era of the integration of Chinese and foreign cultures. In this way, in terms of stone carving art, the commonality of China’s southern and northern dynasties is very much. obviously.
   The arts and crafts of the Southern Dynasty represent the development level of Chinese arts and crafts since the Wei and Jin Dynasties. The first is lacquer ware. There has been a clamped statue, also known as a dry lacquer statue. It is not afraid of the sun and rain, and it is light and easy to carry. It is used by Buddhists for extensive publicity. Lacquerware also has green lacquer, that is, dark green lacquer, which is deep and solemn, like things sinking into water, and is used in various utensils. There are also gold and jade inlaid lacquerware, which are used in case tables and wood carvings to show luxury. The weaving and embroidery technology is most developed in Yangzhou and Chengdu. The silk fabrics unearthed in Turpan are many products of the Southern Dynasty. The celadon glaze of the Southern Dynasty was thick and uniform, and there were regular brown spots in the bright cyan, which opened the way for the later multi-color glaze porcelain. At present, there are utensils such as pots, statues, pots, cups, bowls, plates, boxes, and spoons in Southern Dynasty porcelain, as well as animal wares such as chickens, ducks, pigs, and sheep, which are the continuation of life in the Han and Jin Dynasties. As for the decorative methods such as stamping, portraying, and mold printing on porcelain, and the increasingly beautiful and delicate shapes such as chicken head pot, it reflects the aesthetic atmosphere of the society at that time.
   Southern Dynasties art is the product of the artist’s pursuit of individuality and ideals through artistic works under the pressure of feudal rule. Although these works of art have a lot of fleeing meaning, there is no lack of artists’ passion for life.
  So, the wings of free fantasy can be unfolded in various forms and opportunities, and can fly within a certain range, finally forming a world that is ignored by the ruler. Wang Wei said in “Surgical Painting”: Looking at the autumn clouds, the spirit is flying; facing the spring breeze, the thinking is mighty. Although there is the joy of gold and stone, how can it be as if the abundance of Guizhang is! It is because there is art that belongs to the artist’s own world, so they can turn limited life into infinite creation, so that the spirit of Chinese art can continue to sublimate at this time, and the long night of miserable wind and rain flashes the brilliance of wisdom.

For more presentations and course lectures as well as Art expeditions to China regarding this period please contact us directly. We also welcome masters of Art, collection holders and gallerists to represent Western Arts in China and other Asian states.

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