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Art, Literature and Musicqing%20-%20wang%20shi%20ming%201.jpg

  • Kangxi emperor developed an appreciation for Chinese art and architecture. Pg. 44
    • He got people to control a large workshop that supplies the court with nice products
        • Porcelains from Jingdezhen
        • Silk from Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou
        • Paintings – were very important. Pg. 48-49
  • Shunzhi became a gifted painter in the traditional style influenced by the Chinese and set a style followed by many of the Manchu Bannerman. Pg 49
  • Kangxi was a huge art fan
      • Artists and artisans were hired for special projects
      • Also hired architects, landscape designers and painters for various other works
      • Many artists worked on ceramics, it is where objects are made out of clay and similar materials treated for firing. Pg. 49
  • Collecting art was a favored hobby of the emperors
  • Literature such as novels, poems, short stories, and drama/plays flourished.
  • Emperor kangxi enjoyed Chinese scholarly work
      • Followed the Chinese tradition for writing down the history of the dynasties
      • He was also the one that influenced the Chinese language as it stands today
      • Also sponsored many literacy projects to win over the Chinese scholars who were important for running the bureaucracy. Pg. 49
  • Offering the emperor antiques, curios, books and paintings were a sign of respect. Pg. 51
  • Paintings were done on hand scrolls or hanging scrolls ink and color on silk. Pg. 50
  • Jesuit Priest Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), a western painter brought a new style to the long and distinguished tradition of horse painting to the court
Horses meant the dominance of the Manchus so his art became very popular. Pg. 51
  • Literature, Paintings, Calligraphy done by the emperor is very valuable. Seeing their artwork done by their own hands was like seeing the king themselves so the people must treat their work well or else it meant disrespect or rebellion against the emperors. Pg. 51
  • Merchants often made fake paintings of the genuine paintings and sold them. Pg. 53
  • Emperors sponsored many huge projects
    • Monumental about the previous dynasties totaled 36000 volumes – required 5000 people in this project. Pg.53
  • Before the end of the Qing dynasty, paintings, ceramics, decorative arts, textiles and furniture all increased drastically. Pg. 54
  • Artists usually put poems and literature on their paintings – very popular.
  • During the Qing dynasty, artists mainly focused on scenery, flowers and birds – they were the main themes as opposed to portraits.
  • Paintings were used to express themselves, for example;
    • Zhu Da, a member of the Ming emperors but after the Manchus ruled, he went into great depression.
      • He painted slower, birds and landscapes with strokes that are succinct to express his grief.
    • Yanji, also a member of the Ming’s has a style that was carefree and emphasizes on expressing himself.
  • There were a few artists who could paint women very well, showing their delicacy and morbid beauty.
    • The paintings of women developed when the closeness between some literators and prostitutes grew.
  • Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn and it’s important for court to distinguish the ranks of the officials, according to color and designs.
  • Music – Beijing opera and Jingxi
    • Required the flutes, plucking lute, clappers, several drums, a double reed wind intrument, cymbals, and gongs.
    • The actors in these operas, sang, spoke and at times done some martial arts.
    • These operas were mainly based on historical stories.
  • Jingxi is a very popular Chinese theatrical form. They are like musicals sung in mandarin.

Sample Beijing opera.


Book sources: The Odyssey of China’s Imperial Art Treasures. Jeannette Shambaugh Elliott and David Shambaugh.

Picture Source: