This volume presents a comprehensive account of 5000 years of Chinese art, from its early beginnings in the Neolithic era down to the waning years of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), which marked the end of the Imperial era. Tracing China's immensely rich artistic and cultural history, the reader is introduced to the many art forms produced in China during the long time-span covered by this ancient civilization: from the early ritual jades crafted in the Neolithic period and the bronzes cast to honor ancestors in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, to the splendor of Buddhist art, the delicacy of porcelain wares, to the aesthetic principles underlying Chinese traditional painting. Well-known masterpieces, such as the terracotta army buried in the 3rd century BC near the tomb of the First Emperor, are discussed and illustrated alongside lesser-known but equally fascinating works of art, such as the Buddhist wall paintings of the Dunhuang caves in Gansu province or the artifacts recovered from Liao period tombs (AD 907-1125). Each chapter is accompanied by a thorough analysis of one 'masterpiece' considered to be representative of the period under examination, while the works of art are analyzed within a larger cultural and social perspective, in order to provide the reader with a full account of the major achievements attained by China in the realm of the arts.
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