Chinese Art Overview

neolithic age

The Neolithic Age (New Stone Age) in China is also dated around 7000 BCE to 1700 BCE with various cultures that were mainly hunting and farming communities.


Many sources state that it started with the Xia Dynasty around 2070 to 1600 BC, ruled by the emperor Yu the Great.


During this time, the philosophies of Confucius and Laozi also developed, respectively, Confucianism and Taoism. These philosophies became worldwide ways of thought, and are still present today.


The Qin Dynasty fell after the death of the first emperor and the strife of civil war, the beginnings of the succeeding Han Dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE) developed.


The Tang Dynasty, for example, was marked as a Golden Age during China’s history with improved economic and military structures as well as a flourishing culture.


The common underpinning characteristics that give Chinese art its nature come from philosophical, religious, and cultural beliefs.


Wenfang sibao, or “Four Treasures of a Scholar’s Studio”, was an important part of Chinese painters’ and calligraphers’ skills and toolsets. It consisted of paper, brushes, ink, and inkstone.


Chinese art history is not complete without the Terracotta Army warriors from the tomb of the first Chinese emperor during the Qin Dynasty (c. 210 BCE).

other artworks

Notable modalities include Chinese ritual bronzes, which were made as part of graves. There is a significant collection of these bronzes all made with incredible skill and craftsmanship.


Chinese art has evolved since prehistory and is still going strong. In 1949, China became a republic and art celebrated governmental structures.