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New book records evolution of art in China

By Yang Yang | | Updated: 2022-05-24 13:59
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History of Chinese Art: Elegant Inheritance of 24 Dynasties, a new book by Yang Qi, professor in art history from Tsinghua University, was released recently.

The book chronically narrates the evolution of art styles, techniques and genres in China using vivid language. Yang also tries to interpret the spiritual pursuits of Chinese people reflected in artworks throughout the 24 dynasties.

Works presented in the book include rock paintings from the Old Stone Age, bronze ware from the Shang (c.16th century-11th century BC) and Zhou (c.11th century-256 BC) dynasties and frescos in Dunhuang's grottos. Furthermore, 300 masterpieces by 50 artists, such as Gu Kaizhi from Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), Wang Wei from Tang Dynasty (618-907), Ni Zan from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Tang Bohu from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and contemporary artist Qi Baishi are also featured in the book.

In Yang's view, philosophy has exerted great influence on paintings in the west. "Western philosophy studies the essence of the outside world to teach people about the world and how to transform it. Western paintings pay much attention to presentation, imitation and aesthetic enjoyment of viewers,", writes Yang.

"Similarly, Chinese philosophy has also greatly influenced Chinese paintings. Chinese philosophy studies the inner world to teach people how to be good. As a reflection of that, Chinese paintings focus on expression, artistic conception as well as emotions to nourish viewers' souls," Yang adds.


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