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Ancient Chinese Paintings

Ancient Chinese paintings have been dated back as far as 6,000 years ago. Ancient Chinese civilizations first started using crushed or pulverized minerals to paint rudimentary designs, shapes, and figures on pottery. These rudimentary patterns consisted of animals, dots, spirals, and zigzags. These pottery pieces were produced by the Yangshao, Majiayao, Longshan, Xia Dynasty, Shangdong Longshan, Eastern Zhou, Han Dynasty, Shang Dynasty, and the Qin Dynasty civilizations.

It is believed that painted pottery were first used in ceremonial functions, including the burials of important people. Chinese pottery eventually evolved from pots and vessels to animal and human figures. Chinese painting so too followed suit and many beautiful painted figurines were made during the Han dynasty.

Ancient Chinese Paintings

Evidence shows that ancient Chinese painting continued on bronze vessels during the Bronze Age in China; albeit at a lesser extent. It wasn’t until the invention of xuanzhi, also called Shuen paper, that Chinese painting really started to evolve. It was the Tang dynasty that was credited with the invention of paper in China. This paper was traditionally made from Elm or Rice.

As Chinese painting evolved, artists began painting different subjects. The human figure within nature, horses, birds, flowers, landscapes, and calligraphy paintings became more prevalent. In fact, Chinese calligraphy is considered the highest form of Chinese art.

In this modern era, research and investigation have discovered much of what is known about ancient Chinese paintings and their origins. For example, the UCLA Asia Institute has in depth study into ancient Chinese civilizations and culture. Because of China’s rich and storied history, research and studies into ancient Chinese paintings will continue to be a focal point for years to come.

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