Ranging from China, Japan and Korea, along with stops in Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan and India -- Asian art encompasses dozens of cultures and thousands of years of history.
That said, this wealth of art treasure can be subdivided into many categories, a number of which qualify under 'the name of 'art' including household items (made of bronze and jade), decorative calligraphy, and even oriental rugs.
Like its Western art, Asian art reached its pinnacle under the largesse of royal households which commissioned works only from the best local artists of the time. In other cases, such as the Japanese Edo Period, (1658-1868) a long lasting period of economic stability gave rise to a new class of art patron found among the general populace.
One of the more famous eras in Chinese art history include the Sung Dynasty (960-1179) from which emerged a startling, new vision of the natural world seen in birds, animals and, most notably, intimately detailed Chinese landscapes. Another is the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) which was responsible for the incredibly opulent construction of the Forbidden City, today comprising nearly a million art treasures spanning five centuries.
Snow Plums and Twin Cranes, Early Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wave, Edo Period, Japan woodblock print circa 1830.
Buddha and Two Disciples, 19th century Thailand.
Finally, no survey of Asian art would be complete without a nod to the proliferation of Buddhist art which traveled from India to China, Japan, South Korea, and then Southeast Asia beginning in the 3rd century BC. Today, the religious movement continues to foster art and sculpture of the iconic Buddha that is as varied and complex as the civilizations that produce it.
Elsewhere around the Web, check out both historic and contemporary exhibits and portfolios, and learn more about important Asian art holdings in major museums with up-close looks at related painting, sculpture and ceramic arts...
More about Asian art history around the Web:
- Art History - Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean
art, and more, at this gateway to Asian art history, together
with extensive galleries of contemporary art and artists.
- Beautifully illustrated online edition of the print magazine
for Asian art collectors covering East Asian, Indian and Southeast
Asian painting, calligraphy, bronzes and ceramics with portfolios
of contemporary artists, suggested reading, related links.
of Indian Art - Clickable thumbnails lead to engaging
essays on the history of Indian art, architecture and sculpture.
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco - One of the Western world's largest collections, with information on current exhibits, visitor and ticket information, photo galleries and related resources.
Civilizations Museum - The Singapore-based museum with
an online look at their permanent collection as well as current,
archived exhibitions and more. Flash Player required.