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MAIN Arrow to Art Art & Culture Arrow to African ArtArt History Arrow to Asian Art Asian Art

buddhaRanging 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, Ming Dynasty, China
Snow Plums and Twin Cranes, Early Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wave, Edo Period, Japan
The Great Wave, Edo Period, Japan
woodblock print circa 1830.
Buddha and Two Disciples, Thailand
Buddha and Two
, 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.

Orientations - 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.

South Asian & Himalayan Art | Freer and Sackler Galleries - Browseable interface, special exhibit highlights, and more, focusing on the art and sculpture of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet.

Timeline 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.

The Chester Beatty Library - The East Asian Collections - A quiet introductory page giving way to a vivid image gallery with captioned histories.


also see in Travel -> Asia | South Asia


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