Asian art

Early Development of Buddhists Art in China

longmen grottoes

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Buddhism was spread in China around the 1st century CE. Along with the teachings of Buddha, Indian Buddhist arts were also accepted in many parts of China. These art forms were later fused with strong Chinese traits to form localized Buddhist art.

Development of Buddhists Art in various Dynasties of China

giant buddha

Han Dynasty

The Buddhism in China was spread in this dynasty. It is the matter of debate between the historians that through which route did the Buddhism introduced in China. Whether it was from maritime or through land route. But the recent findings have suggested that the Buddhism was introduced in China from north-west India and through land route. After entering into China, Buddhism blended with early Daoism and Chinese traditional esoteric arts and so did the iconography. Therefore the localized form of art was developed.

Northern Dynasty

In the period of 5th to 6th centuries, the northern dynasties build more symbolic and abstract modes of arts. Their style of arts was also said to be solemn and majestic. Since this art form was far more diverse from the objective of the original Buddhist art form, this led to a change towards more naturalism and realism. Hence it led to the expression of Tang Buddhist art. Some of the pilgrimage sites constructed in Northern Wei Dynasty art form that is still preserved in the present context are; Yungang Grottoes, Longmen Grottoes, Bingling Temple, etc.

Sui Dynasty

During the period of Sui dynasty, Buddhism had gained a strong foothold in China. Sui dynasty helped to unify the Buddhist art in China even though it was the shortest dynasty to rule. The dynasty paved the way for the Buddhist art in the succeeding era of the Tang dynasty.

View our collections of statues and arts in our gallery

Tang Dynasty

Following Sui Dynasty, Buddha statues and Buddhist arts were evolved towards a lifelike expression unlike the art forms of Northern Dynasty. The reason behind these art form is due to influence of Gupta art form of India. Since numerous Chinese Buddhist monks traveled to India to learn teachings of Buddha, they were influenced by the art forms. When they returned their place, they began to continue the similar art form. These travels were possible due to the Tang dynasty's openness to foreign influences. But the foreign influences were perceived negatively towards the end of the Tang dynasty. In 845 CE, Wuzong, a Tang emperor outlawed all foreign religions in order to support the indigenous religion, Taoism. This decision greatly affects the flourish of Buddhism in China.

buddha

Song Dynasty

Under this dynasty, Chan Buddhism flourished for some centuries when Chan monasteries were great centers of culture and learnings. During this period, Chan monks painted Gongbi paintings in order to express the impact of enlightenment through their brushwork.

With the rise of Neo-Confucianism in the 12th century resulted in the criticism of these paintings. Therefore, the paintings were discarded and ignored. The school of Chan painting gradually diminished due to this event.

Qing Dynasty

In the early periods of Qing Dynasty, the emperors supported particular forms of Buddhism according to their beliefs and devotion. Shunzhi Emperor promoted Chan Buddhism while Kangxi Emperor promoted Tibetan Buddhism. However, Buddhist arts reached its height during the period of Qianlong Emperor. He ordered numerous religious works in Tibetan style. The artworks during this period were the fusion of Tibetan and Chinese artistic styles.

Qianlong Emperor also initiated a numerous large-scale construction projects. In 1744, he marked Yonghe Temple as Beijing's main Tibetan Buddhist monastery. He donated a various number of valuable religious paintings, antique Buddha statues, Buddhist inscriptions to the temple. Another project is Xumi Fushou Temple which houses Tibetan and Manchu artistic styles of Buddhist arts. The popularity of Tibetan Buddhism declined after the resignation of Qianlong Emperor in 1795.

Hence the Buddhist arts got its form and style in China through various dynasties.

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Our collections of Buddha statues and arts

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

275 euro
Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

Very early Jain statue with inscriptions

600 euro
Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Bronze Nepali Medicine Buddha statue

175 euro
Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Very special bronze Burmese Buddha statue

47,500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Ganesha statue

Old bronze Nepali Ganesha statue

350 euro
Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Old wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

800 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

500 euro
Old bronze Nepali Green Tara

Old bronze Nepali Green Tara

1,350 euro
Special antique marble Jain statue

Special antique marble Jain statue

2,750 euro
Old red Burmese offering vessel

Old red Burmese offering vessel

750 euro
Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

Special antique bronze Shan Buddha statue

7,500 euro
Old marble Hanuman statue

Old marble Hanuman statue

650 euro
Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Old bronze Burmese Buddha statue

500 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha statue

1,850 euro
Old bronze Manjushri statue

Old bronze Manjushri statue

550 euro
Old bronze nepali Ganesha statue

Old bronze nepali Ganesha statue

250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Lokeshwor statue

Old bronze Nepali Lokeshwor statue

1,750 euro
Old bronze Parvati statue

Old bronze Parvati statue

900 euro
Old bronze Nepali White Tara statue

Old bronze Nepali White Tara statue

325 euro
Antique marble Ganesha statue

Antique marble Ganesha statue

2,850 euro
Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

Old marble Burmese Buddha statue

900 euro
Old Burmese Buddha statue

Old Burmese Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Pair of old marble lion statues

Pair of old marble lion statues

700 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
Special antique Ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

Special antique Ivory Japanese Zushi shrine

14,500 euro
Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

Antique bronze Thai Sukhothai Buddha statue

1,600 euro
Antique ivory Japanese figure

Antique ivory Japanese figure

1,500 euro
Old wooden Burmese Monk statue

Old wooden Burmese Monk statue

300 euro
Old wooden Burmese Throne

Old wooden Burmese Throne

1,250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

600 euro
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