The Different Types of Chinese Arts & Crafts
China has been recognized as one of the first great civilizations of the Eastern world, long before many countries even existed in Western Europe. They rival the ancients Greeks for their great arts and crafts. And many innovate ideas culturally and physically emanated from the great dynasties of China. Their inventions stunned the world such as gunpowder and paper and they were crafting many creative ideas before other cultures evolved.
The Chinese culture dates back almost five thousand years, and many of the arts and crafts in China represent the people’s love for aesthetic beauty. Chinese master artisans have handed down their knowledge from one generation to the next and their skills extend to opera, painting, music, porcelain, silk, kites, jade, lacquer wear, calligraphy, pottery, paper folding and bronze.
When China evolved from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age, they were already becoming a sophisticated nation. The crafted wondrous works of art out of bronze that were actually used in everyday life. These utensils had splendid motifs and designs etched onto them even if they were only household items. The best examples of bronze art are for their ceremonial offerings, weapons, and musical instruments.
Calligraphy in China is absolutely at another level compared to other cultures. Perhaps only Japan can rival their neighbors in this most fantastic art form. Calligraphy is termed as The Four Treasures of Studyin China. Namely ink, paper, ink slab, and writing stick. And these four core items are the essentials for a good scholar.
Cloisonne is an artwork that pertains to enamel. And it dates as far back as the Yuan Dynasty but possibly the best known cloisonne work came out of the Ming Dynasty between 1368 to 1644. Cloisonne from China is easy to spot as predominately it is bright blue or a particular favorite Jintai Blue. And artists would add delicate copper designs by either welding or gently hammering bronze motifs onto the pieces.
Jade work in China has a history that dates back four thousand years and it considered some of the very best in the world. Not only is it highly decorative it has great symbolism to the Chinese people and represents grace and dignity. Mainly it is fashioned into jewelry, but jade work can also be seen in highly decorative rooms.
Chinese embroidery is considered a great skill and the earliest forms have been dated back to the 16th Century BC from the Shang Dynasty. There are four major styles of Chinese embroidery, Yue, Xiang, Shu, and Su. Many of the ethnic people in China are among the greatest artisans of this craft.
Opera in China has been classed is one of the three oldest art forms that ever existed. Chinese opera is far different to that of what Western people would consider as opera. The three basic elements that form Chinese opera are literature, art, and then music. The opera is embellished by acrobats and characters with unique facial masks and make up.
These arts and crafts only touch on the great artistic legacy that China has left the world. There is also pottery, fine porcelain, shadow puppetry, and of course silk. As a multifaceted nation, China in many ways has led the world in developing many arts and crafts that otherwise may have never seen the light of day.