Jul 102010

>There is an online magazine called Humanities The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an organization devoted to funding arts and humanities programming in the United States. NEH sponsors exhibits and many online sources like research materials, online humanities projects, and newspaper archives from the nineteenth century to the present. For this assignment, I was to pick an article and review it…never having reviewed anything before this is new to me…hope it’s what the Prof wanted!

A review of Imperial Scrolls of China, HUMANITIES, November/December 2009 Volume 30, Number 6.
By Meredith Hindley

Meredith Hindley provides a look at the historical changes of Chinese art through two dynasties, from 1644-1911. This artwork depicts life in China as seen through the impartial eyes of the emperors. It is discovered that the scenes of the scrolls are most likely not accurate, that the people of China did not live as lavishly as the artists renderings show.

The art of China has undergone many changes in style and technique over the centuries. During the Qing dynasty most especially, this change is noted after the Kangxi, emperor of China went on a tour of China and to the top of Mount Tai. This journey is a traditional effort and a symbol of stability in the country.

Kangxi wanted to document his journey for posterity and decided to use scrolls to do this. The artist he commissioned to create the scrolls was Wang Hui. The work was commissioned several years after the tour, and because Wang was not a member of the tour, his work is a result of the diaries, poetry, and stories as told by those who attended the journey.

The scrolls are quite large,and when laid out end-to-end are the approximate length of three football fields. Wang had his own artistic style that was new to the area and the time and it is now called the Orthodox School. This style of art is a combination of styles from the Song dynasty and the brushwork of the Yuan dynasty.

Later, when Kangxi’s grandson, Qianlong took over as emporer of China, he too made tours to view his lands and people. He commissioned an artist by the name of Xu Yang to paint scrolls following the example of his grandfather. His style of artwork was different and once again changed the preferred style of art in China. The new artist used not only the Orthodox School styles of Wang, but also introduced the use of perspective used in other countries.

The scrolls are well-preserved and kept away from public view due to their fragile nature. They have been digitized and can be seen on a new NEH-supported website, Recording the Grandeur of the Qing (www.learn.columbia.edu/nanxuntu).

  •  July 10, 2010
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Being an adult is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane.

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