Ancient China Art Essay

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Material culture has existed in China for thousands of years, and despite the Bronze Age arriving relatively later in China than most of the world, China soon became a country of master bronze craftsmen with their own unique moulding technique, eventually leading to the mass production of elaborate material goods.

Bronze was initially used to craft weapons from in China, and was first found being used for this in the Shang dynasty, where the main weapons that were made and used were bronze halberds (axe-like weapons) and spears (Tregear, 2003: 21).

Additional to the common motifs found on ancient Chinese bronze vessels, the vessels are heavily decorated with angular spirals (Ledderose, 2000: 32).

These spirals fill the entire outside of the vessel, and are of varying size so as to fit into particular places on the object.

The resulting hardened cakes or sticks can then be ground against a stone and mixed with water, a process that allows the calligrapher to control the thickness of the ink and density of the pigment.

Eventually ink cakes and ink sticks themselves became a decorative art form, and many well-known artists created designs and patterns for their molds.

The invention of paper is widely appreciated as one of China's major technological contributions to the world.

Tradition credits the discovery of the process to Cai Lun in 105 C.

How one wrote, in fact, was as important as what one wrote.

To understand how calligraphy came to occupy such a prominent position, it is necessary to consider a variety of factors, such as the materials used in calligraphy and the nature of the Chinese written script as well as the esteem in which writing and literacy are held in traditional China. Shang kings used these objects in important divination rituals, and some scholars have argued that this early association of writing with ritual and political authority helps to account for the special status conferred upon those who could read and write.


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