The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644, when the Manchu tribes of Manchuria invaded the northern portion of China, passed the Great Wall, and eventually captured the city of Beijing to start their own dynasty, the Qing Dynasty. The Qing dynasty was in place until 1911 at the end of the dynastic era. During their rule, the Manchu people brought their language and culture, but they adopted many practices from China, including styles of artwork. This time also brought relative stability to the country, which helped art to flourish, as many of the emperors during the dynasty were patrons of the arts.
Types of Art Prominent During the Qing Dynasty
Many different artists were working in a range of mediums during the Qing Dynasty. However, there were three main types, or categories, of artists that tend to be recognized today.
First, there were traditionalists. These were painters that took inspiration from the past to create modern reinterpretations. There were also the individualists, who are sometimes called scholar-artists. These artists believed in their individualism as an artist; they pursued art that was personal to them. Some of the well-known individualists include Gong Zia, who painted Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines, and Shitao, a Buddhist individualist. Other examples include Hong Ren and Kuncan.
Additionally, some professional artists were paid by the imperial court. These artists would often be tasked with capturing events that were important to the country in their artwork. One of the famous pieces of professional art by Yang Jun, one of the courtier artists, is called Emperor Kangxi Inspecting the Dams of the Yellow River. It was an ink and wash painting. In addition to native artists, the professional artists of the court would sometimes include foreign artists. The artists from other countries would also share and exchange techniques with Chinese artists.
Although those three main categories of art often dominate talk about work from the Qing Dynasty, there are many other types of art created during the period. For example, there were many Buddhist statues created during the Qing Dynasty, as well as new temples created. Many artifacts from this period still exist today, including the Lobsang Palden Yeshe.
Pottery also changed during the Qing Dynasty. Artists began using brighter colors on the vases and plates they were creating. Additionally, they would often paint detailed scenes on these pieces of pottery, which helped to give them more character and individuality. One of the reasons for the additional colors used during this period was the creation of an enamel called fencai. It allowed the porcelain craftspeople to have a wider range of tones and colors for their creations.
The decorative arts flourished during the Qing Dynasty, too. There was a wide range of items created during the period. Many of these pieces were for regular use or decorative use in palaces. Some of the types of work created include jewelry, lacquered furniture including thrones, and glasswork. Other artists used materials such as jade, bone, ivory, and various types of metals in their creations.
Jade carvers thrived during this dynasty. One of the reasons there are so many beautiful jade carvings from this period is due to the purchase of Jadeite from Burma. The jadeite comes in a wide range of colors including white, pale green, deep green, russet, and even lavender and pink.
There was a substantial amount of variety in the types of art that were created during this dynasty. Some pieces were traditional and that espoused the importance of academicism, as well as pieces that were purely beautiful pieces of décor. Some of the most famous artists during this period include Yuan Jiang and Jiao Bingzhen. Jiao Bingzhen would often use Western techniques in the drawings that he did. These drawings were very popular and were sometimes reproduced as wood engravings.
The period also included a group that became known as the Six Masters. This group included Yun Shouping and Wu Li, as well as the Four Wangs – a group of scholar-artists comprised of Wang Shimin, Wang Hui, Wang Yuanqi, and Wang Jian. There are many wonderful artists who emerged during this period.
A number of Qing Dynasty artists are still well-known and respected today. Others may have faded from sight or have always been more obscure. However, this doesn’t diminish their capabilities and artistic achievements. As art lovers start to look back and examine this period, they will continue to find new artists and pieces to love.
Where to Find Art from the Qing Dynasty Today?
Today, art from the Qing Dynasty is as popular as it has ever been. There are many places to see beautiful pieces of art from this period. The Met Museum, for example, has a range of paintings and pieces from popular artists. Some of the artwork includes Wangchuan Villa by Wang Yuanqi, The Sixteen Luohans by Shitao, Landscape in the Style of Huang Gongwang by Wang Shimin, and more.
The Smithsonian also featured an exhibit called “Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644 – 1912”. The exhibit included a range of decorative and fine art, personal objects, and costumes that were owned by empresses during the Qing Dynasty. Some of the interesting pieces included paintings of the empresses themselves. The exhibit ran until June 2019.
Purchasing Qing Dynasty Art
Of course, there are also many who have discerning tastes and who would like to own a part of history. There are often auctions that can provide access to paintings, pottery, drawings, and other pieces of artwork from the Qing Dynasty. Potential buyers will find that the typical prices associated with artwork from the dynasty can vary greatly. It will often depend on the type of work, the condition, and the artist.
Those who wish to add pieces from this dynasty to their private collections can start by working with some of the auction houses in Dania Beach, FL. Here people will find experts who can help them discover unique paintings and art objects available at auction.
Selling the Works from the Qing Dynasty?
Do you have works from the Qing Dynasty that you are interested in selling, appraising, or consigning? Call Joshua Kodner today, and ensure you receive the true value of your property.