arts, East Asian


arts, East Asian

Introduction

      music and visual and performing arts of China, Korea, and Japan. The literatures of these countries are covered in the articles Chinese literature, Korean literature, and Japanese literature.

      Some studies of East Asia also include the cultures of the Indochinese peninsula and adjoining islands, as well as Mongolia to the north. The logic of this occasional inclusion is based on a strict geographic definition as well as a recognition of common bonds forged through the acceptance of Buddhism by many of these cultures. China, Korea, and Japan, however, have been uniquely linked for several millennia by a common written language and by broad cultural and political connections that have ranged in spirit from the uncritically adorational to the contentious.

      From ancient times, China has been the dominant and referential culture in East Asia. Although variously developed Neolithic cultures existed on the Korean Peninsula and on the Japanese archipelago, archaeological evidence in the form of worked stone and blades from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods suggests an exchange between the early East Asian cultures and the early introduction of Chinese influence. This cultural interaction was facilitated in part by land bridges that connected Japan with the continent.

      Significant developments in the production of earthenware vessels from about 10,000 BC in Japan (thus far, the world's earliest dated pottery) and from approximately 3500 BC in Korea are well documented. They reveal a rich symbolic vocabulary and decorative sense as well as a highly successful union of function and dynamic form. These types of vessels chronicle the increasing needs for storage as there was a gradual societal transformation from nomadic and foraging cultures to more sedentary crop-producing cultures. There were pottery-dominant cultures in China as well. The painted (c. 5000 BC) and black (c. 2500 BC) earthenware are the best known.

      As Korea and Japan continued in various Neolithic phases, developments in China from approximately 2000 BC were far more complex and dramatic. Archaeological evidence firmly corroborates the existence of an emerging bronze culture by approximately 2000 BC. This culture provided the base for Shang dynasty (approximately from the 16th to the 11th century BC) culture, which witnessed extraordinary developments in the production of bronze, stone, ceramic, and jade artifacts as well as the development of a pictograph-based written language. Bronze production and the expansion of rice cultivation gradually appeared in Korea from approximately 700 BC and then slightly later in Japan. While no single political event seemed to further the transmission of Chinese cultural elements to Korea and Japan, clearly the expansionist policies of the rulers of the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) stimulated what had been a gradual assimilation of Chinese cultural elements by both Korea and Japan. Indicatively, it is from this period that Chinese documentation of legation visits to Japan provide the first written records describing the structure of Japanese society.

      The cultures of China, Korea, and Japan went on, from this period of interaction during the Han dynasty, to develop in quite distinctive ways. China, for example, experienced two major dynasties, the Han and the T'ang (618–907), that were truly international in scope and easily rivaled contemporary Mediterranean powers. In succeeding dynasties, including rule by foreign invaders from the north, the development of the visual arts continued to explore and develop the basic media for which the Chinese demonstrated special affinity: clay, jade, lacquer, bronze, stone, and the various manifestations of the brush, especially in calligraphy and painting. Emphases shifted, as did styles, but the fundamental symbolic vocabulary and a predisposition to renew through reinterpretation and reverence of the past was characteristic not only of Chinese but of all the East Asian arts.

      Korea's pivotal location gave it particular strategic value and thus made it the target of subjugation by a stronger China and Japan. But Korea strove to maintain its own identity and to prevent China and Japan from exercising control over more than a small portion of the peninsula. National contributions to the larger aesthetic culture of East Asia included unequaled mastery of goldsmithing and design as well as a ceramic tradition that included delicate celadon ware and a vigorous folk ware that inspired generations of Japanese tea masters. Indeed, Korea was a primary conduit of continental culture to the Japanese in many areas of visual expression, including metalwork, painting, and ceramics.

      In the late 13th century, Mongol forces made two unsuccessful attempts at invading the Japanese islands, and the country was spared occupation by a foreign power until well into the 20th century. This unusual condition of comparative isolation provided Japanese cultural arbiters with a relative freedom to select or reject outside styles and trends. Nevertheless, Chinese art's highly developed, systematic forms of expression, coupled with its theoretical basis in religion and philosophy, proved enormously forceful, and Chinese styles dominated at key junctures in Japanese history. The reception and assimilation of outside influence followed by a vigorous assertion of national styles thus characterized the cycle of Japanese cultural development. In addition to distinctive reinterpretations of Chinese ink monochrome painting and calligraphy, an indigenous taste for the observation and depiction of human activity and an exquisitely nuanced sense of design are readily apparent in most areas of Japanese visual expression, none more so than in narrative painting and in the woodblock print.

      The elements and tendencies common to the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures are vast, but two kinds of visual expression are especially important: a strong affinity for the clay-formed vessel and calligraphic expression through the ink-charged brush. Vigorous, subtle, and technically sophisticated expressions ranging from Neolithic earthenware to celadon and glazed enamelware were both integral to daily life and prized by connoisseurs who judged ceramics by an elaborate code of appreciation. Increasingly abstracted forms of pictographs provided a means of writing that was image-based; characters formed by the brush could be normative but also offered infinite possibilities for personal expression through ink modulation and idiosyncratic gesture. Although Korea and Japan later developed phonetic syllabaries, the visual language of the educated continued to be based on the ancestral Chinese form. The meanings of words, phrases, or whole texts could be expanded or nuanced by their visual renderings. Painting was derivative from calligraphy, and implicit in painting skill was a preceding mastery of the brush-rendered calligraphic line. As a consequence, calligraphy was unequaled as the major element in the transmission of cultural values, whether as information or as aesthetic expression.

      The influence of Buddhism, a force which was initially foreign to East Asia, also should not be underestimated. Emerging from India and Central Asia in the first century after nearly 500 years of development on the subcontinent, Buddhism offered a convincing universalist system of belief that assimilated and frequently gave visual expression to indigenous religions. By the 5th century AD, a Chinese dynastic line had adopted Buddhism as a religion of state. While individual rulers, courts, or dynasties at times propelled the florescence of East Asian arts, none of them equaled the patronage of Buddhism in duration, scale, and intellectual sustenance. Confucianism, Taoism, and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Shintō required expression through the arts; however, Buddhism's multiple sects, complex iconography, and program of proselytizing made it the natural and dominant vehicle of transcultural influence in East Asia.

      The unity and diversity of the three East Asian cultures are explored in greater depth in the article, which treats both the visual and the performing arts.

James T. Ulak

Chinese visual arts (art)
      The present political boundaries of China, which include Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang, and the northeastern provinces formerly called Manchuria, embrace a far larger area of East Asia than will be discussed here. “China Proper,” as it has been called, consists of 18 historical provinces bounded by the Tibetan Highlands on the west, the Gobi to the north, and Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Vietnam to the southwest; and it is primarily the arts of this area that will be treated here.

      The first communities that can be identified culturally as Chinese were settled chiefly in the basin of the Huang Ho (Yellow River). Gradually they spread out, influencing other tribal cultures, until, by the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), most of China proper was dominated by the culture that had been formed in the “cradle” of northern Chinese civilization. Over this area there slowly spread a common written language, as well as a common belief in the power of heaven and the ancestral spirits to influence the living and in the importance of ceremony and sacrifice to achieve harmony among heaven, nature, and humankind. These beliefs were to have a great influence on the character of Chinese art.

      Chinese civilization, contrary to the popular notion, is by no means the oldest in the world: those of Mesopotamia and Egypt are far older. But, while the early Western cultures died, became stagnant, or were transformed to the point of breaking all continuity, that of China has grown continuously from prehistoric settlements into the great civilization of today.

      The Chinese themselves were among the most historically conscious of all the major civilizations and were intensely aware of the strength and continuity of their cultural tradition. They viewed history as a cycle of decline and renewal associated with the succession of ruling dynasties. Both the political fragmentation and social and economic chaos of decline and the vigour of dynastic rejuvenation could stimulate and colour important artistic developments. Thus, it is quite legitimate to think of the history of Chinese art, as the Chinese themselves do, primarily in terms of the styles of successive dynasties.

General characteristics
Aesthetic characteristics and artistic traditions

Art as a reflection of Chinese class structure
      One of the outstanding characteristics of Chinese art is the extent to which it reflects the class structure that has existed at different times in Chinese history. Up to the Warring States period (475–221 BC), the arts were produced by anonymous craftsmen for the royal and feudal courts. During the Warring States and the Han dynasty, the growth of a landowning and merchant class brought new patrons; and after the Han there began to emerge the concept of “fine art” as the product of the leisure of the educated gentry, many of whom were amateur practitioners of the arts of poetry, music, calligraphy, and, eventually, painting. At this time a distinction began to arise between the lower-class professional and the elite amateur artist that was to have a great influence on the character of Chinese art in later times. Gradually one tradition became increasingly identified with the artists and craftsmen who worked for the court or sold their work for profit. Identified with another tradition, the scholarly amateurs looked upon such people with some contempt, and the art of the literati became increasingly refined and rarefied to the point that, from the Sung dynasty (960–1279) onward, an assumed awkwardness in technique was admired as a mark of the amateur and gentleman. One effect of the revolutions of the 20th century has been the breaking down of the class barriers between amateur and professional and even, during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966–76, an emphasis on anonymous, proletarian-made art like that of the T'ang dynasty (618–907) and earlier.

The role of calligraphy in Chinese art
      Since the 3rd century AD, calligraphy, or writing as a fine art, has been considered supreme among the visual arts in China. Not only does it require immense skill and fine judgment, but it is regarded as uniquely revealing of the character and breadth of cultivation of the writer. Since the time when inscribed oracle bones and tortoise shells (China's oldest extant writing) were used for divination in the Shang dynasty (16th to 11th centuries BC), calligraphy has been associated with spiritual communication and has been viewed in terms of the writer's own spiritual attunement. To fully appreciate calligraphy, as to produce it, requires lofty personal qualities and unusual aesthetic sensitivity. To understand its finer points requires experience and sensibility of a high order.

      The Chinese painter (painting, Western) uses essentially the same materials as the calligrapher—brush, ink, and silk or paper—and the Chinese judge his work by the same criteria, basically the vitality and expressiveness of the brushstroke itself and the harmonious rhythm of the whole composition. Painting in China, therefore, is essentially a linear art. The painters of most periods were concerned less with striving for originality or conveying a sense of reality and three-dimensional mass through such aids as shading and perspective, concentrating instead on transmitting to silk or paper, through the rhythmic movement of the brushstroke, an awareness of the inner life of things.

      The aesthetics of line in calligraphy and painting have had a significant influence on the other arts in China. In the motifs that adorn the ritual bronzes, in the flow of the drapery over the surface of Buddhist sculpture, in the decoration of lacquerware, pottery, and cloisonné enamel (wares decorated with enamel of different colours separated by strips of metal), it is the rhythmic movement of the line, following the natural movement of the artist's or craftsman's hand, that to a large extent determines the form and gives to Chinese art as a whole its remarkable harmony and unity of style. (For information about Chinese calligraphy, see the article calligraphy: East Asian calligraphy.)

Characteristic themes and symbols
      In early times this sense of attunement involved submission to the Will of Heaven through ritual and sacrifice, and it was the function of Chinese art to serve these ends. Archaic bronze vessels were made for sacrifices to heaven and to the spirits of clan ancestors, who were believed to influence the living for good if the rites were properly and regularly performed. Chinese society, basically agricultural, has always laid great stress on the need for humans to understand the pattern of nature and to live in accordance with it. The world of nature was seen as the visible manifestation of the workings of the Great Ultimate through the generative interaction of the yin-yang (female-male) dualism. As it developed, the purpose of Chinese art turned from propitiation and sacrifice to the expression of human understanding of these forces through the painting of landscape, bamboo, birds, and flowers. This might be called the metaphysical, Taoist aspect of Chinese painting.

      Particularly in early times, art also had social and moral functions. The earliest paintings referred to in ancient texts depicted on the walls of palaces and ancestral halls benevolent emperors, sages, virtuous ministers, loyal generals, and their evil opposites as examples and warnings to the living. Portrait painting also had this moral function, depicting not the features of the subject so much as his character and his role in society. Court painters were called upon to depict auspicious and memorable events. This was the ethical, Confucian function of painting.

      High religious art as such is foreign to China. Popular folk religion was seldom an inspiration to great works of art, and Buddhism, which indeed produced many masterpieces of a special kind, was a foreign importation.

      Human relationships have always been of supreme importance in China, and a common theme of figure painting is that of gentlemen enjoying scholarly pursuits together or the poignant partings and infrequent reunions that were the lot of officials whose appointments took them the length and breadth of the country.

      Among the typical themes of Chinese art there is no place for war, violence, the nude, death, or martyrdom. Nor is inanimate matter ever painted for art's sake: the very rocks and streams are felt to be alive, visible manifestations of the invisible forces of the universe. No theme would be accepted in Chinese art that was not inspiring, noble, refreshing to the spirit, or at least charming. Nor is there any place in the Chinese artistic tradition for an art of pure form divorced from content, and the Chinese cannot conceive of a work of art of which the form is beautiful while the subject matter is unedifying. In the broadest sense, therefore, all Chinese art is symbolic, for everything that is painted reflects some aspect of a totality of which the painter is intuitively aware. At the same time Chinese art is full of symbols of a more specific kind, some with various possible meanings. bamboo suggests the spirit of the scholar, which can be bent by circumstance but never broken, and jade symbolizes purity and indestructibility. The dragon, in remote antiquity perhaps an alligator or rain deity, is the wholly benevolent symbol of the emperor; the crane, of long life; paired mandarin ducks, of wedded fidelity. Popular among the many symbols drawn from the plant world are the orchid, a Confucian symbol of purity and loyalty; the winter plum, which blossoms even in the snow and stands for irrepressible purity, in either a revolutionary political or a spiritual sense; and the gnarled pine tree, which may represent either survival in a harsh political environment or the unconquerable spirit of old age.

General media characteristics

      Because the Chinese build chiefly in timber, which is vulnerable to fire and the ravages of time, very little ancient architecture has survived. The oldest datable timber building is the small main hall of the Nan-ch'an Temple, on Mount Wu-t'ai in Shansi province, built sometime before 782 and restored in that year. Brick and stone are used for defensive walls, the arch for gates and bridges, and the vault for tombs. Only rarely has the corbeled dome (in which each successive course projects inward from the course below it) been used for temples and tombs. Single-story architecture predominates throughout northern and much of eastern China, although multistory building techniques date to the late Chou dynasty (11th century–255 BC).

      The basic elements in a Chinese timber (wood) building are the platform of pounded earth faced with stone or tile on which the building stands; the post-and-lintel frame (vertical posts topped by horizontal tie beams); the roof-supporting brackets and truss; and the tiled roof itself. The walls (wall) between the posts, or columns, are not load-bearing, and the intercolumnar bays (bay) (odd-numbered along the front of the building) may be filled by doors (usually doubled) or by brick or such material as bamboo wattle faced with plaster, or they may be left open to create peristyles. The flexible triangular truss is placed transverse to the front side of the building and defines a gable-type roof by means of a stepped-up series of elevated tie beams (t'ai-liang, for which this entire system of architecture is named); the beams are sequentially shortened and alternate with vertical struts that bear the roof purlins and the main roof beam. The flexible proportions of the gable-end framework of struts and beams permits the roof to take any profile desired, typically a low and rather straight silhouette in northern China before the Sung, and increasingly elevated and concave in the Sung, Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing. The gable-end framework is typically moved inward in a prominent building and partially masked in a hip-and-gable (or half-hip) roof and completely masked in a full-hipped roof. The timber building is limited in depth by the span of the truss; in theory, however, it may be of any length, although it rarely exceeds 11 bays in practice.

      The origin of the distinctive curve of the roof, which first appeared in China about the 6th century AD, is not fully understood, although a number of theories have been put forward. The most likely is that it was borrowed, for purely aesthetic reasons, from China's Southeast Asian neighbours, who cover their houses with atap (leaves of the nipa palm) or split bamboo, which tend to sag naturally, presenting a picturesque effect. The swept up eaves at the corners of the Chinese roof, however, do have a structural function in reducing what would otherwise be an excessive overhang at that point.

 In the “pavilion concept,” whereby each building is conceived of as a freestanding rectilinear unit, flexibility in the overall design is achieved by increasing the number of such units, which are arranged together with open, connecting galleries around courtyards; diversity is achieved through design variations that individualize these courtyard complexes. In the private house or mansion, the grouping of halls and courtyards is informal, apart from the axial arrangement of the entrance court with its main hall facing the gateway; but in a palace such as the gigantic Forbidden City in Peking, the principal halls are ranged with their courtyards behind one another on a south-to-north axis, building up to a ceremonial climax and dying away to lesser courts and buildings to the north. Ancestral halls and temples follow the palatial arrangement. The scale of a building, the number of bays, the unit of measure used for the timbers, whether bracketing is included or not, and the type of roof (gabled, half- or full-hipped, with or without prominent decorative ridge-tiling and prominent overhang) all accord with the placement and significance of the building within a courtyard arrangement, with the relative importance of that courtyard within a larger compound, and with the absolute status of the whole building complex. The entire system, therefore, is modular and highly standardized.

      The domination of the roof allows little variation in the form of the individual building; thus, aesthetic subtlety is concentrated in pleasing proportions and in details such as the roof brackets or the plinths supporting the columns. T'ang (Tang dynasty) architecture achieved a “classic” standard, with massive proportions yet simple designs in which function and form were fully harmonized. Architects in the Sung dynasty (Song dynasty) were much more adventurous in playing with interlocking roofs and different levels than were their successors in later centuries. The beauty of the architecture of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and Ch'ing dynasty (Qing dynasty) (1644–1911/12) lies rather in the lightweight effect and the richness of painted decoration.

Painting and calligraphy
      The character of Chinese painting and calligraphy is closely bound up with the nature of the medium. The basic material is ink, formed into a short stick of hardened pine soot and glue, which is rubbed to the required consistency on an inkstone with a little water. The calligrapher or painter uses a pointed-tipped brush made of the hair of goat, deer, or wolf set in a shaft of bamboo. He writes or paints on a length of silk or a sheet of paper, the surface of which is absorbent, allowing no erasure or correction. He must therefore know beforehand what he intends to do, and the execution demands confidence, speed, and a mastery of technique acquired only by long practice. For example, to broaden the brush stroke, the calligrapher or painter applies downward pressure on the brush. Such subtle action of the highly flexible but carefully controlled brush tip determines the dynamic character of the brushwork and is the primary focus of attention of both the artist and critical viewers.

      In painting, colour is added, if at all, to make the effect more true to life or to add decorative accent and rarely as a structural element in the design, as in Western art. Brighter, more opaque pigments derived from mineral sources (blue from azurite, green from malachite, red from cinnabar or lead, yellow from orpiment or ochre, all produced in various intensities) are preferred for painting on silk, while translucent vegetable pigments predominate in painting on paper (indigo blue, red from safflower or madder, vegetable green, rattan and sophora plant yellow) and produce a lighter, more delicate effect.

      While painting on dry plaster walls or screens is an ancient art in China, more common formats in the past millennium have been the vertical hanging scroll (scroll painting), perhaps derived from the Buddhist devotional banner, and the horizontal hand scroll, which may be of any length up to about 15 metres (50 feet). Other forms are fan painting and the album leaf. The artist's carefully placed signature, inscription, and seals are an integral part of the composition. In Chinese eyes a picture may gain considerably in interest and value from the colophons (colophon) added by later connoisseurs on the painting itself or, in the case of a hand scroll, mounted after it. The mounting of paintings and calligraphy is a highly skilled craft and, if carefully done, will enhance the appearance of a scroll and ensure its preservation for many centuries.

      Sculpture in China has never been considered one of the fine arts because it involves physical labour, which was not thought a proper occupation for a gentleman.With rare exceptions, sculptors were regarded as mere craftsmen, and very few of their names are known. Works of sculpture were created not (like paintings) as art objects in themselves but for a specific ceremonial, religious, or funerary purpose. While small figures were carved in stone in the Shang dynasty, large-scale stone sculpture is a later development, possibly stimulated by contacts with western Asia in the Han dynasty. Major works of religious sculpture did not appear until Buddhism had taken firm root in northern China after the Han dynasty.

      More truly Chinese than stone carving is the tradition of clay modeling and its derivative, bronze casting. Tomb figurines of remarkable plasticity and liveliness were made from the Ch'in dynasty (221–206 BC) through the T'ang dynasty, while some temple sculpture was carried out on a large scale in clay, using straw or cotton as a binder. The aesthetic of the fluid medium of clay modeling, which follows the natural movement of the craftsman's hand and arm, is influenced by that of painting and calligraphy, which even affected the more intractable media of stone and wood carving.

      In Sung and later times, the distinctive, abstract medium of assembling stones as “false mountains” (chia-shan) in royal parks and scholars' gardens came to the forefront of the Chinese sculptural arts.

jade, lacquer, textiles, and other media
      Other major art forms (decorative art) of China include pottery, jade carving, metalwork (including gold (goldwork) and silver (silverwork) inlay and cloisonné enamel), textiles, and lacquerware. In several of these, China can claim a long priority over the rest of the world. True pottery glazes were developed in China before the end of the 2nd millennium BC and porcelain by the 6th century, more than 1,000 years before its discovery in Europe; jade carving, sericulture (the raising of silkworms), and weaving of silk go back to Neolithic times and lacquer painting to the Shang dynasty. Bronze casting, while not so ancient as that of the Middle East, reached by 1000 BC a perfection of beauty and craftsmanship not matched in the ancient Western world. In point of style, all these arts share with sculpture a debt to pictorial art and an aesthetic based on the rhythmic movement of the line.

      Jade occupies a special place in Chinese artistic culture, valued as gold is in the West but hallowed with even loftier moral connotations. The Shuo-wen chieh-tzu (“Discussions of Writings and Explanations of Characters”) of Hsü Shen defined jade () as follows:

A stone that is beautiful, it has five virtues. There is warmth in its lustre and brilliance; this is its quality of kindness; its soft interior may be viewed from the outside revealing [the goodness] within; this is its quality of rectitude; its tone is tranquil and high and carries far and wide; this is its quality of wisdom; it may be broken but cannot be twisted; this is its quality of bravery; its sharp edges are not intended for violence; this is its quality of purity.
(Translation adapted from Cheng Te-k'un.)

      Because of this and the belief in its indestructibility, jade from early times was lavishly used not only for dress ornaments but also for ritual objects, both Confucian and Taoist, and for the protection of the dead in the tomb.

 The jade stone used since ancient times in China is nephrite, a crystalline calcium magnesium silicate, which in its pure state is white but may be green, cream, yellow, brown, gray, black, or mottled owing to the presence of impurities, chiefly iron compounds. Generically, the Chinese used the term to cover a variety of related “jade” stones, including nephrite, bowenite, and jadeite. In the Neolithic Period, by the mid-4th millennium BC, jade from Lake T'ai (in Kiangsu province) began to be used by southeastern culture groups, while deposits along the Liao River in the northeast (called “Hsiu-yen jade,” probably bowenite) were utilized by the Hung-shan culture. In historic times, China's chief source of nephrite has been the riverbeds of Yarkand and Ho-t'ien in present-day Sinkiang autonomous region in northwestern China, where jade is found in the form of boulders. Since the 18th century, China has received from northern Myanmar (upper Burma) a brilliant green jadeite (also called fei-tsui, or “kingfisher-feathers”) that is a granular sodium-aluminum silicate harder than but not quite so tough as nephrite. Having a hardness like that of steel or feldspar, jade cannot be carved or cut with metal tools but has to be laboriously drilled, ground, or sawed with an abrasive paste and rotational or repetitive-motion machinery, usually after being reduced to the form of blocks or thin slabs (see photograph—>).

      The Chinese had discovered as early as the Shang dynasty that the juice of the lac tree, a naturally occurring polymer, could be used for forming hard but lightweight vessels when built up in very thin layers through the repeated dipping of a core of carved wood, bamboo, or cloth. With the addition of pigments, most commonly red and black, less frequently green and yellow, it could also be used for painting and decorating the outer layers of these vessels. Being sticky, painted lacquer must be applied slowly with the brush, giving rise to prolonged motions and fluid, often elegantly curvilinear designs. Since lacquer is almost totally impervious to water, vessels and wine cups have been excavated in perfect condition from waterlogged graves of the late-5th-century-BC Tseng state in Sui-hsien, of the 4th–3rd-century-BC Ch'u state in Chiang-ling (now Sha-shih), and of the early-2nd-century-BC Han dynasty in Ch'ang-sha. Such works ranged from large-scale coffins to bird- or animal-shaped drum stands to such daily utensils as nested toiletry boxes and food-serving implements. By the Warring States period, lacquerwork had developed into a major industry; and, being approximately 10 times more costly than their bronze equivalents, lacquer vessels came to rival bronzes as the most esteemed medium for providing offerings in ancestral ceremonies among the wealthy aristocracy.

      It was the Chinese who first discovered that the roughly 1 kilometre (1,000 yards) of thread that constitutes the cocoon of the silkworm (silk), Bombyx mori, could be reeled off, spun, and woven; and sericulture early became an important feature of Chinese rural economy. Its place in Chinese culture is indicated by the legend that it was the wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, Huang-ti, who taught the Chinese people the art and by the fact that in historic times the empress was ceremonially associated with it. The weaving of damask probably existed in the Shang dynasty, and the 4th–3rd-century-BC tombs at Ma-shan near Chiang-ling (Hupeh province, excavated in 1982) have provided outstanding examples of brocade, gauze, and embroidery with pictorial designs as well as the first complete garments. Although transportation westward across Central Asia's trade route brought Chinese silks to many parts of the Mediterranean region, the knowledge of silk production techniques did not reach the area until the 6th century AD.

Stylistic and historical development to AD 220
Formative period
      The earliest evidence for art in any form in ancient China consists of crude cord-marked pottery and artifacts decorated with geometric designs found in Mesolithic sites in northern China and in the Kwangtung-Kwangsi regions. The dating for prehistoric culture in China is still very uncertain, but this material is probably at least 7,000 or 8,000 years old. The art of the Neolithic Period represents a considerable advance. The Yang-shao, or Painted Pottery, culture (named after the first Neolithic site discovered, in 1920), which had its centre around the eastern bend of the Huang Ho (Huang He), is now known to have extended across northern China and up into Kansu province. Yang-shao pottery consists chiefly of full-bodied funerary storage jars made by the coiling, or ring, method. They are decorated, generally on the upper half only, with a rich variety of geometric designs, whorls, volutes, and sawtooth patterns executed in black and red pigment with a brush whose sweeping, rhythmic lines foreshadow the free brush painting of historic periods. Some of the pottery from the village site of Pan-p'o (c. 4500 BC), discovered in 1953 near Sian in Shensi, bear schematized fish, bird, deer, and plant designs, which are related thematically to hunting and gathering, and what may be a human face or mask. Dating for the dominant phase of Yang-shao culture may be put roughly between 5000 and 3000 BC. Over this span of two millennia the Yang-shao culture progressed generally westward along the Huang Ho and Wei River valleys from sites in central China, Kansu province, such as Pan-p'o, to sites including Miao-ti-kou, Ma-chia-yao, Pan-shan, and Ma-ch'ang. The art produced at these villages exhibits a clear and logical stylistic evolution, leading from representational designs to linear abstraction (the latter with occasional symbolic references).

      The last major phase of the Neolithic Period is represented by Lung-shan culture (Longshan culture), distinguished particularly by the black pottery of its later stages (c. 2200–1700 BC). Lung-shan is named after the site of its discovery in 1928, in Shantung province, although evidence increasingly suggests origins to the south along the China coast, in Kiangsu province. Its remains are widely distributed, in some sites lying directly over a Painted Pottery stratum, indicating that the Lung-shan culture replaced the Yang-shao. In other areas a mixed culture, including elements of both Yang-shao and Lung-shan, occurs between these stages. This culture is called “Lung-shanoid” or Ch'i-chia-p'ing (Qijia culture), after one of the sites in Hupeh. By contrast with the Yang-shao, the fully developed Lung-shan pottery is wheel-made and especially thinly potted. The finest specimens have a dark gray or black body burnished to a hard, smooth surface that is occasionally incised but never painted, giving it a metallic appearance. The occasional use of open-worked design and the simulation of lugs and folded plating all suggest the highly skilled imitation, in an inexhaustible medium, of valuable copper wares which, although no longer extant, heralded the transition from a lithic to a metallic culture. At this point, the superior calibre of Chinese ceramics was first attained.

      In Yang-shao pottery, emphasis was on funerary wares. The delicate potting of the Lung-shan ware and the prevalence of offering stands and goblets suggest that these vessels were made not for burial but for sacrificial rites connected with the worship of ancestral spirits. Ritual vessels, oracle bones (used by shamans in divination), ceremonial jade objects and ornaments, and architecture (pounded-earth foundations, protective city walls, rectilinear organization) reflect an advanced material culture on the threshold of the Bronze Age. This culture continued in outlying areas long after the coming of bronze technology to the central Honan–Shensi–southern Shansi region.

      The earliest examples of jade from the lower Yangtze River region appear in the latter phases of Ma-chia-pang culture (c. 5100–3900 BC) and continue into the 4th–3rd millennia BC in the Sung-tse and Ch'ing-lien-kang cultures of that region. Remarkably sophisticated jade pieces appear after 2500 BC in the Liang-chu culture of southern Kiangsu and northern Chekiang provinces (c. 3400–2200 BC), many with an apparent lack of wear and practical usage that suggests a primarily ceremonial function. These include the first examples of the flat, perforated pi (bi) disk, which became the symbol of heaven in later times, and of the ts'ung (cong), a tube with a square exterior and cylindrical hollow centre. These two items remained part of the Chinese Imperial paraphernalia until the early 20th century. The precise meaning of the ts'ung and its possible association with astronomical sighting or geomantic site selection or its conjunction of yin (square, earth, female) and yang (circular, heaven, male) features remains unclear. Also present at this time, in the Liang-chu and the Shantung province Lung-shan cultures, are ceremonial kuei and chang blades and axes, as well as an increasing variety of ornamental arc-shaped and circular jade pendants, necklaces, and bracelets (often in animal form), together with the significant appearance of mask decoration, all of which link these Neolithic jades to those of the subsequent Shang period.

Shang dynasty (16th to 11th centuries BC)
      Although Chinese legends speak of the Hsia dynasty, the Shang is the first whose existence is attested by archaeological and contemporary written records. Its origins are obscure. The Shang capital was reportedly moved on a number of occasions. Erh-li-t'ou, discovered near the modern city of Lo-yang in Honan province, may represent the earliest named Shang capital, Po, if not a still earlier Hsia dynasty site. A “palace” with pounded-earth foundation, fine jades, simple bronze vessels, and oracle bones have all been found there, but the question of whether this represents the Shang dynasty or its predecessor remains uncertain for lack of any written materials. At Erh-li-kang, in the Cheng-chou area in Honan province, traces have been found of a walled city that may have been the middle Shang capital referred to as Ao. Yin (Anyang), the most enduring of Shang capital sites, lasting through the reigns of the last 9 (or 12) Shang kings, was located near the modern city of An-yang, in Honan province. Its discovery in 1899 by paleographers following the tracks of tomb robbers opened the way to verification of traditional accounts of the Shang dynasty and for the first scientific examination of China's early civilization. Here, recorded on oracle bones, the written documentation for the first time is rich, archival, and wide-ranging regarding activities of the theocratic Shang government. Excavations conducted near An-yang between 1928 and 1937 provided the initial training ground for modern Chinese archaeology and continued periodically after 1949. No fewer than 14 royal tombs have been unearthed near An-yang, culminating in the 1976 excavation of the first major tomb to have survived intact—that of Fu Hao, who is believed to have been a consort of the Shang king Wu-ting and a noted military leader. The Fu Hao tomb contained more than 440 bronze vessels and 590 jade objects among its numerous exquisite works. Remains of Bronze Age settlements of the Shang period have also been found over a large area of northern and central China.

      Excavations at Lo-yang (Luoyang), Cheng-chou (Zhengzhou), and An-yang have revealed rammed-earth (rammed earth) (layers of pounded earth) foundations and postholes of timber (wood) buildings with wattle and daub walls (woven rods and twigs covered and plastered with clay) and thatched roof. The largest building yet traced at An-yang is a timber hall about 30 metres (90 feet) long, the wooden pillars of which were set on stone socles, or bases, on a raised platform. Ordinary dwellings were partly sunk beneath ground level, as in Neolithic times, with deeper storage pits inside them. There is no sign of the structural use of brick or stone or of tile roofs in any of the An-yang sites. Royal tombs (tomb) along the banks of the Huan River to the northwest of modern An-yang consisted of huge, square, rammed-earth pits approached by two or four sloping ramps. Lined and roofed with timber, the tombs were sunk in the floor of the pit. Tomb walls and coloured impressions left on the earth by carved and painted timbers include zoomorphic motifs very similar to those on ritual bronze vessels (see below). Traces of a painted clay wall found elsewhere at An-yang, in a royal stone- and jade-carving workshop, demonstrate that buildings above ground were decorated with similar designs and indicate a uniformity of design principles and themes in all media at that time.

      While no monumental sculpture has been found at Shang sites, Shang craftsmen carved, generally out of white marble, small, seated human figures, birds, tigers, elephants, bears, and composite creatures. Among the largest is an owl about 34 centimetres (13 inches) high, which is in the collection of the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan. Most of these pieces were made as isolated objects for display or ritual purposes, but a few, such as an ox head in the same collection, are socketed, showing that they once adorned a structure. These marble sculptures are compactly modeled and decorated with volutes and squared spirals similar to those on ritual bronzes. (Small jade objects, carved in the round or forming flat plaques, are discussed in more detail below, in the section on the Chou dynasty.) In addition to stone carvings, a small number of pottery figurines of prisoners of war have been unearthed at An-yang, the earliest instance of the custom of putting figurines of guardians and slaves in the tomb to accompany the dead. Some of the bronzes, which take the form of birds and beasts, may also be classed as sculpture, so plastic and lifelike is their modeling.

Ritual bronzes
      More than any other factor, it was the unearthing at An-yang of magnificent bronze vessels that demonstrated the power and wealth of the Shang rulers. The vessels were used in divinatory ceremonies for sacrificial offerings of meat, wine, and grain, primarily to the spirits of clan ancestors, especially those of the ruler and his family. They were probably kept in the ancestral hall of the clan, and, in some cases, they were buried with their owner.

      Surprisingly, perhaps, the bronze vessels were not discussed in Shang oracle bone inscriptions. But they themselves sometimes came to bear, by late Shang times, short, cast dedicatory inscriptions, providing the name of the vessel type, of the patron, and of the ancestor to whom the vessel was dedicated. What may be a clan name is also often included, enclosed within an inscribed notched square of uncertain meaning but now called a ya-hsing. The common addition by early Chou times of the phrase “May sons and grandsons forever treasure and use it” provides evidence that most vessels were made originally for use in temple sacrifices rather than for burial, but other vessels, poorly cast and inscribed with posthumous ancestral names of the newly deceased, were clearly intended for the tomb.

      The right to cast or possess these vessels was probably originally confined to the royal house itself but later was bestowed upon local governors set up by the ruler; still later, in the Chou dynasty (Zhou dynasty), the right was claimed by rulers of the feudal states and indeed by anyone who was rich and powerful enough to cast his own vessels.

      The vessel types are known today either by names given them in Shang or Chou times that can be identified in contemporary inscriptions, such as the li, ting, and hsien, or by names, such as yu, chia, and kuang, given them by later Chinese scholars and antiquarians. The vessels may be grouped according to their presumed function in sacrificial rites. For cooking food the main types are the li, a round-bodied vessel with a trilobed base extending into three hollow legs; its cousins, the ting (ding), a hemispheric vessel on three solid legs, and fang-ting, a square vessel standing on four legs; and the hsien, or yen (yan), a steamer consisting of a bowl placed above a li tripod, with a perforated grate between the two. For offering food, the principal vessel was the kuei (gui), a bowl placed on a ring-shaped foot, like a modern-day wok. The word tsun embraces wine containers of a variety of shapes. Among vessels for heating or offering wine are the yu (you), a covered bucket with swing handle; the chia (jia), a round tripod or square quadruped with a handle on the side and raised posts with caps rising from its rim; the related chüeh (jue), a smaller beaker on three legs, with an extended pouring spout in front, a pointed tail in the rear, a side handle, and posts with caps; the ho, distinguished by its cylindrical pouring spout; the kuang (gong), resembling a covered gravy boat; and the elegant trumpet-mouthed ku (gu). Vessels for ablutions include the p'an (pan), a large, shallow bowl. The shapes of the round-bodied vessels were often derived from earlier pottery forms; the square-section vessels, with flat sides generally richly decorated, are thought to derive from boxes, baskets, or containers of carved wood or bone.

      Other objects connected with the rites (ritual) were bronze drums and bells. Weapons and fittings for chariots, harness, and other utilitarian purposes also were made of bronze.

      Bronze vessels were cast not by the lost-wax process (using a wax mold), as formerly supposed, but in sectional molds, quantities of which have been found at Shang sites. In this complex process, which reflects the Chinese early mastery of the ceramic medium, a clay model of the body is built around a solid core representing the vessel's interior; clay molding is used to encase the model, then sliced into sections and removed; the model is eliminated; the mold pieces are reconstructed around the core, using metal spacers to separate mold and core; molten bronze is poured into the hollow space. Legs, handles, and appended sculpture are often cast separately and integrated in a later, lock-on pour. Surface decoration may be added to the model surface before the mold is applied, requiring a double-transfer from clay to clay to metal, or added in reverse to the mold surface after its removal from the model, with an incised design on the mold yielding a raised design on the metal surface. Ritual vessels range from about 15 centimetres to over 130 centimetres in height with weights up to 875 kilograms (1,925 pounds). The intricacy and sharpness of the decoration shows that by the end of the 2nd millennium BC the art of bronze casting in China was the most advanced in the world.

      While many Shang ritual bronzes are plain or only partly ornamented, others are richly decorated with a variety of geometric and zoomorphic motifs, and a small number take the form of a bird or animal. The dominating motif is the t'ao-t'ieh (taotie), seen either as two stylized creatures juxtaposed face-to-face or as a single creature with its body splayed out on both sides of a masklike head. The term t'ao-t'ieh first appeared in the late Chou and is perhaps related to eclipse mythology and the idea of renewal. Sung dynasty antiquarians offered the unlikely interpretation that it represented a warning against gluttony. Alternative modern suggestions are that it was a fertility symbol like the later Chinese dragon, bestowing longevity on the ruling clan; that it was a fierce spirit which protected the rites and the participants from harm; that it embodied a variety of creatures related to the ceremonial sacrifices; that it was totemic or related to shamanic empowerment; or that its dual structure represented the inseparable forces of creation and destruction. Other creatures on the bronzes are the k'uei (each like half of the doubled t'ao-t'ieh), tiger, cicada, snake, owl, ram, and ox. In later times, the tiger represented nature's power, the cicada and snake symbolized regeneration, the owl was a carrier of the soul, and the ram and ox were chief animals of ancestral sacrifices. It is not known whether these meanings were attached to the creatures on Shang bronzes, for no Shang writing addresses the issue, but it seems likely that they had a more than purely decorative purpose. There is no suggested environmental setting for these creatures. The human figure appears only rarely in Shang bronzes, usually in the grasp of these powerful zoomorphic creatures.

      The art of the Shang bronzes evolved from technically simple, albeit sometimes quite elegant, thinly cast vessels, clearly revealing ceramic prototypes. It reached a climax of sculpturesque monumentality at the end of the dynasty, reflecting a long period of peace and stability at An-yang. In the early 1950s the scholar Max Loehr identified five phases or styles in the evolution of Shang bronze surface decor and casting techniques. The thin-walled vessels of Style I typically carry a narrow register of zoomorphic motifs that are more abstract in appearance than motifs of later times; the motifs are composed of thin, raised lines created by incision on the production molds. Style II zoomorphic forms are composed of broad, flat bands in narrow horizontal registers, incised on the model, often on a raised band of ceramic appliqué. In Style III, dense curvilinear designs derived from those of the previous phase begin to cover much of the surface of an increasingly thick-walled vessel, and the zoomorph becomes increasingly difficult to discern. The main zoomorphic motifs of Style IV, although flush to the surface of the vessel (exclusive of appended heads, handles, and fully sculptural attachments), become clearly distinguishable as set against a dense spiral background known as “thunder pattern” (lei-wen); in this phase, with similar spirals placed sparsely over the zoomorph, which itself is constructed from the same linear vocabulary, an intricate decorative system of interactive forms, rich in philosophical implications, begins to reach maturity. In Style V, the main motifs are set forth in increasingly bold plastic relief through the use of ceramic appliqué upon the model. Style I bodily form clearly reveals conceptualization derived from ceramics, while Style V vessels fully utilize the sculpturesque possibilities of the molded-bronze technology. Styles I and II appear at Cheng-chou; Style III appears at both Cheng-chou and early An-yang; and Styles IV and V are found in the An-yang period only. Pre-Style I vessels, ceramic in form, thin-walled, and with little or no surface decor, have been found at Erh-li-t'ou near Lo-yang, demonstrating early Shang or even Hsia origins.

      The same motifs appear on other bronze objects of the Shang period—for instance, on the handles of the ko (dagger axe) and broad-bladed ch'i (executioner's axe) and on drums, bells, and chariot fittings, some of which are inlaid with turquoise. The handles of some of the bronze knives found at Shang sites are ornamented with animal heads similar to those found on knives of Bronze Age southern Siberia; this similarity and the “carved box” appearance of some of the ritual vessels point to mutual influence between Shang China and its northern steppe neighbours.

      The Shang dynasty saw several important advances in pottery technology, including the development of a hard-bodied, high-fire stoneware and pottery glazes. A small quantity of stoneware is covered with a thin, hard, yellowish green glaze applied in liquid form to the vessel. Shang potters also developed a fine soft-bodied white ware, employing kaolin (later used in porcelain); this ware was probably for ceremonial use and was decorated with motifs similar to those on the ritual bronzes. Much cruder imitations of bronze vessels also occur in the ubiquitous gray pottery of the Shang dynasty.

      In the Shang dynasty, and particularly at An-yang, the craft of jade carving (Chinese jade) made a notable advance. Ceremonial weapons and fittings for bronze weapons were carved from jade; ritual jades included the pi (bi), ts'ung, and symbols of rank. Plaques and dress ornaments were carved from thin slabs of jade, but there are also small figurines, masks, and birds and animals carved in the round, some of these perhaps representing the earliest examples of ming-ch'i (ming ch'i) (“spirit vessels”), artistic figures substituted for live victims buried in order to serve the deceased.

      Coffins, chariots, furniture, and other objects found in Shang tombs were often lacquered, and lacquer was used to fix inlays of shell and coloured stone. Small decorative and functional objects such as hairpins, finials, buttons, and knife handles were often fashioned of bone or ivory, sometimes inlaid with chips of turquoise.

Chou dynasty (Zhou dynasty) (11th century–255 BC)
      The arts of the Chou dynasty, the longest in Chinese history, reflect the profound changes that came over Chinese society during nearly 800 years. The first Chou rulers took over the Shang culture to the extent that the earliest bronze vessels bearing Chou inscriptions might, from their style, have been made in the Shang dynasty. The Chou kings parceled out their expanding territory among feudal lords, each of whom was free to make ritual objects for his own court use. As the feudal states rose in power and independence, so did the central Chou itself shrink, to be further weakened by the eastward shift of the capital from sites in the Wei River valley near modern-day Sian to Lo-yang in 771 BC. Thereafter, as the Chou empire was broken up among rival states, many local styles in the arts developed. The last three centuries of the Chou dynasty, known as the Warring States period, saw a flowering of the arts in many areas. The breakdown of the feudal hegemony, the growth of trade between the states, and the rise of a rich landowning and merchant class all brought into existence new patrons and new attitudes that had a great influence on the arts and crafts.

      Remains of a number of Chou cities have been discovered, among them capitals of the feudal states. They were irregular in shape and surrounded by walls of rammed earth. Some long defensive walls also have been located, the largest being one that protected the state of Ch'i from Lu to the south, stretching for more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the Huang Ho to the sea. Ch'u had a similar wall along its northern frontier.

      Foundations of a number of palace buildings have been found in the cities, including, at Hui-hsien, the remains of a hall 26 metres (85 feet) square, which was used for ancestral rites in connection with an adjacent tomb—an arrangement that became common in the Han dynasty. An important late Chou structure used for the conduct of state rituals was the Ming-t'ang (“Spirit Hall”), discussed in Chou literature but not yet known through excavations. Late Chou texts also describe platforms or towers, t'ai, made of rammed earth and timber and used as watchtowers, as treasuries, or for ritual sacrifices and feasts, while pictures engraved or inlaid on late Chou bronze vessels show two-story buildings used for this type of ritual activity. Some of these multistory buildings are now understood, through modern excavations of two- and three-story Ch'in and Han palaces and of state ritual halls at Hsien-yang, Sian, and Lo-yang, to have been constructed around a large, raised pounded-earth core that structurally supported upper building levels and galleries and into which lower-level chambers were inserted.

      The origins of the Chinese bracketing (bracket) system also are found on pictorial bronzes, showing a spreading block (tou) placed upon a column to support the beam above more broadly, and in depictions of curved arms (kung) attached near the top of the columns, parallel to the building wall, extending outward and up to help support the beam; however, the block and arms were not yet combined to create traditional Chinese brackets (tou-kung) or to achieve extension forward from the wall. Roof tiles replaced thatch before the end of the Western Chou (771 BC), and bricks have been found from early in the Eastern Chou.

Ritual bronzes and related works
      The ritual bronzes of the early Hsi (Western) Chou continued the late An-yang tradition; many were made by the same craftsmen and by their descendants. Even in the predynastic Chou period, however, new creatures had appeared on the bronzes, notably a flamboyant long-tailed bird that may have had totemic meaning for the Chou rulers, and flanges had begun to be large and spiky. By the end of the 9th century, moreover, certain Shang shapes such as the chüeh, ku, and kuang were no longer being made, and the t'ao-t'ieh and other Shang zoomorphs had been broken up and then dissolved into volutes or undulating meander patterns encircling the entire vessel, scales, and fluting, with little apparent symbolic intent.

      From the outset of Chou rule, vessels increasingly came to serve as vehicles for inscriptions that were cast to record events and report them to ancestral spirits. An outstanding example, excavated near Sian in 1976, was dedicated by a Chou official who apparently had divined the date for the successful assault upon the Shang and later used his reward money to have the bronze vessel cast. By late Chou times, a long inscription might have well over 400 characters.

      Vessel shapes, meanwhile, had become aggressive or heavy and sagging, and the quality of the casting is seldom as high as in the late Shang. These changes, completed by the 8th century BC, mark the middle Chou phase of bronze design.

      The bronzes of the Tung (Eastern) Chou period, after 771 BC, show signs of a gradual renaissance in the craft and much regional variation, which appears ever more complex as more Eastern Chou sites are unearthed. Eighth- and 7th-century bronzes are crude and vigorous in shape, often adorned with boldly modeled handles in the form of animal heads. Typical vessels of this phase have been found in a cemetery of the small feudal state of Kuo in Honan province. Vessels from Hsin-cheng in Honan (8th to 6th century BC) reveal a further change to more elegant forms, often decorated with an allover pattern of tightly interlaced serpents; the vessel may be set about with tigers and dragons modeled in the round and topped with a flaring, petaled lid. The aesthetic tendency toward elaboration was given further stimulus by the introduction of the lost-wax (lost-wax process) method of production (by the late 7th century BC), leading quickly to zealous experiments in openwork design that are impressive technically though heavy in appearance and gaudy in effect. The style of bronzes found at Li-yü in Shansi (c. 6th–5th century BC) is much simpler, more compact, and unified; the interlaced and spiral decoration is flush with the surface. Thereafter, until the end of the dynasty, the bronze style became increasingly refined; the decoration was confined within a simpler contour, the interlacing of the Hsin-cheng style giving way to the fine, hooked “comma pattern” of the vessels of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. By this time, bronze decor had come under the influence of textile patterns and technique, particularly embroidery, as well as of lacquer decor, suggesting the decline from primacy of the bronze medium. Bronzes thus decorated have been found chiefly in the Huai River valley.

      Bronze bells (bell) are exemplified by an orchestral set of 64 bells, probably produced in Ch'u and unearthed in 1978 from a royal tomb of the Tseng state, at Lei-ku-tun near Sui-hsien in Hupeh province. The bells were mounted on wooden racks supported by bronze human figurines. They are graded in size (from about 20 to 150 centimetres in height) and tone (covering five octaves), and each is capable of producing two unrelated tones according to where it is struck. Gold-inlaid inscriptions on each bell present valuable information regarding early musical terms and performance, while a 65th bell is dedicated by inscription from the king of Ch'u to Marquis I of Tseng, the deceased, and bears a date equivalent to 433 BC.

      Finally, in vessels from the rich finds at Chin-ts'un near Lo-yang, all excrescences are shorn away; the shapes have a classic purity and restraint, and the decoration consists of geometric patterns of diagonal bands and volutes. The taste of the new leisured class is shown in objects that were not merely useful but finely fashioned and beautiful in themselves: ritual and domestic vessels, weapons, chariot and furniture fittings, ceremonial staff ends, bracelets, and the backs of mirrors. Monster masks attaching ring handles are reminiscent of the Shang t'ao-t'ieh, the first sign of a deliberate archaism that from time to time thenceforward gave a special flavour to Chinese decorative art.

      The wealth and sophistication of late Chou culture is shown by exquisite craftsmanship, while the new techniques of cast openwork and many of the works executed with inlays of gold, silver, jade, glass, and semiprecious stones also indicate the increasing commercial interaction and artistic fascination of the Chinese with the tribal peoples to their north. Bronze garment hooks worn at the shoulder were often fashioned in the form of animals, reflecting the artistic style of China's nomadic neighbours, who through the Eastern Chou and Han dynasties exerted pressure on its northern frontiers and who both influenced and were influenced by Chinese culture in this period. Scattered finds, chiefly in the Ordos Desert, show that the arts of these huntsmen and herdsmen were related to those of the steppe peoples of Central Asia and, remotely, to those of the Luristan (Lorestān) region of Persia. Bronze objects consist chiefly of animal-headed daggers and knives; cheekpieces, jingles, and other harness fittings; ornaments; and plaques of pierced relief work generally depicting with somewhat barbarous vigour an animal combat, a theme remote from the experience of the settled farming communities of northern China.

      Bronze mirrors (mirror) were used in ancient China not only for toiletry but also as funerary objects, in accordance with the belief that a mirror was itself a source of light and could illuminate the eternal darkness of the tomb. A mirror also was thought of as a symbolic aid to self-knowledge. Chinese mirrors are bronze disks polished on the face and decorated on the back, with a central loop handle or pierced boss to hold a tassel. The early ones were small and worn at the girdle; later they became larger and were often set on a stand. A bronze disk found in a tomb at An-yang may have been a mirror. There is less doubt about the small disks from an 8th-century-BC tomb at Shang-ts'un-ling in Honan, believed to be the earliest mirrors yet found in China. Mirrors, however, were not widely used until the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Shou-chou, in the state of Ch'u, was a centre for the manufacture of late Chou mirrors, the designs on which consist chiefly of zigzag lozenges, quatrefoil petals, scallops, a hooked symbol resembling the character for “mountain” (shan), and sometimes animal figures superimposed on a dense allover pattern of hooks and volutes. These mirrors are often thin, and the execution is refined and elegant. Mirrors from Honan (Lo-yang) are closer in style to the inlaid bronzes. The decoration, often dragons and intricately interwoven zoomorphs whose tails turn into volutes, stands out boldly against a fine geometric background that suggests a textile pattern.

      Chou sculpture, like that of the Shang, is typically small in scale and occurs most frequently in the medium of sculpturesque ritual bronze vessels. Examples from the middle Chou period are usually stiffly formal, but the forceful spatial rendering and emergent naturalism characteristic of Ch'in and early Han dynasty sculpture and seen in a massive late 3rd-century-BCinlaid bronze rhinoceros from Hsing-p'ing, Shensi province, had already appeared by the Warring States era. Inlaid bronze sculpture from the northeastern state of Chung-shan (late 4th century BCBCE reveals the influence of neighbouring nomadic art, and, if not as fully naturalistic, these works are nonetheless remarkably dynamic and alert, one notable example depicting a tiger capturing a hapless deer. No less fierce and even more bizarre are some of the lacquered sculptures from the southern state of Ch'u, such as the monstrous creature with real deer horns, bulging eyes, and long tongue devouring a snake, from about the 3rd century BC, excavated at Hsin-yang in Honan province. Simple pottery grave figurines also have been found at late Chou sites in northern China; and attenuated, formalized wooden figurines of servants and attendants, with details of dress painted on them, have been found in graves of the state of Ch'u.

Painting and pictorial arts
      Practically nothing survives of Chou painting, although from literary evidence it seems that the art developed considerably, particularly during the period of the Warring States. Palaces and ancestral halls were decorated with wall paintings. Late Chou texts tell of a craftsman working for the Duke of Chou (Chou Kung) who covered the stock of a whip with minute paintings of dragons, snakes, horses, chariots, and “all the ten thousand things” and of another painter who told the king of Ch'i that spirits and ghosts were easier to draw than dogs and horses, whose precise appearance is known to all. The rhetorical questions or riddles in the T'ien wen (“Questions to Heaven”), attributed to the poet Ch'ü Yüan, are traditionally thought to have been inspired by wall paintings.

 The most significant development of the late Chou, and among the most revolutionary of all moments in Chinese art, was the emergence of a representational art form, departing from the ritualized depiction of fanciful and usually isolated creatures of the Shang and early to middle Chou. In decorating ceremonial objects, artists began to depict the ceremonies themselves, such as ancestral offerings in temple settings, as well as ritual archery contests (important in the recruitment and promotion of officials), agriculture and sericulture, hunting, and the waging of war—all activities vital to a well-ordered state. Such representations were cast with gold or silver inlay or engraved onto the sides of bronze vessels, most notably the hu, where all these themes might be combined on a single vessel. This conceptual transformation began by the late 6th century BC, at about the same time that Confucius and other philosophers initiated humane speculation on the nature of statecraft and social welfare.

      The early representation of landscape, indicated only crudely on bronzes, appears in more sophisticated fashion on embroidered textiles of the 4th–3rd centuries BC from such south-central Chinese sites as Ma-shan, near Chiang-ling in the state of Ch'u (modern Hupeh province). There, as in Han dynasty art to follow, landscape is suggested by rhythmic lines, which serve as mountain contours to spatially organize a variety of wild animals in front and back and which, while structurally simple, convey in linear fashion a sophisticated concept of mountain landscape as fluid, dynamic, and spiritual.

      Further indications of the subject matter of Eastern Chou pictorial art are given by objects in lacquer, chiefly from the state of Ch'u and from Szechwan, on which hunting scenes, chariots and horsemen, and fantastic winged creatures drawn from folklore were painted in a simple but lively style natural to the fluid character of the medium. Large painted-lacquer coffins (coffin) with such creatures depicted were present in the 5th-century-BC royal tomb of Marquis I of Tseng. The labour required for these coffins is suggested by the set of nested Han dynasty coffins found at Ma-wang-tui (two bearing exquisite landscape designs, described below), which are said to represent one million work-hours. A lacquer painted storage box from the Tseng tomb bears the earliest depiction of two of the Chinese directional animals (formerly thought to date from the later Han), together with the names of the 28 stars used in Chinese astrology (previously believed to have been introduced at a later time from Iran or India).

      Some of these motifs and, perhaps, the early treatment of landscape itself may derive in both theme and style from foreign sources, particularly China's northern nomadic neighbours. Those scenes concerned with ceremonial archery and ritual offerings in architectural settings, sericulture, warfare, and domestic hunting, however, seem to be essentially Chinese. These renditions generally occur with figures in flattened silhouette, spread two-dimensionally and evenly over most of the available pictorial surface. But, by the very late Chou, occasional examples, such as the depiction of a mounted warrior contending with a tiger, executed in inlaid gold and silver on a bronze mirror from Chin-ts'un (c. 3rd century BC, Hosokawa collection, Tokyo), suggest the emerging ability of artists to conceive of two-dimensional images in terms of implied bulk and spatial context.

      The few surviving Chou period paintings on silk—from about the 3rd century BC, the oldest in all East Asia—were produced in the state of Ch'u and unearthed from tombs near Ch'ang-sha. One depicts a woman, perhaps a shamaness or possibly the deceased, with a dragon and phoenix; one depicts a gentleman conveyed in what appears to be a dragon-shaped boat; and a third, reported to be from the same tomb as the latter, is a kind of religious almanac (the earliest known example of Chinese writing on silk) decorated around its border with depictions of deities and sacred plants.

      In the Chou, production of jade pi (bi), ts'ung (cong), and other Shang ritual forms was continued and their use systematized. Differently shaped sceptres were used for the ranks of the nobility and as authority for mobilizing troops, settling disputes, declaring peace, and so on. At burial, the seven orifices of the body were sealed with jade plugs and plaques. Stylistically, Chou dynasty jades first continued Shang traditions, but then, just as the bronzes did, they turned toward looser, less systematic designs by middle Chou times, with zoomorphic decor transformed into abstract meander patterns. This breakdown of formal structure continued to the end of the dynasty.

      The introduction of iron tools and harder abrasives in the Eastern Chou led to a new freedom in carving in the round. Ornamental jades, chiefly in the form of sword and scabbard fittings, pendants, and adornment for the clothing, were fashioned into a great variety of animals and birds, chiefly from flat plaques no more than a few millimetres thick.

      Glass was already in use in China in the Western Chou period, attested by beads found in tombs in Sian and Lo-yang of the 9th and 8th centuries BC. In the Eastern Chou it was sometimes used as a cheap substitute for jade pi disks and sword fittings and as an inlay in garment hooks and various ornamental objects. While some glass beads were certainly imported from western Asia, the craft of glassmaking may have begun in China independently as a by-product of the manufacture of pottery glaze.

      Early Western Chou pottery, like the bronzes, continued the Shang tradition at a somewhat lower technical level, and the soft white Shang pottery disappeared. Stemmed offering dishes, tou (dou), were made in a hard stoneware dipped or brushed over with a glaze ranging from gray to brownish green. The fact that some of the richest finds of high-fired glazed wares have been made not in Honan but at Yi-ch'i in Anhwei shows that the centre of advance in pottery technology was beginning to move, with the growth of population, to the lower Huai and Yangtze valleys. Crude attempts also were made to give pottery the appearance of bejeweled metal by covering tou stands with lacquer inlaid with shell disks.

      In the second half of the dynasty the range of pottery types and techniques was greatly extended. A low-fired pottery was produced in Honan primarily for burial. Some of it is white, and some is covered with slip, or liquid clay, and painted, reviving an ancient northern China tradition. At Hui-hsien has been found a soft-bodied, black burnished ware, sometimes decorated with scrolls and geometric motifs scratched through the polished surface. In the period of the Warring States, a soft earthenware covered with green lead glaze was made in northern China for burial. In the lower Yangtze valley an almost porcelaneous stoneware was developing, covered with a thin feldspathic glaze, the ancestor of the celadon glaze of the T'ang dynasty and later. Another technique, which appears in the glazed wares of Chekiang and Kiangsu and was to persist in the southern pottery tradition for many centuries, was the stamping of regular, repeated motifs over the surface of the vessel before firing.

Ch'in (Qin dynasty) (221–206 BC) and Han (206 BC–AD 220) dynasties.
      In 221 BC the ruler of the feudal Ch'in state united all China under himself as Ch'in Shih Huang-ti (“First Sovereign Emperor of Ch'in”) and laid the foundation for the long stability and prosperity of the succeeding Han dynasty. His material accomplishments were the product of rare organizational genius, including centralizing the Chinese state and its legal system, unifying the Chinese writing script and its system of weights and measures, and consolidating many of the walls of northern China into an architectural network of beacon towers able to spot any suspicious military movement and relay messages across the territory in a single day. However, his means were brutal and exhausted the people, and the dynasty failed to survive his early death.

      The Hsi (Western) Han (206 BC–AD 25), with its capital at Ch'ang-an (near modern Sian), reached a climax of expansive power under Wu-ti (Wudi) (ruled 141/40–87/86 BC), who established colonies in Korea and Indochina and sent expeditions into Central Asia, which both made Chinese arts and crafts known abroad and opened up China itself to foreign ideas and artistic influences. After the period of the usurping Hsin dynasty (AD 9 to 25), the Tung (Eastern) Han, with its capital at Lo-yang, recovered something of the dynasty's former prosperity but was increasingly beset by natural disasters and rebellions that eventually brought about its downfall. The art of the Han dynasty is remarkable for its variety and vigour, the product of foreign contacts, of a national unity in which many local traditions flourished, and of the patronage of a powerful court and the new, wealthy landowning and official classes.

      While little remains except walls and tombs, much can be learned about Han architecture from historical writings and long descriptive poems, fu. This was an era of great palace buildings. The first Ch'in (Shihuangdi) emperor undertook the building of a vast palace, the A-fang or O-pang, whose main hall was intended to accommodate 10,000 guests in its upper story. He also copied the palaces and pavilions of each of the feudal lords he had defeated; these buildings stretched more than seven miles along the Wei River and were filled with local lords and women captured from the different states.

      The first emperor's tomb (Qin tomb) was part of a city of the dead that covered nearly 2 square kilometres (0.75 square mile) and was surrounded by double walls, with numerous gates, corner towers, and a ceremonial palace. The mausoleum itself was surmounted by an artificial mound, a feature not known in the Shang or early Chou and first found among the 4th–3rd-century-BC tombs near Chiang-ling in Hupeh province. About 43 metres high, this tumulus was shaped like a triple-layered truncated pyramid symbolizing heaven, man, and earth. The tomb, which has not yet been excavated, reportedly featured a large chart of the heavens painted on its domed vault and a three-dimensional representation of the earth below, with rivers of liquid mercury driven by mechanical contrivances. Excavations around the tomb have uncovered a large protective “spirit army” of some 7,000 life-size terra-cotta figurines, along with 400 horses and 100 chariots, placed in battle formation in a series of pits beneath the nearby fields. Molded in separate sections, assembled, then fully painted, these warrior figures are executed in minute and realistic detail and provide evidence of an early naturalistic sculptural tradition scarcely imagined before their discovery in 1974. For the heads, up to 30 different models were used, and each was hand-finished to give further variety. Excavated later, in 1982, was a pair of precisely engineered bronze replicas of the Imperial chariot (104 centimetres high, with considerable gold and silver inlay), each with charioteer and four horses, possibly indicating the presence of a still larger underground stable of such figures.

      The main audience hall of the Western Han Wei-yang palace was said to have been about 120 metres long by 35 metres deep, possibly smaller than its largest Ch'in predecessor yet much larger than its equivalents in the Peking palace today. From the Chou dynasty through the Yüan, no architectural structure called forth more intense consideration than the so-called Ming-t'ang (“Spirit Hall”), the predecessor of Peking's Temple of Heaven. The site of the Han ritual hall, in the southern suburbs of Han dynasty Ch'ang-an, was excavated in 1956–57. Translating traditional ritual values into symbolic architecture, the Ming-t'ang was surrounded by an outer circular moat and set on a circular foundation (the two circles together forming a disk, or pi, symbolic of heaven) and was further enclosed within an intermediate rectilinear colonnade (symbolic of earth). The three-story hall itself (the number three signifying heaven, man, and earth) was built around a raised earthen core. It is thought to have been a composite ritual structure that included a royal academy on the first floor; a second floor divided into nine zones, corresponding to the four seasons and the “five phases” theory of change, with five inner shrines and with outer spaces for monthly ritual offerings; and a third-floor central hall surrounded by a terrace (ling-t'ai, or “spirit platform”) for observation of the heavens and regulation of the calendar.

      The Han palaces were set about with tall timber towers (lou) and brick or stone towers (t'ai) used for a variety of purposes, including the display and storage of works of art. Ceramic representations of Han architecture provide the first direct evidence of true bracketing, with simple brackets projecting a single step forward (and sometimes several steps upward) from the wall in order to support the roof projection.

      Han tombs (tomb) are among the most elaborate ever constructed in China. In some localities they are of timber, but more often they are of brick or stone, divided into several chambers, and covered with a corbeled vault or more rarely a true arched vault. The tombs of the Han emperors were enclosed in gigantic earth mounds that are still visible today, but some royal tombs began the later practice of burial in hollowed-out natural hills. Many Han tombs were decorated with wall paintings (mural), with more permanent and expensive stone reliefs, or with stamped or molded bricks.

      The most remarkable excavated tomb of the period belonged to the wife of a mid-level aristocrat, one of three family tombs of the governor of Ch'ang-sha found in a suburb of that southern city, Ma-wang-tui (Mawangdui), and dating from 168 BC or shortly after. Small in scale but richly equipped and perfectly preserved, the wooden tomb consists of several outer compartments for grave goods tightly arranged around a set of four nested lacquered coffins. An outer layer of sticky white kaolin clay prevented moisture from penetrating the tomb, and an inner layer of charcoal fixed all the available oxygen within a day of burial, so the deceased (Hsin Chui, or Lady Tai, the governor's wife) was found in a near-perfect state of preservation. Included among the grave goods, which came with a written inventory providing contemporaneous terminology, are the finest caches yet discovered of early Chinese silks (gauzes and damasks, twills and embroideries, including many whole garments) and lacquerwares (including wood-, bamboo-, and cloth-cored examples), together with a remarkable painted banner that might have been carried by the shaman in the funerary procession (see below).

Painting and related arts
      Literature and poetry indicate that the walls of palaces, mansions, and ancestral halls were plastered and painted. Themes included figure subjects, portraits, and scenes from history that had an ethical or didactic purpose. Equally popular were themes taken from folk and nature cults that expressed the beliefs of popular Taoism (Daoism). The names of the painters are generally not known. Artists were ranked according to their education and ability from the humble craftsmen painters (hua-kung) up to the painters-in-attendance (tai-chao), who had high official status and were close to the throne, a bureaucratic system that lasted into the Ch'ing dynasty.

      In addition to wall paintings, artists painted on standing screens, used as room dividers and set behind important personages, and on long rolls of silk. paper was invented in the Han dynasty, but it is doubtful whether it was much used for painting before the 3rd or 4th century AD.

      Surviving Han painting includes chiefly tomb paintings and painted objects in clay and lacquer, although incised and inlaid bronze, stamped and molded tomb tiles, and textile designs provide further indications of the painting styles of the time. The most important painted tombs have been found at Lo-yang, where some are decorated with the oldest surviving historical narratives (1st century BC); at Wang-tu in Hopeh (Eastern Han), where they are adorned with figures of civil and military officials; and at Liao-yang (Liaoyang) in Liaoning, where the themes include a feasting scene, musicians, jugglers, chariots, and horsemen. The Liao-yang paintings are in a crude but lively style, with a feeling of space and strong lateral movement. The celebrated bricks taken from a tomb shrine of the Eastern Han (now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) depict gentlemen in animated conversation, elegant and individualized and rendered with a sensitive freedom of movement.

 Funerary slabs also reflect the variety of Han pictorial art. The most famous are those from tomb shrines of the Wu family at Chia-hsiang in Shantung, dated between about AD 147 and 168. The subjects range from the attempted assassination of the first Ch'in emperor to feasting and mythological themes. Although they are depicted chiefly in silhouette with little interior drawing, the effect is lively and dramatic. These well-known works have been generally taken as representative of Han painting style since their discovery in 1786. They are now understood, however, to be very conservative in style, even archaistic, perhaps with the intent of advertising the sponsoring family's chaste attachment to the pure and simple virtues of past times. A far earlier painting, a funerary banner from about 168 BC, excavated in 1972 at Ma-wang-tui, reveals how much more sophisticated early Han and even late Chou painting must have been. Painted with bright, evenly applied mineral pigments and fine, elegant brush lines on silk, the banner represents a kind of cosmic array, with separate scenes of a funerary ceremony, the underworld, and the ascent of the deceased (the Lady Tai mentioned above) to a heavenly setting filled with mythic figures. It contains stylistic features not previously seen before the 4th century AD, creating spatial illusion through foreshortening, overlapping, and placement upon an implied ground plane, as well as suggesting certain lighting effects through contrasting and modulated colours.

 Han landscape painting is well represented by the lacquer coffins of Lady Tai at Ma-wang-tui, two of which are painted with scenes of mountains, clouds, and a variety of full-bodied human and animal figures. Two approaches are used: one, more architectonic, uses overlapping pyramidal patterns that derive from the bronze decor of the late Chou period; the other continues the dynamic linear convention already noted on the embroidered textiles from Chiang-ling, in the Warring States period, as well as on late Chou painted lacquers, on inlaid bronze tubes used as canopy fittings for chariots, and on woven silks found at Noin-ula, in Mongolia. Elsewhere, in the late Han, a new feeling for pictorial space in a more open outdoor setting appeared on molded bricks decorating tombs near Ch'eng-tu; these portrayed hunting and harvesting, the local salt-mining industry, and other subjects.

      By the Han dynasty, lacquer production was chiefly carried on at Ch'ang-sha and in four regional factories in Shu (modern Szechwan) under government control. In addition to the fine lacquerwares excavated from tombs in Ch'ang-sha, splendid products of the Szechwan workshops, bearing inscriptions dated between 85 BC and AD 71, have been found in tombs of Chinese colonists at Lo-lang (Nangnang) in North Korea, and pieces of Han lacquerware have been found as far afield as northern Mongolia and Afghanistan.

      The different stages of Han lacquer manufacture were divided among a number of specialized craftsmen. The su-kung, for example, prepared the base, which might be of hemp cloth, wood, or bamboo basketwork; after priming, the base was covered with successive layers of lacquer by the hsiu-kung. The top layer, applied by the shang-kung, was polished and so prepared for the painter, hua-kung, who decorated it. Others might inlay the design or engrave through the top coating to another colour beneath it, add gilding, and write or engrave an inscription. A wine cup found at Lo-lang bears an inscription giving its capacity, the names of the people concerned in its manufacture, a date equivalent to AD 4, and place of origin, the “Western Factory” in Shu Commandery.

      Among the most celebrated examples of Han lacquer painting is a basket found at Lo-lang (Nangnang) (National Museum, Seoul), decorated with 94 small figures of paragons of filial piety, virtuous and wicked rulers, and ancient worthies. Although confined to a narrow band around the inner rim of the basket, these tiny figures are lively and animated, moving easily in the small space. A tray, also found at Lo-lang and dated correspondingly to AD 69, bears near the rim a small painting of Hsi Wang Mu, Queen Mother of the West, sitting with an attendant or visitor on her fairy mountain. Here the lacquer is applied much more thinly, and the brushstrokes have an easy fluency.

Textiles
       silk weaving became a major industry and one of China's chief exports in the Han dynasty. The caravan route across Central Asia, known as the Silk Road, took Chinese silk to Syria and on to Rome. In the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle mentions sericulture on the island of Cos (Kos), but the art was evidently lost and reintroduced into Byzantium from China in the 6th century AD. Chinese textiles of Han date have been found in Egypt, in graves in northern Mongolia (Noin-ula), and at Lou-lan in Chinese Turkistan. Silk was used by Han rulers as diplomatic gifts and to buy off the threatening nomads, as well as to weaken them by giving them a taste of luxury.

      Early Han textiles recovered from Ma-wang-tui show the further development of the weaving traditions already present at Ma-shan in the late Chou, including brocade and embroidery, gauze, plain weaves, and damasks (damask). Later finds elsewhere, however, are limited chiefly to damasks, very finely woven in several colours with patterns that generally repeat about every five centimetres. These designs are either geometric, the zigzag lozenge being the most common, or consist of cloud or mountain scrolls interspersed with fabulous creatures and sometimes with auspicious characters. The rectilinear patterns were transmitted from woven materials to Lo-yang bronze mirrors and appeared in paintings on both lacquer and silk; and the curvilinear scroll (scroll painting) patterns, which are not natural to weaving, were probably adapted for embroidery from the rhythmic conventions of lacquer painting, which also provided scroll motifs for inlaid bronzes and paintings on silk. Thus, there was an interaction among the various media of Han dynasty arts that accounts for their unity of style.

      The Han dynasty saw the creation of the first major works of stone tomb sculpture in China. It is possible that the idea of a processional way leading to the tomb, lined with monumental stone carvings of animals and guardian figures, came to China through its new contacts with western and Central Asia. Thought to be the earliest such figures are a group from the tomb of Huo Ch'ü-ping, buried in 117 BC next to the tomb of Emperor Wu-ti, in whose name he won many battles of conquest in Central Asia. The best-known of these sculptures is a crude and static yet monumentally impressive horse standing over a trampled barbarian. The Chinese tomb sculptures that followed this early example never attained much more in the way of dynamic expression. Yet Han artists were capable of a far more mobile conception, as seen in the famous bronze “flying horse” from a 2nd-century-AD military tomb at Lei-t'ai near Wu-wei, Kansu province. This work represents the lively tradition of figural bronze and ceramic sculpture unearthed in vast quantities from Han tombs. Called ming-ch'i (ming ch'i) (“spirit vessels”), these sculptures were meant to function as the real objects they depict in the service of the deceased. The ceramic ming-ch'i include servants, guards, soldiers, dancers, jugglers, and acrobats, frequently modeled with all the vitality of a popular art; they give a vivid picture of daily life in the Han dynasty and represent Chinese sculpture at its very best. There also are models of farmhouses and multistoried towers, pigpens and duck ponds, cooking stoves, and a wide variety of food and wine vessels. Ceramic ming-ch'i are generally of low-fired earthenware, often covered with chalk or a white slip and then painted; the painted food and wine vessels often imitate both the shape and the scrolled decoration of inlaid bronze or painted lacquer vessels.

Ritual bronzes and mirrors (mirror)
      Bronze mirrors of the early Han dynasty in northern China continued the restrained forms of the late Chou vessels, being smooth in contour and often enriched by gold and silver inlay. Already by late Chou times, the more expensive medium of lacquer was often used in place of bronze. Nevertheless, some bronze vessels were still made for sacrificial rites, and other bronze objects such as lamps and incense burners also were made for household use. The “hill censer” (po-shan hsiang-lu (boshan xianglu)) was designed as a miniature, three-dimensional mountain of the immortals, usually replete with scenes of mythic combat between man and beasts suggesting the powerful forces of nature that only the Taoist adept could tame. Sacred vapours emanating from materials burned within were released through perforations in the lid (hidden behind the mountain peaks). Cosmic waters were depicted lapping at the base of the hills, conveying the sense of an island; and the whole was set on a narrow stem that thrust the mountain upward as if it were an axis of the universe. Such censers might have been used in ceremonial exorcism, in funerary rites associated with the ascent of the soul, or in other varieties of Taoist religious practice.

      Some Han mirrors have astronomical or astrological patterns. The most elaborate, particularly popular during the Hsin dynasty (AD 9–25), bears the so-called TLV pattern. These angular shapes, ranged around the main band of decoration between a central square zone and the outer border band, are believed to be linked to a cosmological “chess” game called liu-po; the decoration also may include creatures symbolic of the four directions, immortals, and other mythical beings popular in Taoist (Daoism) folklore. Often the mirrors carry inscriptions, varying from a simple expression of good luck to a long dedication giving the name of the maker and referring to the Shang-fang or Imperial workshop. In the Eastern Han the Taoist elements dominated mirror design, which often includes the legendary Queen Mother of the West, Hsi Wang Mu, and her royal eastern counterpart, Tung Wang Kung. The coming of Buddhism at the end of the Han dynasty caused a decline in the use of cosmological mirrors. Mirror making, however, was revived in the T'ang dynasty.

      Han glazed wares (earthenware) are chiefly of two types. Northern China saw the invention, presumably for funerary purposes only, of a low-fired lead glaze, tinted bottle-green with copper oxide, that degenerates through burial to an attractive silvery iridescence. High-fired stoneware with a thin brownish to olive glaze was still being made in Honan, but the main centre of production was already shifting to the Chekiang region, formerly known as Yüeh. Yüeh ware kilns of the Eastern Han, located at Te-ch'ing in northern Chekiang, produced a hard stoneware, often imitating the shapes of bronze vessels and decorated with impressed, bronzelike designs under a thin olive glaze. Other important provincial centres for pottery production in the Han dynasty were Ch'ang-sha (in Hunan province) and Ch'eng-tu and Chungking (in Szechwan province).

Stylistic and historical development from AD 220 to 1206
Three Kingdoms (220–280) and Six Dynasties (220–589)
      For 60 years after the fall of Han, China was divided among three native dynasties: the Wei in the north, Wu in the southeast, and Shu-Han in the west. It was briefly reunited under the Hsi (Western) Chin; but, in 311, Lo-yang and, in 316, Ch'ang-an fell to the invading Hsiung-nu, and before long the whole of northern China was occupied by barbarian tribes who set up one petty kingdom after another until, in 439, a Turkish tribe, the Toba, brought the region under their rule as the Pei (Northern) Wei dynasty. They established at P'eng-ch'eng (modern Ta-t'ung) in Shansi a capital that they populated by the forced immigration of tens of thousands of Chinese. The Chinese they recruited into their service civilized the Toba until they became completely Sinicized. In 495 the Wei moved their capital to Lo-yang (Luoyang) in the heartland of ancient Chinese civilization, where they lost what little Turkish identity they still possessed. They were succeeded in 535 by other petty barbarian dynasties who held the north until the reunification of China in 581.

      The barbarians adopted Buddhism as a matter of state policy, for Buddhism was an international religion with a concept of kingship that helped them to equate their earthly with their spiritual authority and thus to legitimize their control over the Chinese. Moreover, in the devastated land that was northern China in the 4th and 5th centuries, when the Confucian system was in ruins and Taoism a refuge for the few, the Buddhist doctrine of salvation through faith and good works acted as a powerful consoling and uniting force, like the Christian church in the European Middle Ages. When, therefore, the Northern Wei embarked on great projects of temple building and the carving of colossal images, the people supported them, and Buddhist art flourished in the north.

      The Six Dynasties of South China, which ruled from Nanking, were slower to respond to the Buddhist message, partly because they were less accessible to the missionaries entering China from Central Asia and partly because Confucianism and Taoism had been kept alive among the refugees from the north. Buddhist missionaries and art came to Nanking by way of Indochina, but this cultural traffic did not become important before the 4th century. Although the rulers with few exceptions were weak, corrupt, or cruel and the court a maze of intrigue, it was chiefly in Nanking that the great poets, calligraphers, painters, and critics flourished, and they in turn greatly influenced the arts of the occupied north.

      After the fall of Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an, there was no more great city and palace building until the Northern Wei moved their capital to Lo-yang in 495. There they constructed a city of great magnificence, sacked at their fall in 535. The main monuments of the 4th and 5th centuries were temples and monasteries. By the mid-6th century there were some 500 religious establishments in and around Lo-yang alone, about 30,000 in the whole of the northern realm.

      Each Buddhist temple had its pagoda erected as a reliquary or memorial, and other pagodas dotted the city and the surrounding landscape. They have mostly disappeared, but one can get some idea of their form from reliefs at Yün-kang and from the earliest surviving pagodas at Nara in Japan. Based on an enlargement and refinement of the Han timber tower, or lou, they had up to 12 stories, with a projecting mast at the top ringed with metal disks. This mast was the only feature preserved from the Indian (India) Buddhist burial or reliquary mound, the stupa, a hemispherical form that the Chinese rarely seem to have copied. The brick and stone pagodas, which were originally more Indian in form and were gradually Sinicized, are tiered structures with the stories marked by projecting string courses (horizontal bands) and architectural features borrowed from timberwork indicated in relief. The oldest surviving example is the Sung-yüeh Temple, a 12-sided stone pagoda on Mount Sung (c. 520–525) that is Indian in its shape and detail.

      Of the architecture of southern China in this period only the descriptions in literature and poetry, no doubt exaggerated, remain. The great palaces, temples, and pagodas of 6th-century Nanking have all disappeared. Evidence of wall paintings and reliefs suggests, however, that the curved roof was already beginning to make its appearance in the south, although it did not reach northern China until well into the T'ang dynasty.

      The southern Chinese rulers, notably Wu-ti (Wudi) (ruled 502–549), developed the Han tradition of monumental stone sculpture, lining the “spirit way” to the tomb with winged lions more slender and linear in style than the heavy Han beasts. This new elegance of form, characteristic of all Six Dynasties art, is also seen in small, gilt bronze lions made as ornaments and in the modeling of tomb figurines.

      The earliest known Chinese Buddhist sculpture was made in the Eastern Han (at Ma-hao and P'eng-shan, in Szechwan, 2nd century AD). The first Buddhist images in gilt bronze were copies of icons brought to China from Central Asia, Afghanistan, and possibly India itself. Some are very clumsily modeled, which is not surprising when one considers that the Chinese craftsmen were copying an alien style and iconography. The finest, however, have a simple, compact charm, as can be seen in a seated Buddha (Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection) copied from an Indian Gandhāra model. Bearing an inscription of 338, it is the earliest dated Chinese Buddha yet discovered. While all the surviving early Buddhist sculpture seems to have been made in the north, Nanking already had, before 400, a notable sculptor in Tai K'uei, who cast many large bronze images.

      In the first centuries of Buddhist history in China, rock-cut cave temples and monastic cells rivaled timber-built courtyard temples in importance. In 460 a Chinese priest recommended to the Wei ruler that he should carve from a cliff face near the northern capital, Ta-t'ung, five huge images, dedicated to four of his Imperial predecessors and himself. These are caves XVI to XX at Yün-kang (Yungang caves), cut in the 460s and 470s. The scale is heroic: the standing Buddha of cave XVIII and the seated Buddha of cave XX are each 14 metres high. The style is based on Central Asian models, squat in proportion and broad-shouldered, with large, square faces and staring eyes and drapery indicated in stylized repeated folds.

      The early work at Yün-kang represents the culmination of the first phase of Buddhist sculpture in China. “Paired” caves at Yün-kang (caves VI–XII), some of which were commissioned by subsequent rulers in honour of their parents, show a progressive change in style. This style developed into an entirely different second phase, which was flat and linear and which spread to the north from Nanking. It is the splendour and richness of these rock-cut shrines and the almost total absence of sculpture from southern China of this period that have given the wrong impression that this new second phase in Buddhist sculpture was the creation of northern sculptors.

      On the contrary, the shift of the capital southward to Lo-yang in 494 marked the beginning of massive borrowing from southern culture, as, for example, in work begun at nearby Lung-men, where the Wei emperor commissioned the Pin-yang Cave, carved between 508 and 523. Here the second phase is fully mature. The figures are flattened, the angular body almost disappearing beneath a cascade of drapery and trailing scarves; the head is elongated, the eyes are half closed, and a gentle smile touches the lips. This ethereal style, which has been compared to that characteristic of Western Romanesque sculpture, shows the influence of the courtly figure painting in 5th-century Nanking, most clearly in panels in the Pin-yang Cave depicting the emperor and empress advancing in procession with their attendants. It has been suggested that the panels may have been inspired by southern paintings brought north, such as the transportable lacquer screens in southern court style dated 484 and found in the tomb of Ssu-ma Chin-lung at Ta-t'ung.

      Other important cave shrines were executed during this period of religious enthusiasm in northern China. Four important sculptured chambers were dedicated at Kung-hsien, east of Lo-yang, before the end of the Wei dynasty and two in the mid-6th century at T'ien-lung Shan. Far to the west the ruler of the Pei (Northern) Liang kingdom was an energetic commissioner of cave shrines, notably at Ping-ling Temple, near Lan-chou, and work started at the spectacular site of Mai-chi-shan, in southern Kansu, where a cliff more than 120 metres high was honeycombed with chambers and adorned with sculpture carved in stone or modeled in painted clay plaster.

      The second phase style is eloquently displayed in stone stelae (stela) (stone slabs or pillars that were used for votive or commemorative purposes) and gilt bronze altar groups of the 5th and 6th centuries. The stelae are carved in either of two styles: slablike monoliths with figures cut in the surface or leaf-shaped mandorlas with a group, generally the Buddha and bodhisattvas, standing out in high relief. Among the most beautiful of the gilt bronzes is an image of Śākyamuni (the historical Buddha) and Prabhūtaratna of 518 (in the Guimet Museum, Paris), which shows the attenuated linear style of the second phase carried almost to the point of mannerism.

      Before 550 Buddhist sculpture began to undergo a further radical change. This new third phase style, by contrast with the second phase, is solid and dignified; the standing figures are rigidly frontal and columnar and the heads massive and erect. In the bodhisattva figures, thick strands of jewelry play over the surface, making a striking contrast to the severe folds of the clinging robes; some figures are more plastic and sculptural, reflecting the Indian influence that was now once more penetrating into China, this time from the south, through new channels of trade and the many diplomatic and religious missions sent to Nanking by Linyi (Champa, now part of Vietnam) and Funan (approximately present-day Cambodia). From Nanking the new Indianized style spread to northern China, where it may be seen in the sculpture of the Northern Ch'i dynasty (550–577), and up the Yangtze River to Szechwan, where, at the Wan-fo Temple in Ch'eng-tu, there has been found a hoard of 6th- and 7th-century images, some of which are remarkably close to the Indian Gupta style. This third phase confrontation of Chinese and Indian art produced many styles, but at its best it attains a remarkable blend of surface richness and monumental grandeur. By the end of this phase, columnar rigidity began to give way to a more natural bearing of bodily weight, a swaying posture, and greater spatial extension (as seen in the Kuan-yin of about 570 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), which became more fully developed in the Sui and T'ang dynasties.

      That the trade route across Central Asia was not completely severed in the 6th century is shown by Sāsānian (Sāsānian dynasty) elements in northern Chinese metalwork and pottery and by the frequency of westerners among the tomb figurines. The most striking evidence of the continuity of this western contact is that of the reliefs on a stone funerary couch, carved about 570–580 (now dismembered and distributed among several Western museums), that depict feasting scenes with dancers and musicians in Sāsānian style, perhaps copied from Persian painting. Elements of this exotic style persisted in northern China and became absorbed into the decorative repertoire of the T'ang dynasty. They also reached Japan (where they can be seen in many objects in the Shōsō-in treasure house at Nara).

      The breakdown of the Confucian system after the Han was reflected in painting and painting theory by an emphasis on Taoist and Buddhist themes and reasons for painting. This period saw the first activity by the courtier class, who painted as amateurs and who were far better remembered in the written record of the art than were their professional, artisan-class counterparts. Among the first named painting masters, Ts'ao Pu-hsing and Tai K'uei painted chiefly Buddhist and Taoist subjects. Tai K'uei was noted as a poet, painter, and musician and was one of the first to establish the tradition of scholarly amateur painting (wen-jen hua (wenrenhua)). He was also the leading sculptor of his day, almost the only instance in Chinese history of a gentleman who engaged in this craft.

      The greatest painter at the southern court in this period was Ku K'ai-chih (Gu Kaizhi), an amateur painter from a family of distinguished Tung (Eastern) Wei dynasty scholar-officials in Nanking and an eccentric member of a Taoist sect. One of the most famous of his works (which survives in a T'ang dynasty copy in the British Museum) illustrates a 3rd-century didactic text “Nü-shih chen” (“Admonitions of the Court Instructress”), by Chang Hua. In this hand scroll (scroll painting), narrative illustration is bound strictly to the text (as if used as a mnemonic device): the advice to Imperial concubines to bear sons to the emperor, for instance, is accompanied by a delightful family group. The figures are slender and fairylike, and the line is fine and flows rhythmically. The roots of this elegant southern style, which then epitomized the highest Nanking court standard, can be traced back to Ch'ang-sha in the late Chou–early Han period, and it was later adopted as court style by the Northern Wei rulers (e.g., at Lung-men) when they moved south to Lo-yang in 495. Ku K'ai-chih also was noted as a portraitist, and, among Buddhist subjects, his rendering of the sage Vimalakīrti became a model for later painters.

      The south saw few major painters in the 5th century, but the settled reign of Wu-ti in the 6th produced a number of notable figures, among them Chang Seng-yu, who was commissioned by the pious emperor to decorate the walls of Buddhist temples in Nanking. All of his work is lost, but his style, from early accounts and later copies, seems to have combined realism with a new freedom in the use of the brush, employing dots and dashing strokes very different from the fine precision of Ku K'ai-chih. He also painted “flowers in relief” on the temple walls, which caused much astonishment. Whether the effect of relief was produced by chiaroscuro or by the thickness of the pigment itself is not known.

      Painters in northern China were chiefly occupied in Buddhist fresco painting (painting on a freshly plastered wall). While all the temples of the period have been destroyed, a quantity of wall painting survives at Tun-huang in northwestern Kansu in the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, Ch'ien-fo Tung, where there are nearly 500 cave shrines and niches dating from the 5th century onward. There are also wall paintings in the caves of Mai-chi-shan and Ping-ling Temple. Early Tun-huang (Dunhuang) paintings depict chiefly incidents in the life of the Buddha, the Jātaka (stories of his previous incarnations), and such simple themes as the perils from which Avalokiteśvara (Chinese: Kuan-yin) saves the faithful. In style they show a blend of Central Asian and Chinese techniques that reflects the mixed population of northern China at this time.

      Painters practicing foreign techniques were active at the northern courts in the 6th century. Ts'ao Chung-ta painted, according to an early text, “after the manner of foreign countries” and was noted for closely clinging drapery that made his figures look as though they had been drenched in water. At the end of the 6th century, a painter from Khotan (Ho-t'ien), Wei-ch'ih Po-chih-na, was active at the Sui court; a descendant of his, Wei-ch'ih I-seng, painted frescoes in the temples of Ch'ang-an using a thick impasto (a thick application of pigment) and a brush line that was “tight and strong like bending iron or coiling wire.” Those foreign techniques caused much comment among the Chinese but seem to have been confined to Buddhist painting and eventually were abandoned.

      The beginning of aesthetic (aesthetics) theory in China was another product of the spirit of inquiry and introspection that was abroad in these restless years. About AD 300 a long passionate poem, “Wen Fu” (“Rhymeprose on Literature”) was composed by Lu Chi on the subject of artistic creation. Also from this period, the Wen-hsin tiao-lung (“Literary Mind and Carving of Dragons”) by Liu Hsieh (c. 465–c. 522) has long remained China's premier treatise on aesthetics. It offers insightful consideration of a wide range of chosen topics, beginning with a discussion of wen, or nature's underlying pattern. Set forth as central to the mastery of artistic expression are the control of “wind” (feng, emotional vitality) and “bone” (ku, structural organization).

      In the Southern Liang dynasty critical works were written on literature and calligraphy; and, about the mid-6th century, the painter Hsieh Ho (Xie He) compiled the earliest work on art theory that has survived in China, the Ku-hua p'in-lu (“Classified Record of Painters of Former Times”). In this work he grades 27 painters in three classes, prefacing his list with a short statement of six aesthetic principles by which painting should be judged. These are: ch'i yün sheng tung (“spirit resonance, life-motion”), an enigmatic and much debated phrase that means that the painter should endow his work with life and movement through harmony with the spirit of nature; ku fa yung pi (“structural method in use of the brush”), referring to the structural power and tension of the brushstroke, alike in painting and calligraphy, through which the vital spirit is expressed; ying wu hsiang hsing (“fidelity to the object in portraying forms”); sui lei fu ts'ai (conforming to kind in applying colours); ching ying wei chih (planning and design in placing and positioning); and ch'uan i mu hsieh (transmission of ancient models by copying). The last principle seems to refer to the copying of ancient paintings both for technical training and as a means of preserving them and hence the tradition itself. Of the “six principles,” the first two are fundamental, for, unless the conventional forms are brought to life by the vitality of the brushwork, the painting has no real merit, however carefully it is executed; the latter principles imply that truth to nature and tradition also must be obtained for the first two to be achieved. The six principles of Hsieh Ho have become the cornerstone of Chinese aesthetic theory down through the centuries.

      The integration of spirituality and naturalism is similarly found in the short, profoundly Taoist text of the early 5th century, Hua shan-shui hsü (“Preface on Landscape Painting,” China's first essay on the topic), attributed to Tsung Ping. Tsung suggests that if well-painted—that is, if both visually accurate and aesthetically compelling—a landscape painting can truly substitute for real nature, for, even though miniaturized, it can attract vital energy (ch'i) from the spirit-filled void (Tao), just as its real, material counterpart does. This interplay between macrocosm and microcosm became a constant foundation of Chinese spiritual thought and aesthetics.

      The fine art of writing, calligraphy, has often been held to occupy the highest place among the visual arts in China. The direct ancestor of modern writing, the script used on oracle shells and bones (chia-ku-wen (jiaguwen)) of the middle and late Shang dynasty, had already developed into a complex, semi-pictorial system. It gradually evolved into the large seal script (ta-chuan (dazhuan) shu) seen in cast bronze inscriptions throughout the late Shang and the Chou dynasty. In the Ch'in dynasty unity was imposed by the government in the form of small seal script (hsiao-chuan (xiaozhuan)). Perhaps because these early styles were often used for engraving inscriptions, they are all characterized by unmodulated brush lines and do not show to any advantage the expressive qualities permitted by the flexible Chinese brush. This latter quality first appeared in the Han dynasty in the form of clerical script (li-shu (lishu)), perhaps aided by improvements in the writing brush itself. Clerical script is characterized by powerfully expanding brushstrokes, with angular starts, turns, and stops; it can be boldly expressive whether written with the brush or carved in formal inscriptions on stone stelae. A convenient cursive version of clerical script, known as draft script (ts'ao-shu (caoshu)), also was developed, with a reduced number of strokes and considerable linkage between them. Gradually, by the end of the Han, clerical script, influenced by draft script, developed a more fluent structure and form of brushwork that has survived to this day as China's standard script (k'ai-shu (kaishu), or cheng-shu). Developing parallel to the draft script was a semicursive, or “running,” script (hsing-shu). By the early Six Dynasties period, the highly flexible standard and cursive scripts had come to be perceived as a profound artistic medium, capable of communicating fundamental personal qualities, and writing in draft script became something of a cult activity among the literati.

      Among the early famous masters of calligraphy in the late Han to early Six Dynasties period were Chang Chih, Ts'ai Yung, Chung Yu, and Lu Chi. Wang Hsi-chih (Wang Xizhi) (c. 303–c. 361), a master of the k'ai, hsing, and ts'ao styles, especially favoured Chung Yu's fluid style but studied the past broadly and achieved the first great historical synthesis of styles. His sons Wang Hsien-chih and Wang Hui-chih inherited his talents (the whole family seems also to have been engaged in occult Taoism, in which their calligraphy was used for mystic trance-writing). For a while, Wang Hsien-chih's more suave manner of calligraphy surpassed his father's more spontaneous art in popularity. But the father was idolized by the second T'ang dynasty emperor, T'ai-tsung, who had his works copied at the 7th-century court for widespread distribution and took almost all the originals to the tomb with him, including Wang's Lan-ting hsü (“Orchid Pavilion Preface”), the most hallowed work of visual art in all East Asian history; and for over a millennium Wang Hsi-chih has been imitated by nearly every Asian schoolchild with a brush. Wang Hsi-chih and his followers founded a southern style of calligraphy that is elegant and graceful and that contrasted with the somewhat archaic style in the north at that time. The latter, known especially from stelae inscriptions, perpetuated the bold and angular power of Han clerical script and belatedly came to rival Wang Hsi-chih's influence in the hands of 8th-century T'ang masters such as Chang Hsü, who effected a second great historical synthesis.

      The increase in population in the lower Yangtze valley was a great stimulus to the pottery industry in the Six Dynasties. Kilns in Chekiang (the old kingdom of Yüeh) were producing a stoneware with an olive brown or greenish glaze. Examples of Yüeh ware jars, ewers, pitchers, and other grave goods have been found in 3rd- and 4th-century tombs in the Nanking region. They were made chiefly at Shao-hsing, at Shang-lin Lake, and at Te-ch'ing, north of Hang-chou, which also produced a stoneware with a glossy black glaze. During the Six Dynasties potters freed themselves from the influence of bronze design and produced shapes more characteristic of pottery.

      While most of the Chekiang wares are plain or simply decorated, “northern celadon,” produced in Hopeh and Honan in the 6th century, is exotic in style, reflecting the taste of Turkish rulers and other cultural contacts with western Asia. Heavy funerary jars are adorned with acanthus and lotus leaves, and flowers and round decorative plaques are molded or applied to the surface in imitation of Sāsānian repoussé metalwork. tomb figurines of this period are often made of dark gray earthenware and unglazed, though sometimes they are painted.

Sui (581–618) and T'ang (Tang dynasty) (618–907) dynasties
      The founding of the Sui dynasty reunited China after more than 300 years of fragmentation. The second Sui emperor engaged in unsuccessful wars and vast public works, such as the Grand Canal linking the north and south, that exhausted the people and caused them to revolt. The succeeding T'ang dynasty built a more enduring state on the foundations the Sui rulers had laid, and the first 130 years of the T'ang was one of the most prosperous and brilliant periods in the history of Chinese civilization. The empire now extended so far across Central Asia that for a while Bukhara and Samarkand were under Chinese control, the Central Asian kingdoms paid China tribute, and Chinese cultural influence reached Korea and Japan. Ch'ang-an (Chang'an) became the greatest city in the world; its streets were filled with foreigners, and foreign religions—including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Manichaeism, Nestorianism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islām—flourished. This confident cosmopolitanism is reflected in all the arts of this period.

      The splendour of the dynasty reached its peak between 712 and 756 under Hsüan-tsung (or Ming-huang), but before the end of his reign a disastrous defeat lost Central Asia to the advancing Arabs, and the rebellion of General An Lu-shan in 755 almost brought down the dynasty. Although the T'ang survived another 150 years, its great days were over; and, as the empire shrank and the economic crisis deepened, the government and people turned against foreigners and foreign religions. In 845 all foreign religions were briefly but disastrously proscribed; temples and monasteries were destroyed or turned to secular use, and Buddhist bronze images were melted down. Today the finest Buddhist art and architecture in the T'ang style is to be found not in China but in the 8th-century temples at Nara in Japan. While the ancient heartland of Chinese civilization in the Honan-Shensi area sank in political and economic importance, the southeast became ever more densely populated and prosperous, and in the last century of the T'ang it was once again the cultural centre of China, as it had been in the Six Dynasties.

      The Sui capital, Ta-hsing, was designed in 583 on Imperial order by the great architect Yü-wen K'ai; renamed Ch'ang-an, it was further developed by the T'ang after 618. This vast city, six times the size of present-day Sian, was laid out in nine months on a grid plan, with eastern and western markets and the Imperial City placed in the central northern section, a plan later followed at Peking. In 634 T'ang T'ai-tsung built a new palace, the Ta-ming Palace, on higher ground just outside the city to the northeast. The site of the Ta-ming Palace, which became the centre of court life during the glittering reigns of Kao-tsung (649–683) and Hsüan-tsung (712–756), has recently been partly excavated. Remains have been found of two great halls, Han-yüan Hall, with its elevated corridors extended like huge arms toward overlapping triple towers (foreshadowing the later Japanese Phoenix Hall at Uji and the Wu Gate at Peking), and the Lin-te Hall; marble flagstones and bases of 164 columns of the latter give some indication of its splendour. Lost marvels of Sui-T'ang palace architecture include Yü-wen K'ai's rotating pavilion in the Sui palace, which could hold 200 guests, and the 90-metre-high state Ming-t'ang (“Spirit Hall”) built for China's only reigning empress, the usurper Wu-hou (or Wu Tse-t'ien, who changed the name of the dynasty from T'ang to Chou during her reign from 690 to 705). Surviving murals from Buddhist caves at Tun-huang and excavated royal tombs near Ch'ang-an provide a graphic record of T'ang architecture, its taste for multistory elevation, tall towers, and elaborate elevated walkways, its somewhat garish use of coloured-tile building surfaces, and its integration of architecture with gardens, ponds, and bridges.

      The Sui-T'ang period saw some of China's most lavish royal tomb building, before the onset of a relative modesty in the Sung and a decline of qualitative standards in later periods. Excavated royal tombs at Ch'ang-ling, north of the capital, include three built for close relatives of Wu-hou who were degraded or executed by her on her way to the throne and reburied amid much pomp and splendour in 706 after the restoration of the T'ang royal lineage. In each, the subterranean sepulchre is surmounted by a truncated pyramidal tumulus and is approached through a sculpture-lined “spirit way” (ling-tao). Inside, painted corridors and incised stone sarcophagi provide a lingering record of T'ang splendour, with colourful renderings of palatial settings, foreign diplomats, servants-in-waiting, and recreation at polo and the hunt. Along the corridor, niches that had served temporarily as ventilating shafts are stuffed with ceramic figurines, riders and entertainers, T'ang horses and other fabulous animals, mostly done in bold tricolour glazes. The corridor leads to two domed vaults serving as an antechamber and burial hall. The tombs of some T'ang rulers were so grand that artificial tomb mounds no longer sufficed, and funerary caverns were carved out beneath large mountains. The huge tomb of Emperor Kao-tsung and his empress, Wu-hou (China's only joint burial of rulers), at Ch'ang-ling, has yet to be excavated but appears to be intact.

 The Sui and the first half of T'ang were great periods of temple building. The first Sui emperor distributed relics throughout the country and ordered that pagodas and temples be built to house them, and the early T'ang monarchs were equally lavish in their foundations. Apart from masonry pagodas, however, very few T'ang temple buildings have survived. The oldest yet identified is the main hall of Nan-ch'an Temple at Wu-t'ai in northern Shansi (before 782); the largest is the main hall of nearby Fo-kuang Temple (857). The Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsu-den, 752) of the Tōdai Temple (Tōdaĭ-ji) at Nara in Japan, 88 metres long and 51.5 metres wide, built in the T'ang style, is today the largest wooden building in the world; however, it is small compared with the lost T'ang temple halls of Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an.

      T'ang and later pagodas show little of the Indian influence that was so marked on the Sung-yüeh Temple pagoda. T'ang wooden pagodas have all been destroyed, but graceful examples survive at Nara, notably at Hōryū Temple, Yakushi Temple, and Daigō Temple. Masonry pagodas include the seven-story, 58-metre-high Ta Yen T'a, or Great Wild Goose Pagoda, of Tz'u-en Temple in Ch'ang-an, on which the successive stories are marked by corbeled cornices, and timber features are simulated in stone by flat columns, or pilasters, struts, and capitals.

      T'ang cave-temples at Tun-huang were increasingly Sinicized, abandoning the Indianesque central pillar, the circumambulated focus of worship which in Six Dynasties caves was sculpted and painted on all four sides with Buddhist paradises; in the T'ang, major Buddhist icons and paradise murals were moved to the rear of an open chamber and given elevated seating, much like an emperor enthroned in his palace or like any Chinese host.

      By the end of the T'ang, the traditional Chinese techniques of architectural siting had been synthesized into geomantic systems known as feng-shui or k'an-yü (both designating the interactive forces of heaven and earth). These had origins reaching back at least to earliest Chou times and were undertaken seriously by architects in all periods. Practiced by Taoist specialists, northern Chinese traditions emphasized the use of a magnetic compass and were especially concerned with the conjoining of astral and earthly principles according to months and seasons, stars and planets, the hexagrams of the I Ching divinatory text, and a “five phases” theory of fire, water, wood, metal, and earth that was first propagated in the Han dynasty; while in the south, where landscape features were more irregular, a “Form school” emphasized the proper relationship of protective mountains (the northern direction representing dark forces and requiring barriers, the south being benign and requiring openness) and a suitable flow of water. In later periods, elements of both schools could be found in use throughout China.

      Although the Sui emperors were great patrons of Buddhism, there were no major changes in style during this brief period, and the most impressive surviving pieces, such as a huge standing Amitābha Buddha of white marble dating from 585 from central Hopeh (British Museum, London), preserve in all essential features the style of the Northern Ch'i. T'ang T'ai-tsung was hostile to Buddhism, but his successor, Kao-tsung, and Empress Wu were lavish in their endowments. Under Kao-tsung, the principal cave shrine, Feng-hsien Temple, was carved out at Lung-men between 672 and 675. The central figure, cut almost in the round, is the cosmic Buddha Vairocana (one of the Five Celestial Buddhas), whose worship had recently been introduced with the doctrines of the Esoteric Chen-yen sect. The figure, 11 metres high, is compact, restrained, and somewhat severe in conception; the head and body are massively yet delicately modeled, and the features and drapery are sharply carved, as though painted with a fine brush.

      The next 50 years saw the climax of the fourth phase of Chinese Buddhist sculpture, in which Indian mass and Chinese rhythmic line were triumphantly united and reconciled. The high point came about 690–710, in the early caves at T'ien-lung Shan (Tianlong Shan), carved under the patronage of Empress Wu, and in single stone figures of great nobility, such as a seated Buddha of 711 (in the Shōdō Museum, Tokyo). The largest and finest bronze pieces in this style are a bronze Yakushi flanked by bodhisattvas (Yakushi Temple, Nara); no examples of comparable quality have survived in China.

      The mature style of the 8th century is well displayed in later caves at T'ien-lung Shan, carved for the emperor Hsüan-tsung. Here the modeling is much fuller and more fleshy, the poses more exaggerated, and the drapery sweeps over the partly exposed body in an emphatic manner very different from the restrained nobility of the 7th century. This “baroque” style was an expression not only of Indian sculptural (sculpture) influences but also of the confident materialism of high T'ang culture, when the spiritual message of Buddhism seemed less important than the lavish endowment of temples and images and the display of religious extravagance that was one of the chief causes of the anti-Buddhist campaign of 845.

      While the great images that adorned Sui and T'ang temples have all been lost, the style is preserved in stone stelae and in small bronze altar shrines (such as the Sui group of 593, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Some of the finest work must have been in such fragile materials as dry lacquer and painted clay. Examples of dry lacquer sculpture of the 8th century survive in the temples at Nara. Some Chinese sculptors, according to contemporary records, worked primarily in clay. One such was Yang Hui-chih, who strove in his figures to capture the style of the 6th-century painter Chang Seng-yu. His work, too, has disappeared, but the influence of painting can clearly be seen in clay figures in the cave shrines at Tun-huang and Mai-chi-shan.

      The patronage of the Sui and T'ang courts attracted painters from all over the empire. Yen Li-pen (Yan Liben), who rose to high office as an administrator, finally becoming a minister of state, was also a noted 7th-century figure painter. His duties included painting historical scrolls, notable events past and present, and portraits, including those of foreigners and strange creatures brought to court as tribute, to the delight of his patron, T'ai-tsung. Yen Li-pen painted in a conservative style with a delicate, scarcely modulated line. Part of a scroll depicting 13 emperors from Han to Sui (in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) is attributed to him. His brother Yen Li-te was also a painter. Features of their style may possibly be preserved in wall paintings in recently discovered 7th- and early 8th-century tombs in northern China, notably that of Princess Yung-t'ai (reburied 706) near Sian.

 The royal tombs near Sian (706) show the emergence of a more liberated tradition in brushwork that came to the fore in mid- to late-8th-century painting, as it did in the calligraphy of Chang Hsü, Yen Chen-ch'ing, and other master writers. The greatest brush master of T'ang painting was the 8th-century artist Wu Tao-hsüan (Wu Daoxuan), who was also called Wu Tao-tzu and who not only enjoyed a career at court but had sufficient creative energy to execute, according to T'ang records, some 300 wall paintings in the temples of Lo-yang and Ch'ang-an. His brushwork, in contrast to that of Yen Li-pen, was full of such sweeping power that crowds would gather to watch him as he worked. He painted chiefly in ink, leaving the colouring to his assistants, and was famous for the three-dimensional, sculptural effect he achieved with the ink line alone. Only descriptions of his work (e.g., a mural at the Ta-t'ung Hall of the Imperial palace, representing almost 500 kilometres of Szechwan's Chia-ling River, produced in a single day without preliminary sketches) and very unreliable copies survive. Wu Tao-tzu had a profound influence, particularly on figure painting, in the T'ang and Sung dynasties. His style may be reflected in some of the 8th-century caves at Tun-huang, although the meticulous handling of the great paradise compositions in the caves increasingly came to approximate the high standards of Chinese court artists and suggests the inspiration of earlier and more conservative Buddhist painters, who included Cheng Fa-shih and Tung Po-jen. This more restrained style can also be seen in the Japanese temple murals at Hōryū Temple near Nara, executed about 670–710 in the Chinese “international” manner.

      Figure painters who depicted court life in a careful manner derived from Yen Li-pen rather than from Wu Tao-tzu included Chang Hsüan and Chou Fang (Zhou Fang). The former's “Ladies Preparing Silk” survives in a Sung dynasty copy (in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), while later versions of several compositions attributed to Chou Fang exist. Eighth-century royal tomb murals and Tun-huang Buddhist paintings demonstrate the early appearance and widespread appeal of styles that these court artists helped later to canonize, with individual figures (especially women) of monumental, sculpturesque proportion arranged upon a blank background with classic simplicity and balance.

      Horses (horse) played an important role in T'ang military expansion and in the life of the court; riding was a popular recreation, and even the court ladies played polo. Horses also had become a popular subject for painting, and one of the emperor Hsüan-tsung's favourite court artists was the horse painter Han Kan (Han Gan). A damaged and much restored 8th-century painting of the emperor's favourite charger, “Chao-yeh-pai” (“Shining White in the Night,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), attributed to Han Kan, gives a hint of that artist's vital talent. The other great horse painting master was the army general Ts'ao Pa, said by the poet Tu Fu to have captured better the inner character of his subjects and not just the flesh. Most later horse painters claimed to follow Han Kan or Ts'ao Pa, but the actual stylistic contrast between them was already reported in Northern Sung times as no longer distinguishable and today is hardly understood.

 The more than three centuries of the Sui and T'ang were a period of progress and change in landscape painting. The early 7th- and 8th-century masters Chan Tzu-ch'ien, Li Ssu-hsün, and the latter's son Li Chao-tao developed a style of landscape painting known as ch'ing-lü-pai (“green, blue, white”), or chin-pi shan-shui (jinbi shanshui) (“gold-blue-green”), in which mineral colours were applied to a composition carefully executed in fine line to produce a richly coloured effect. Probably related to Central Asian painting styles of the Six Dynasties period and associated with the jeweled-paradise landscapes of the Taoist immortals, this “blue-and-green” type readily appealed to the T'ang court's taste for international exotica, religious fantasy, and boldly decorative art. A painting in this technique, known as “Ming-huang's Journey to Shu” (that is, Szechwan; in the National Palace Museum, Taipei), reflects what is considered to be the style of Li Chao-tao, although it is probably a later copy. This style gradually crystallized as a courtly and professional tradition, in contrast to the more informal calligraphic ink painting of the literati.

      The traditional founder of the school of scholarly landscape painting (wen-jen hua (wenrenhua)) is Wang Wei, an 8th-century scholar and poet who divided his time between the court at Ch'ang-an, where he held official posts, and his country estate of Wang Ch'uan, of which he painted a panoramic composition preserved in later copies and engraved on stone. Among his Buddhist paintings, the most famous was a rendering of the Indian sage Vimalakīrti, who became, as it were, the “patron saint” of Chinese Buddhist intellectuals. Wang Wei sometimes painted landscapes in colour, but his later reputation was based on the belief that he was the first to paint landscape in monochrome ink. He was said to have obtained a subtle atmosphere by “breaking the ink” (p'o-mo (pomo)) into varied tones. The belief in his founding role, fostered by later critics, became the cornerstone of the philosophy of the wen-jen hua, which held that a man could not be a great painter unless he was also a scholar and a gentleman.

      More adventurous in technique was the somewhat eccentric late-8th-century painter Chang Tsao, who produced dramatic tonal and textural contrasts, as when he painted simultaneously, with one brush in each hand, two branches of a tree, one moist and flourishing, the other desiccated and dead. This new freedom with the brush was carried to extremes by such painters of the middle to late T'ang as Wang Hsia (or Wang Mo) and Ku K'uang, southern Chinese Taoists who “splashed ink” (also transliterated as p'o-mo but written with different characters than “broken ink”) onto the silk in a manner suggestive of 20th-century Action painters. The intention of these ink-splashers was philosophical and religious as well as artistic: it was written at the time that their spontaneous process was designed to imitate the divine process of creation. Their semi-finished products, in which the artistic process was fully revealed and the subject matter had to be discerned by the viewer, suggested a Taoist philosophical skepticism. These techniques marked the emergence of a trend toward eccentricity in brushwork that had free rein in periods of political and social chaos. They were subsequently employed by painters of the southern “sudden” school of Ch'an ( Zen) Buddhism, which held that enlightenment was a spontaneous, irrational experience that could be suggested in painting only by a comparable spontaneity in the brushwork. Ch'an painting flourished particularly in Ch'eng-tu, the capital of the petty state of Shu, to which many artists went as refugees from the chaotic north in the last years before the T'ang dynasty fell. Among them was Kuan-hsiu (Guanxiu), an eccentric who painted Buddhist saints with a weird air and exaggerated features that had a strong appeal to members of the Ch'an sect. The element of the deliberately grotesque in Kuan-hsiu's art was further developed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period by Shih K'o, who was active in Ch'eng-tu in the mid-10th century. In his paintings, chiefly of Buddhist and Taoist subjects, he set out in the Ch'an manner to shock the viewer by distortion and roughness of execution.

      As T'ang painting moved in the direction of greater linear expressiveness, it came increasingly under the sway of developments in calligraphy, not only in technique and style but in aesthetic theory as well. The Sinicization of the Turkic rulers of the Northern Wei by the late 5th century and the reunification of China under the Sui and T'ang a century later paved the way for an infusion of southern taste at the court in the north and, gradually, for a synthesis of southern and northern styles. The passionate accumulation and distribution through careful copywork of Wang Hsi-chih's surviving manuscripts by the second T'ang dynasty emperor, T'ai-tsung, represents this infusion and was accompanied by widespread calligraphic activity at the court, where Ou-yang Hsün, Yü Shih-nan (a pupil of Wang Hsi-chih's 7th-generation descendant, the priest Chih-yung), and Ch'u Sui-liang were among the many brush masters of lasting fame who were gathered to serve as copyists for the emperor and the nation. T'ai-tsung himself was a notable writer, as was his descendant of the next century, Hsüan-tsung.

      It was during Hsüan-tsung's reign that Chinese calligraphy reached a third definitive period, comparable to the Ch'in unification of seal script and the Wang family's synthesis of earlier styles. The three greatest masters involved in synthesizing southern and northern tendencies, blending fluid brush movement and expressive power, were Chang Hsü (known for his “delirious cursive” writing) and his pupils Yen Chen-ch'ing and the monk Huai-su (the latter practicing a “wild cursive”—k'uang-ts'ao—style). They helped establish a new aesthetic standard that would soon pervade painting as well as calligraphy, more fully than ever before realizing in visual form the ancient aesthetic principles of “natural” emotionality and “sincerity” in rendering. Their preference for rugged, intentionally awkward, or altogether surprising forms was quite different from the elegant polish of the earlier, southern Chinese styles; and their emphasis on expressing character and emotion was handed down through Liu Kung-ch'üan of the next century and enshrined as the dominant manner of the Sung dynasty by Su Shih, Huang T'ing-chien, and Mi Fu of the 11th century.

 After the comparative sterility of the Six Dynasties, this was a great period in the development of Chinese pottery. Although a white porcelain perfected early in the 7th century is called Hsing yao (Hsing “ware”) because of a reference to white porcelain of Hsing-chou in the 9th-century essay Ch'a Ching (“Tea Classic”) by Lu Yü, as yet no kilns have been found there. Kilns near Ting-chou in Hopeh, however, were at this time already producing a fine white porcelain, ancestor of the famous Ting ware of the Northern Sung. Late-7th- and 8th-century ceramists in northern China, working primarily at kilns at T'ung-ch'uan near Ch'ang-an and at Kung-hsien in Honan province, also developed “three-colour” (san ts'ai) pottery wares and figurines that were slipped and covered with a low-fired lead glaze tinted with copper or ferrous oxide in green, yellow, brown, and sometimes blue; the bright colours were allowed to mix or run naturally over the robust contour of these vessels, which are among the finest in the history of Chinese pottery. Northern Chinese kilns in Shensi also produced a stoneware with a rich black glaze, and a type of celadon was made north of Sian, in Shensi. The northern Chinese potters borrowed shapes and motifs from western Asia even more freely than had their 6th-century predecessors; foreign shapes include the amphora, bird-headed ewer, and rhyton; foreign motifs include hunting reliefs, floral medallions, boys with garlands or swags of vines, and Buddhist symbols adapted and applied with characteristic T'ang confidence. Some forms were borrowed from metalwork or glassware.

       tomb figurines were produced in such enormous quantities that attempts were made through sumptuary laws to limit their number and size, but they met with little success. The figurines were made, generally in molds, of earthenware covered with slip and painted or glazed or both. Among the human figures are servants and actors, female dancers, and musicians of exquisite grace. The 7th-century figurines are slender and high-waisted, those of the 8th century are increasingly rotund and round-faced, reflecting a change in fashion. There are also many figurines of Central Asian grooms and Semitic merchants, whose deep-set eyes and jutting noses are caricatured. Of the camels and horses, the most remarkable are glazed camels bearing on their backs a group of four or five singers and musicians. After the middle of the 8th century, there was a sharp decline both in the quantity and in the quality of northern China tomb wares and figurines.

      The great southward movement of population in the T'ang dynasty stimulated the development of many new kilns. Celadons (celadon) were now made in Chiung-lai (Szechwan), Ch'ang-sha (Hunan), and several areas of Kwangtung and Fukien. A kiln producing whitewares was active at Chi-chou in Kiangsi, and at Ching-te-chen (Jingdezhen) in the same province two kilns were producing celadons and whitewares. From these humble beginnings, Ching-te-chen was destined to become, in the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, the largest pottery factory in the world. In the Ch'a Ching, the celadons of Yüeh-chou in Chekiang are ranked for their jadelike quality first among the wares suitable for tea drinking, followed by the silvery Hsing ware. Yüeh celadons from kilns at Yü-yao and a number of other sites in Chekiang were also exported, and quantities of fine Yüeh ware have been found at al-Fusṭāṭ in Egypt and at Sāmarrāʾ in Iraq, the summer residence of the ʿAbbāsid caliphs between 836 and 883. T'ang wares, consisting chiefly of celadons from southern Chinese kilns, have also been found in Indonesia and the Philippines, marking the beginning of a vast export trade in Chinese pottery that has continued almost without interruption into modern times.

      The metalwork and jewelry of the T'ang period are witness to the wealth and cosmopolitanism of T'ang culture. Silver and silver-gilt ritual objects of many kinds have been found in T'ang tombs, including vases, ewers, dishes, bowls, wine cups, and incense burners. While some shapes are traditional Chinese, others are foreign. Alms bowls, kuṇḍikā water bottles (Buddhist ewers used in the initiation of monks), and reliquaries arrived with Buddhism from India; a polylobed cup, platter with relief decoration, ewer, and handled cup are of Sāsānian (Sāsānian dynasty) origin; the rhyton drinking cup is ultimately Greek. Among decorative motifs, the pearl band, cloud volute, curl border, dragons, and phoenixes are Chinese; hunting scenes, vine scrolls, rosettes, and opposed birds or animals in roundels are Sāsānian; and from India came Buddhist themes, lotus scrolls, and much of the floral ornament.

      Until the T'ang dynasty, Chinese gold and silver were generally cast as though they were bronze, but the great demand in the T'ang for objects made in these metals led to the adoption of the much more economical technique of “raising”—that is, pressing up the sides of a bowl by hammering from the centre of a circular sheet. Metal could be saved by raising two very thin sheets and soldering them up at the lip, leaving a space between them that also acted as a heat insulator. Decoration was done not by engraving, which might cut right through the thin sheet, but by tracing: the sheet was placed on a block of wood, lead, or pitch and the design sunk in a groove with a small, rounded chisel. The background was filled in with rows of minute, punched circles. Other techniques included gilding, beading, and filigree (delicate, intricate openwork); the many varieties of inlay employed gold and precious stones and, on flat surfaces such as mirror backs, gold, silver, or mother-of-pearl set in a bed of lacquer. Superb examples of goldsmith's work and jewelry have been excavated, notably from the tomb of a Sui princess near Sian and from the site of Hsüan-tsung's palace, which yielded, among other treasures, a silver and gilt dish, 84 centimetres in diameter, with phoenix designs.

      Many of the finest Sui and T'ang bronze mirrors (mirror) were made at Yang-chou on the Grand Canal. Decoration, cast in high relief or repoussé, includes auspicious motifs, Taoist scenes, and the 12 zodiacal animals. The “lion and grape” mirror was very popular in the 7th and 8th centuries, for it embodied both Chinese directional and “five phases” symbolism, and lions and grapes were also potent symbols in the Manichaean faith introduced by the Uighur from Central Asia. This type of mirror disappeared abruptly with the persecution of the Manichaeans in 843.

Decorative arts: collection in the Shōsō-in treasure house
      The Shōsō-in treasure house, a timber structure in Nara, Japan, was built to receive the personal treasures bequeathed to the Tōdai Temple by the emperor Shōmu, who died in 756. While subsequent deposits gradually added to the collection, the original gift embraced more than 600 items, which included Buddhist ritual objects, furniture, musical instruments, textiles, metalwork, lacquerwork, cloisonné, glassware, pottery, painted screens, calligraphy, and maps. Many of these pieces must have been made in Japan, but they are for the most part typically T'ang in style and decoration. This collection of T'ang-style decorative arts and crafts is the greatest in the world. Its importance lies in the fact that it is exactly datable to 756 or earlier, nearly all the pieces are in excellent condition, and they include types of decoration and technique of which no examples have survived in China. The textiles, for instance, include brocade, embroidery, batik, tie-dye, and stencil work. And a cloisonné mirror, which is generally accepted as part of the original deposit, shows that this technique was known and practiced in East and Southeast Asia in the 8th century and was not introduced from the Middle East in the 14th century, as was once supposed. The art, however, may have been lost again in the intervening years, for no Sung dynasty cloisonné has been identified.

Five Dynasties (907–960) and Ten Kingdoms (902–978)
      At the fall of the T'ang, northern China, ruled by five short-lived dynasties, plunged into a state of political and social chaos. The corrupt northern courts offered little support to the arts, although Buddhism continued to flourish until persecution in 955 destroyed much of what had been created in the 110 years since the previous anti-Buddhist campaign. The 10 independent kingdoms that ruled various parts of southern China, though no more enduring, offered more enlightened patronage. At first, the Ch'ien (Former) Shu (with its capital at Ch'eng-tu), then, for a longer period, the kingdoms of the Nan (Southern) T'ang (with the capital at Nanking) and Wu-Yüeh (with its capital at Hang-chou) were centres of comparative peace and prosperity. Li Hou-chu (or Li Yü (Li Yu)), the last ruler of the Southern T'ang, was a poet and liberal patron at whose court the arts flourished more brilliantly than at any time since the mid-8th century. Not only were the southern courts at Ch'eng-tu and Nanking leading patrons of the arts but they also began formalizing court sponsorship of painting by organizing a centralized atelier with an academic component and by granting painters an elevated bureaucratic stature—policies that would be followed or modified by subsequent dynasties.

 In northern China only a handful of painters were working. The greatest of them, Ching Hao (Jing Hao), who was active from about 910 to 950, spent much of his life as a recluse in the T'ai-hang Mountains of Shansi. No authentic work of his survives, but he seems from texts and later copies to have created a new style of landscape painting. Boldly conceived and executed chiefly in ink with firmness and concentration, his precipitous crags, cleft with gullies and rushing streams, rise up in rank upon rank to the top of the picture. For 150 years before his time the centre of landscape painting had been in the southeast, and Ching Hao's importance lies in the fact that he both revived the northern spirit and created a type of painting that became the model for his follower Kuan T'ung and the classic northern masters of the early Sung period, Li Ch'eng and Fan K'uan. An essay on landscape painting, “Pi-fa chi” (“Notes on Brushwork”), attributed to Ching Hao, sets out the philosophy of this school of landscape painting, one that was consistent with newly emergent Neo-Confucian ideals. Painting was to be judged both by its visual truthfulness to nature and by its expressive impact. The artist required creative intuition and a reverence for natural subject matter, tempered by rigorous empirical observation and personal self-discipline. Consistent with this, in all the major schools of Sung landscape painting that followed, artists would render with remarkable accuracy their own regional geography, letting it serve as a basis for their styles, their emotional moods, and their personal visions.

      In contrast to the stark drama of this northern style, landscapes associated with the name of Tung Yüan, who held a sinecure post at the court of Li Hou-chu in Nanking, are broad, almost Impressionist in treatment. The coarse brushstrokes (known as “hemp-fibre” texture strokes), dotted accents (“moss dots”), and wet ink washes of his monochrome style, said to be derived from Wang Wei, suggest the rounded, tree-clad hills and moist atmosphere of the Chiang-nan (“South of the River”) region. The contrast between the firm brushwork and dramatic compositions of such northern painters as Ching Hao and his followers and the more relaxed and spontaneous manner of Tung Yüan and his follower Chü-jan (Juran) laid the foundation for two distinct traditions in Chinese landscape painting that have continued up to modern times. The style developed by Tung Yüan and Chü-jan became dominant in the Ming and Ch'ing periods, preferred by amateur artists because of its easy reduction to a calligraphic mode, its calm and understated compositional nature, and its regional affiliation.

      While the few figure painters in northern China, such as Hu Huai, characteristically recorded hunting scenes, the southerners, notably Ku Hung-chung and Chou Wen-chü, depicted the voluptuous, sensual court life under Li Hou-chu. A remarkable copy of an original work by Ku Hung-chung depicts the scandalous revelries of the minister Han Hsi-tsai. Chou Wen-chü was famous for his pictures of court ladies and musical entertainments, executed with a fine line and soft, glowing colour in the tradition of Chang Hsüan and Chou Fang.

      Flower painting, previously associated chiefly with Buddhist art, came into its own as a separate branch of painting in the Five Dynasties. At Ch'eng-tu, the master Huang Ch'üan brought to maturity the technique of mo-ku hua (“boneless painting”), in which he applied light colours with delicate skill, hiding the intentionally pale underdrawing and seeming thereby to dispense with the usually dominant element of strong brush outline. His great rival, Hsü Hsi, working for Li Hou-chu in Nanking, first drew his flowers in ink in a bold, free manner suggestive of the draft script, ts'ao-shu, adding a little colour afterward. Both men established standards that were followed for centuries afterward. Because of its reliance on technical skill, Huang Ch'üan's naturalistic style (also referred to as hsieh-sheng, or “lifelike painting”), was mainly adopted by professional painters, while the scholars admired the calligraphic freedom of Hsü Hsi's style (referred to as hsieh-i, or “painting the idea”). Both men were also noted painters of bamboo, an object that had symbolic associations for the scholar-gentleman and at the same time posed a technical challenge in the handling of the brush. After the founding of the Sung, hsieh-sheng artists from Szechwan, including Huang Ch'üan and his sons Huang Chü-ts'ai and Huang Chü-pao, traveled to the new court at Pien-ching (K'ai-feng), where they established a tradition that dominated the Northern Sung period. Hsü Hsi found greater favour in the Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing periods.

      The confusion of northern China under the Five Dynasties was not conducive to development of the pottery industry, and some types such as the T'ang three-colour wares went out of production completely. White porcelain and black glazed stonewares (stoneware), however, continued into the Sung dynasty. By contrast, the flourishing southern courts and the massive increase in the population of southeastern China were a great stimulus to the craft. A large complex of kilns that had been established at Yü-yao, around the Shang-lin Lake in Chekiang, which lay in the territory of the kingdom of Wu-Yüeh, sent its finest celadons to the court of Li Hou-chu until his realm fell to the Sung in 978; after that they were sent as tribute to the Sung court at Pien-ching. The finest pieces, with decoration carved in the clay body under a very pale olive green glaze, were called by 10th-century writers, who implied that the colour was produced in imitation of jade, pi-se yao (“secret,” or “reserve, colour ware”). It is not known whether this referred to a secret process or to the fact that the ware was reserved for the court.

Sung (Song dynasty) (960–1279), Liao (Liao dynasty) (907–1125), and Chin (Jin dynasty) (1115–1234) dynasties
      Although reunited and ably ruled for well over a century by the first five Sung emperors, China failed to recover the northern provinces from the barbarians. A Khitan tribe, calling their dynasty Liao, held all of northeastern China until 1125, while the Hsi (Western) Hsia held the northwest, cutting off Chinese contact with western and Central Asia. From the new capital, Pien-ching, the Sung rulers pursued a pacific policy, buying off the Khitan and showing unprecedented toleration at home. While it brought Chinese scholarship, arts, and letters to a new peak of achievement, this policy left the northern frontiers unguarded. When in 1114 the Juchen Tatars in the far northwest revolted against the Khitan, the Chinese army helped the rebels destroy their old enemy. The Juchen then turned on the Sung, invaded China, besieged the capital in 1126, and took the emperor Ch'in-tsung, the emperor emeritus Hui-tsung, who had recently abdicated, and the Imperial court prisoner, establishing their own dynasty, the Chin, with their capital at the city later to be called Peking. The remnants of the Sung court fled to the south in 1127 and, after several years of wandering, established their “temporary” capital at the beautiful city of Hang-chou. The Nan (Southern) Sung never seriously tried to recover the north but enjoyed the beauty and prosperity of their new home, while the arts continued to flourish in an atmosphere of humanity and tolerance until the Mongols entered China in the 13th century and swept all before them. In 1234 they destroyed the Juchen Tatars, and, although the Chinese armies resisted valiantly, Hang-chou fell in 1276. Three years later a loyal Sung minister drowned himself and the young emperor.

      The Pei (Northern) Sung was a period of reconstruction and consolidation. Pien-ching (Kaifeng) was a city of palaces, temples, and tall pagodas; Buddhism flourished, and monasteries and temples once again multiplied. The Sung emperors attracted around them the greatest literary and artistic talent of the empire, and something of this high culture was carried on by their successors of Liao and Chin. The atmosphere at the Southern Sung court in Hang-chou (Hangzhou), while if possible more refined and civilized, was clouded by the loss of the north; the temptation to enjoy the delights of Hang-chou and neglect their armies on the frontier turned men in on themselves. The power and confidence are gone from Southern Sung art; instead it is imbued with an exquisite sensibility, a sometimes poignant romanticism that seems for all its beauty to contain the seeds of the disaster that befell China in the 13th century.

      Sung interest in history and a revival of the Classics were matched by a new concern with the tangible remains of China's past. This was the age of the beginning of archaeology and of the first great collectors and connoisseurs. One of the most enthusiastic of these was the Northern Sung emperor Hui-tsung (Huizong) (1100–1125/26), whose passion for the arts blinded him to the perils that threatened his country. Hui-tsung's sophisticated antiquarianism reflects an attitude that became an increasingly important factor in Chinese art. He collected and cataloged pre-Ch'in bronzes and jades while the palace studios turned out close replicas and archaistic emulations of both media. Building his royal garden, the Ken-yüeh, was said to have nearly bankrupted the state, as gigantic garden stones hauled up by boat from the south closed down the Grand Canal for long periods. He was also the most distinguished of all Imperial painting collectors, and the catalog of his collection (the Hsüan-ho hua-p'u, encompassing 6,396 paintings by 231 painters) remains a valuable document for the study of early Chinese painting. (Part of the collection passed into the hands of the Chin conquerors, and the remainder was scattered at the fall of Pien-ching.) Hui-tsung also elevated to new heights the recent process of bureaucratizing court painting, with entrance examinations modeled on civil service norms, with ranks and promotions like those of scholar-officials, and with regularized instruction sometimes offered by the emperor himself as chief academician. The favours granted throughout the Sung to lower-class artisans at court incurred the ire of aristocratic courtiers and provided stimulus for the rise of the amateur painting movement among these scholar-officials (shih-ta-fu hua), which ultimately became the literati painting mode (wen-jen hua) that dominated most of Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing history.

      The Sung capital, Pien-ching, grew to a great city, only to be burned by Juchen Tatars in 1127, just after the work was completed. Nothing survives today, but some idea of the architecture of the city is given by a remarkably realistic hand scroll, “Going Up the River at Ch'ing-ming Festival Time,” painted by the 12th-century court artist Chang Tse-tuan (whether painted before or after the sacking is uncertain). From contemporary accounts, Pien-ching was a city of towers, the tallest being a pagoda 110 metres high, built in 989 by the architect Yü Hao to house a relic of the Indian emperor Aśoka. Palaces and temples were at first designed in the T'ang tradition, sturdy and relatively simple in detail though smaller in scale. The plan and grouping of the elements, however, became progressively more complex; temple halls were often built in two or three stories, and structural detail became more elaborate.

      The style of the 10th century is exemplified in the Kuan-yin Hall of the Tu-le Temple at Chi-hsien, Hopeh province, built in 984 in Liao territory. A two-story structure with a mezzanine that projects to an outer balcony, the hall is effectively constructed of three tiers of supporting brackets. It houses a 16-metre-high 11-headed clay sculpture of Kuan-yin, the largest of its kind in China, placed majestically beneath a central canopy. From the 11th century, the finest surviving buildings are the main hall and library of the Hua-yen Temple in the Liao capital at Ta-t'ung (Shansi), which was accorded the right to house images of the Liao emperors, installed in 1062. The library, perhaps the most intricate and perfectly preserved example of the architecture of the period, was completed in 1038.

      The new Sung style is characterized by a number of distinct features. The line of the eaves, which in T'ang architecture of northern China was still straight, now curves up at the corners, and the roof has a pronounced sagging silhouette. The bracket cluster (tou-kung) has become more complex: not only is it continuous between the columns, often including doubled, or even false, cantilever arms (or “tail-rafters,” hsia-ang), which slant down from the inner superstructure to the bracket, but also a great variety of bracket types may be used in the same building (56 different types are found in the five-story wooden pagoda built in 1056 at the Fo-kung Temple in Ying-hsien, Shansi province). The tail-rafter, hitherto anchored at the inner end to a crossbeam, now is freely balanced on the bracket cluster, supporting purlins (horizontal timbers) at each end, thus giving the whole system something of the dynamic functionalism of High Gothic architecture. The interior is also much more elaborate. Richly detailed rounded vaults, or cupolas, are set in the ceiling over the principal images; baldachins (ornamental structures resembling canopies) and pavilions to house images or relics reproduce in miniature the intricate carpentry of full-scale buildings; and extremely complex bookcases, some of which, as at the Hua-yen Temple, were made to revolve, also assume the form of miniature buildings.

      Upwards of 60 Sung, Liao, and Chin pagodas (pagoda) survive, the latter built by Chinese master craftsmen for their barbarian overlords. These pagodas are generally six- or eight-sided and made of brick or wood. A tall and very slender “iron-coloured” brick pagoda of the 11th century survives at K'ai-feng, and, like the seven-story White Pagoda at Ch'ing-chou, near Ch'eng-te, it reproduces in brick an elaborate bracketing system copied from timber construction. The 13-story T'ien-ning Temple pagoda in Peking (11th or early 12th century) shows a subordination of rich detail to a simple outline that is Sung architecture at its most refined.

      Practically nothing survives today of the Southern Sung capital of Hang-chou, described as the greatest city in the world by the Venetian traveler Marco Polo, who spent much of the time from 1276 to 1292 in the city. The dense population and confined space of Hang-chou forced buildings upward, and many dwellings were in three to five stories. While palace buildings in the southern part of the city were probably crowded together, temples and high-platformed viewing pavilions overlooking West Lake were buildings of fairylike beauty. They survive today only in the work of such Southern Sung landscape and architecture painters as Li Sung.

      Variety of form, structural technique, detail, and decoration of Sung architecture reflect the sophistication of Sung culture and a new intellectual interest in the art. Master builders such as Yü Hao and the state architect Li Chieh were educated men. The latter is known today chiefly as the compiler of Ying-tsao fa-shih (“Building Standards”), which he presented to the throne in 1100. This illustrated work deals in encyclopaedic fashion with all branches of architecture: layout, construction, stonework, carpentry, bracketing, decoration, materials, and labour. The Ying-tsao fa-shih became a standard text, and, while it was influential in spreading the most advanced techniques of the time of its first publication in 1103, by codifying practice it may also have inhibited further development and contributed to the conservatism of later techniques.

      In contrast with the greater uniformity of later periods, Sung architecture was experimental and increasingly diverse in nature. Two styles from the Southern Sung period can be inferred from early Japanese buildings. One style is called by the Japanese Tenjiku-yo (Tenjiku), or “Indian style,” but it actually originated on the southeastern Chinese coast, where tall stands of evergreens stood. It sometimes employed timber columns rising to about 20 metres, directly into which were inserted vertical tiers of up to 10 transverse bracket-arms. This stern and simple style is exemplified by the Great South Gate at Tōdai Temple, built in Nara, Japan, about 1180. Another style, dubbed Kara-yo (kara-yō) (“T'ang”—i.e., Chinese—style), was brought by Ch'an (Zen) Buddhist priests from the Hang-chou area and south to the new shogunal capital at Kamakura, where it can be seen in the 13th-century Reliquary Hall of Engaku Temple. It features unpainted wood siding with multilevel paneled walls (no plaster wall or lacquered columns) and much attention to elaborative detail. The effect is rich and dynamic and displays none of the simplicity one might expect of Ch'an architecture, so it is thought by some to represent more a Chinese regional style than anything specifically Ch'an.

 The tradition of Buddhist image making continued through the Sung, Liao, and Chin dynasties with slowly diminishing force. The sculpture of southern Chinese temples in and around Hang-chou has been destroyed, but much survives in the north. A number of temples in Shansi and Hopeh preserve the whole scheme—architecture, sculpture, and painting—dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. A typical example is the lower temple of Hua-yen Temple at Ta-t'ung (1038), with its three central seated Buddha figures, 5 metres high, of lacquered clay, and its sensuous, exquisitely mannered bodhisattvas. Equally imposing are the figures of Śākyamuni flanked by the bodhisattvas Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra in polychrome wood, housed in the 12th-century Kuang-sheng Temple in Chao-ch'eng, Shensi. Little stone or bronze sculpture of this period has survived, and large-scale experiments in bronze casting were not always happy. A 10th-century, 22-metre bronze Kuan-yin (Avalokiteśvara) at Lung-hsing Temple in Hopeh is a clumsy piece, remarkable only for its size. At this time iron was sometimes used as a substitute for bronze; the sectional casting is often rough, but the iron figures have a certain crude power.

      In some respects the art of the Liao dynasty was a conscious continuation of that of the Sui and T'ang. A colossal, unfinished seated Buddha in a cave shrine at Yün-kang, long thought to be a Sui dedication, has been shown to be Liao work; and a set of greater-than-life-size pottery figures of lohans (saints) from I-chou in Hopeh, covered with a typically T'ang three-colour glaze, are now accepted as having been made in either the Liao or Chin dynasty. Figures from this set, now in Western museums, share with Ch'an painting of the late Sung and Yüan dynasties the power to suggest spiritual concentration through the strongly marked features of the image. A similar realism was attained in lohan figures modeled in dry lacquer, a technique that was first used in China in the second half of the 6th century and of which the best surviving examples are to be found today at Nara in Japan. This realistic style of sculpture can also be seen at such sites as the Lung-men caves at Lo-yang, the Chin Tz'u at T'ai-yüan, and Ta-tsu in Szechwan. The expressive, plastic qualities of clay sculpture can best be seen in caves at Tun-huang and Mai-chi-shan.

      Most majestic among Sung sculptures are images of Kuan-yin seated in a relaxed pose known as “royal ease.” Carved in wood, the images are covered with a light coat of gesso (plaster of Paris or gypsum prepared with glue) and painted and gilded. These figures seem to be full of life and movement. The body is sensuously modeled and the face full and slightly smiling; rich jewelry, scarves, and ribbons move over the surface, creating a dramatic play of light and shade that, like Baroque sculpture in Europe, was no doubt designed to win back adherents to the faith by its visual and emotional appeal. After the climax reached in this spectacular, somewhat florid style, there were no major developments in Chinese Buddhist sculpture, which preserved the essentials of this style, though with increasing coarseness, through the Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties.

Painting and calligraphy
      Settled conditions and a tolerant atmosphere helped to make the Northern Sung a period of great achievement in landscape painting. Li Ch'eng, a follower of Ching Hao who lived a few years into the Sung, was a scholar who defined the soft, billowing earthen formations of the northeastern Chinese terrain with “cloudlike” texture, interior layers of graded ink wash bounded by firmly brushed, scallop-edged contours. He is remembered especially for winter landscapes and for simple compositions in which he set a pair of tall, rugged, aging evergreens against a low, level view of desiccated landscape. As with Ching Hao and Kuan T'ung, probably none of his original work survives, but aspects of his style have been perpetuated in thousands of other artists' works. An even more formidable figure was the early 11th-century painter Fan K'uan, who began by following Li Ch'eng's style, but turned to studying nature directly, and finally followed only his own inclinations. He lived as a recluse in the mountains of Shensi, and a Sung writer said that “his manners and appearance were stern and old-fashioned; he had a great love of wine and was devoted to the Tao.” A tall landscape scroll, “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams” (National Palace Museum, Taipei), bearing his hidden signature, depicts peasants and pack mules emerging from thick woodland at the foot of a towering cliff that dwarfs them to insignificance. The composition is monumental, the detail is realistic, and the brushwork, featuring a stippling style known as “raindrop” strokes, is powerful and close-textured. While the details of the work are based on closely observed geographic reality (perhaps some specific site such as Mount Heng), a profoundly idealistic conception is revealed in the highly rational structure of the painting, which conforms closely to aspects of Taoist cosmology and numerology.

 Other northern masters of the 11th century who helped to establish the great classical tradition were Hsü Tao-ning, Kao K'o-kung, and Yen Wen-kuei. The second half of the century was dominated by Kuo Hsi (Guo Xi), who became an instructor in the painting division of the Imperial Hanlin Academy. His style combined the technique of Li Ch'eng with the monumentality of Fan K'uan; but it shows some advance, particularly in the effect of relief that he attained by shading with ink washes (“cloudlike” texture), a spectacular example of which is his “Early Spring” of 1072 (National Palace Museum, Taipei). He was a great decorator and liked to work on such large surfaces as plaster walls and standing screens. His observations on landscape painting were collected and published by his son Kuo Ssu under the title Lin-ch'uan kao-chih (“Lofty Record of Forests and Streams”). In addition to giving ideas for paintings and notes on the rules of the art, he stresses the enjoyment of landscape painting as a substitute for wandering in the mountains, which the conscientious Confucian scholar-official was too busy to indulge in.

      While the monumental realistic tradition was reaching its climax, quite another approach to painting was being expressed by a group of intellectuals that included the poet-statesman-artist Su Shih (or Su Tung-p'o (Su Shi)), the landscape painter Mi Fei (Mi Fu) (Mi Fu), the bamboo painter Wen T'ung, the plum painter and priest Chung-jen Hua-kuang, and the figure and horse painter Li Kung-lin (Li Gonglin). Su and Mi, together with their friend Huang T'ing-chien (Huang Tingjian), were also the foremost calligraphers of the dynasty, all three developing the tradition established by Chang Hsü, Yen Chen-ch'ing, and Huai-su in the mid-8th century. The aim of these artists was not to depict nature realistically—that could be left to the professionals—but to express themselves, to “satisfy the heart.” They spoke of merely “borrowing” the forms of things in which for the moment to “lodge” their thoughts and feelings. In this amateur painting mode of the scholar-official (shih-ta-fu hua, later called wen-jen hua (wenrenhua)), skill was suspect because it was the attribute of the professional and court painter. The scholars valued spontaneity above all, even making a virtue of awkwardness as a sign of the painter's sincerity.

      Mi Fu, an influential and demanding connoisseur, was the first major advocate and follower of Tung Yüan's boneless style, reducing it to mere ink dots (Mi tien, or “Mi dots”). This new technique influenced many painters, including Mi Fu's son Mi Yu-jen, who combined it with a subdued form of ink-splashing. Wen T'ung and Su Tung-p'o were both devoted to bamboo painting, an exacting art form very close in technique to calligraphy. Su Tung-p'o wrote poems on Wen T'ung's paintings, thus helping to establish the unity of the three arts of poetry, painting, and calligraphy that became a hallmark of the wen-jen hua. When Su Shih painted landscapes, Li Kung-lin sometimes put in the figures. Li was a master of pai-miao (baimiao) (plain line) painting, without colour, shading, or wash. He brought a scholar's refinement of taste to a tradition theretofore dominated by Wu Tao-tzu's dramatic style.

      The northern emperors were enthusiastic patrons of the arts. Hui-tsung (Huizong), perhaps the most knowledgeable of all Chinese emperors about the arts, was himself an accomplished calligrapher (he developed a unique and extremely elegant style known as “slender gold”) and a painter chiefly of birds and flowers in the realistic tradition stretching back to Huang Ch'üan and developed by subsequent court artists such as Ts'ui Po of the late 11th century. While meticulous in detail, his works were subjective in mood, following poetic themes that were calligraphically inscribed on the painting. A fine example of the kind of painting attributed to him is the minutely observed and carefully painted “Five-coloured Parakeet on Blossoming Apricot Tree” (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). He demanded the same qualities in the work of his court painters and would add his cypher to pictures of which he approved. It is consequently very difficult to distinguish the work of the emperor from that of his favoured court artists.

      Among the distinguished academicians at Hui-tsung's court were Chang Tse-tuan, whose extraordinarily realistic “Ching-ming Festival” scroll (Palace Museum, Peking) preserves a wealth of social and architectural information in compellingly artistic form, and Li T'ang (Li Tang), who fled to the south in 1127 and supervised the reestablishment of the northern artistic tradition at the new court in Hang-chou. Although Kuo Hsi's style remained popular in the north after the Chin occupation, Li T'ang's mature style came to dominate in the south. Li was a master in the Fan K'uan tradition, but he gradually reduced Fan's monumentality into more refined and delicate compositions and transformed Fan's small “raindrop” texture into a broader “axe-cut” texture stroke that subsequently remained a hallmark of most Chinese court academy landscape painting.

      In the first two generations of the Southern Sung, however, historical figure painting regained its earlier dominance at court. Kao-tsung and Hsiao-tsung, respectively the son and grandson of the imprisoned Hui-tsung, sought to legitimize their necessary but technically unlawful assumption of power by supporting works illustrating the ancient classics and traditional virtues. Such works, by artists including Li T'ang and Ma Ho-chih, often include lengthy inscriptions purportedly executed by the emperors themselves. They represent the finest survival today of the ancient court tradition of propagandistic historical narrative painting in a Confucian political mode.

 Subsequently, in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the primacy of landscape painting was reasserted. The tradition of Li T'ang was turned, however, in an increasingly romantic and dreamlike direction by the great masters Ma Yüan (Ma Yuan), his son Ma Lin, Hsia Kuei (Xia Gui), and Liu Sung-nien (Liu Songnian), all of whom served with distinction in the painting division of the Imperial Hanlin Academy. These artists used the Li T'ang technique, only more freely, developing the so-called “large axe-cut” texture stroke. Their compositions are often “one-cornered,” depicting a foreground promontory with a fashionably rusticated building and a few stylish figures separated from the silhouettes of distant peaks by a vast and aesthetically poignant expanse of misty emptiness—a view these painters must have seen any summer evening as they gazed across Hang-chou's West Lake. The Ma family's works achieved a philosophically inspired sense of quietude, while Hsia Kuei's manner was strikingly dramatic in brushwork and composition. The Ma-Hsia school (Ma-Xia school), as it came to be called, was greatly admired in Japan during the Muromachi and Momoyama periods, and its impact can still be found today in Japanese gardening traditions.

      Toward the end of this period, Ch'an ( Zen) Buddhist painting experienced a brief but remarkable florescence, stimulated by scholars abandoning the decaying political environment of the Southern Sung court for the monastic life practiced in the hill-temples across the lake from Hang-chou. The court painter Liang K'ai (Liang Kai) had been awarded the highest order, the Golden Girdle, between 1201 and 1204, but he put it aside, quit the court, and became a Ch'an recluse. What is thought to be his earlier work has the professional skill expected of a colleague of Ma Yüan, but his later paintings became freer and more spontaneous.

      The greatest of the Ch'an painters was Mu-ch'i (Muqi Fachang), or Fa-ch'ang, who reestablished the Liu-t'ung Monastery in the western hills of Hang-chou. The wide range of his work (which included Buddhist deities, landscapes, birds and animals, flowers and fruit) and the spontaneity of his style bear witness to the Ch'an philosophy that the “Buddha essence” is in all things equally and that only a spontaneous style can convey something of the sudden awareness that comes to the Ch'an adept in his moments of illumination. Perhaps his best-known work is his hastily sketched “Six Persimmons” (preserved and idolized in Japan), while a somewhat more conservative style is seen in his triptych of three hanging scrolls (scroll painting) with Kuan-yin flanked by a crane and gibbons (Daitoku Temple, Kyōto, Japan). Chinese connoisseurs disapproved of the rough brushwork and lack of literary content in Mu-ch'i's paintings, and none appears to have survived in China. His work, and that of other Ch'an artists such as Liang K'ai and Yü-chien, was collected and widely copied in Japan, however, forming the basis of the Japanese sumi tradition.

      Ch'an Buddhism borrowed greatly from Taoism (Daoism), both in philosophy and in painting manner. One of the last great Sung artists was Ch'en Jung, an official, poet, and Taoist who specialized in painting the dragon, a symbol both of the emperor and of the mysterious all-pervading force of the Tao. Ch'en Jung's paintings show these fabulous creatures emerging from amid rocks and clouds. They were painted in a variety of strange techniques, including rubbing the ink on with a cloth and spattering it, perhaps by blowing ink onto the painting.

      The Sung dynasty marked a high point in the history of Chinese pottery, when technical mastery, refinement of feeling, and a natural spontaneity of technique were more perfectly balanced than at any time in Chinese history. The beauty of Sung wares, derived from the simplicity of the shapes and purity of glaze tone and colour, is not a lifeless perfection such as marks the palace wares of the Ch'ing dynasty; in Sung wares the touch of the potter's hand can still be perceived, and glazes have a depth and warmth that was later lost when a higher level of manufacturing skill was attained.

      It is convenient to group Sung wares geographically: the chief northern wares are Ting, Ju, Chün, northern celadon, Tz'u-chou, and brown and black glazed wares; those of southern China include Ching-te-chen whiteware (ying-ch'ing, or ch'ing-pai), Chi-chou wares, celadons, and black wares of Fukien. Other varieties from local kilns will be mentioned later. This relatively simple approach, in some cases alloting one ware to one kiln, has been greatly complicated by discoveries made first by Japanese and then by Chinese archaeologists during and since World War II. Many new kiln sites have been located, and it is now known that one kiln often produced several quite different wares, and decorated stonewares named from the principal factory at Tz'u-chou in southern Hopeh were made in many kilns across the breadth of northern China.

      White porcelain made at Chien-tz'u-ts'un in south-central Hopeh was already being produced for the northern courts in the Five Dynasties and continued as an Imperial ware to the beginning of the 12th century. Very finely potted and sometimes decorated with freely incised plants, fish, and birds under the glaze or later with mold-made designs in relief, this Ting ware (Ding ware) is directly descended from the northern whitewares of the T'ang dynasty. Supposedly because of Hui-tsung's dissatisfaction with Ting ware, it was replaced in the late Northern Sung by another official ware known as Ju (Ru kiln), the rarest and most highly prized of all Chinese ceramics (until recently, only some 60 examples were known). Representing Hui-tsung's celebrated aestheticism, the low-fired Ju stoneware is distinguished by a seemingly soft, milky glaze of pale blue or grayish green with hair-thin crackle. The glaze covers a pale gray or buff body that is usually simple in shape yet highly sophisticated and exquisitely tasteful in effect. Ju ware was produced for only a few years before Hui-tsung's sudden demise. The Ju kilns defied identification until 1986, when they, along with the remains of a workshop, were located at Ch'ing-liang-ssu, more than 160 kilometres southwest of the capital. Another 37 intact examples were soon afterward excavated there. Typical of other kilns, the Ju kilns varied their productions, turning out Tz'u-chou stoneware and Yao-chou-type celadons like those discovered at Yao-an, north of Sian.

 A sturdy stoneware covered with a thick lavender-blue glaze was made at Chün-chou in Honan. This Chün ware (Jun kiln) is sometimes marked with splashes of purple or crimson produced by copper oxide. On the finest Chün wares, which are close to Ju in quality, these splashes are used with restraint, but on later Chün-type wares manufactured at Ching-te-chen and near Canton too much purple often gives vessels or flowerpots a mottled, lurid hue that Ming connoisseurs were wont to label “mule's liver” or “horse's lung.”

      Somewhat related to Chün wares are sturdily potted jars, vases, and bowls with lustrous black or brown glazes. Those that are decorated with flowers and leaves painted in an oxidized rust brown constitute an enormous family of Tz'u-chou wares (Cizhou kiln) made for domestic and funerary use in numerous northern China kilns, and they are still being produced in some factories today. Tz'u-chou techniques of decoration included free brush painting under the glaze, carving or scratching (sgraffito work) through one slip to another of a different colour, and painting over the glaze in low-fired colours. The earliest known example of overglaze painting in the history of Chinese pottery bears a date equivalent to 1201. The technique was more widely used for the decoration of Tz'u-chou wares in the 14th century. In both the variety and the vigour of their forms and decoration, Tz'u-chou stonewares present a strong contrast to the restraint and exquisite taste of the courtly wares. Chinese connoisseurs and Imperial collectors considered them beneath their notice, and it has taken the interest of Western collectors and the concern for the arts of the masses shown in China since 1949 to elevate them to the honoured place they deserve.

      The pottery produced in northeastern China (formerly called Manchuria) under Liao occupation continued the tradition of T'ang whiteware and three-coloured ware, with some influence from the Ting and Tz'u-chou wares of Northern Sung. Five kilns that produced pottery for the Liao and Chin courts have been located. In addition to imitations of T'ang and Sung wares, Liao potters produced their own unique shapes, which included longnecked vases, ewers with cockscomb- and phoenix-headed mouths, and flattened flasks made in imitation of animal-hide bags for liquor or milk carried at the saddle. These were then slipped and covered with a low-fired brown or rich green glaze or a beautiful white glaze almost as fine as that of Ting ware. In general much less finely potted than Sung wares, those of the Liao have the interest and charm of a vital provincial tradition.

      After the Sung capital was reestablished at Hang-chou, the finest wares obtainable were once more supplied to the court. These southern kuan (Guan kilns) wares were made for a short time in kilns close to the palace under the direction of the Office of Works. Later, the kilns were established near the altar for sacrifices to heaven and earth, Chiao-t'an, outside the south gate of the city. Chiao-t'an kuan ware had a dark opaque body and a beautiful bluish gray layered glaze. A deliberately formed crackle, caused by the shrinking of the glaze as the vessel cooled after firing, is the only ornament on this exquisite ware.

      The southern kuan was the finest of a huge family of celadons produced in an increasing number of kilns in southeastern China. Lung-ch'üan in southern Chekiang made a fine celadon with bluish green glaze, the best of which was almost certainly supplied to the court and may hence be classed as kuan. A variant with strongly marked crackle became known as ko (Ge kiln) ware in deference to the tradition that it was made by the elder brother (ko) of the director of the Lung-ch'üan factory. Among the wide range of shapes made in Sung celadon are those derived from forms of archaic bronzes, such as li, ting, and tsun, testifying to the increasingly antiquarian taste of court and gentry.

      Meanwhile, a small factory at Ching-te-chen in Kiangsi was growing to meet the vast increase in the population of southern China. In the Sung, its most characteristic ware was a fine, white, sugary porcelain covered with a transparent, slightly bluish glaze; the ware has been known since Sung times as ch'ing-pai (“bluish white”) but is called by modern Chinese dealers ying-ch'ing (yingqing ware) (“shadowy blue”). Ch'ing-pai ware is very thinly potted, the decoration carved in the clay body or applied in raised slip or beading under the glaze. Sung ch'ing-pai wares are the predecessors of a vast output of fine white Ching-te-chen porcelain that was to dominate the Chinese pottery industry during the Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties. Other whitewares were made at Yung-ho near Chi-an in Kiangsi. These Chi-an, or Kian, wares appear to be imitations of Ting, and there may be truth in the tradition that the kilns were set up by refugees from the north. The Yung-ho kilns were unable to compete with Ching-te-chen, however, and had ceased production by the end of the Sung.

 Kilns in the wooded hills around Chien-yang (Jian ware) in northern Fukien produced almost nothing but heavily potted stoneware teabowls covered with a thick black glaze. The finest and rarest of these Chien ware bowls have streaky “hare's fur” or iridescent “oil spot” effects that were much prized by Japanese tea masters, who called this ware temmoku after T'ien-mu, the sacred Buddhist mountain in Chekiang province that was near the port from which the ware was shipped to Japan. Yung-ho kilns also turned out a coarse variety of temmoku and experimented with novel decorative effects produced by laying floral paper cuts or skeleton leaves under the glaze before firing.

      This greatly simplified account of Sung wares cannot include the many provincial kilns that flourished in almost every province of China. Most marked was the growth of the industry in the south (modern Kwangtung and Fukien), whose kilns turned out variants of celadon and ch'ing-pai both for local consumption and for barter in China's rapidly increasing trade with Indonesia and the Philippines. Huge quantities of these southern Chinese wares have been found in burial sites in the archipelago and often provide archaeologists with the surest way of dating the remains.

      As yet little Sung metalwork has been excavated from dated tombs, and the picture of the craft is still incomplete. Fine-quality gold and silver ware and jewelry were made, continuing with greater refinement the techniques and motifs of the high T'ang and Five Dynasties style. Beaten-silver vessels from an early 12th-century tomb at Te-yang in Szechwan include shapes that were copied in Sung porcelain, and fine silver ware was made in the north under the Liao dynasty.

      The antiquarian spirit of the time was a great stimulus to bronze casting by the lost-wax, or cire perdue, process. In the 11th century, ancient excavated vessels were already being collected, and illustrated catalogs of Imperial and private collections became a source of material for the copying and forging of bronzes of the Shang and Chou periods. As the illustrations were often historically inaccurate, it is not difficult to detect these Sung copies, the best of which reproduced with typical Sung refinement the inlaid gold and silver vessels of the period of the Warring States.

Jade
      The archaizing fashion of the Sung makes jades of this period difficult to detect. In recent years tombs of the Five Dynasties and Sung have yielded jades that tend to confirm the view that adaptation of the form of ancient vessels, ritual objects, plaques, belt hooks, and ornaments was particularly common, and the styles of the Warring States and Han were much admired. As the technique of jade carving had changed little in the interval, these are hard to distinguish from genuine archaic jades except by a somewhat playful elegance and a tendency to combine shapes and decoration not found together on ancient pieces. Like the bronzes, jades in archaic styles thereafter were often inspired by illustrations in catalogs rather than by a study of genuine antiques.

      Two Ming dynasty works give detailed accounts of the lacquerware of the Sung, describing a red lacquer made for use in the palace that was carved with landscapes, figures, and birds; vessels painted in five colours, as well as gold and silver; and bowls black outside and carved red inside. No certain Sung pieces matching these descriptions have yet been discovered, however, and it is generally thought that carved red lacquer did not develop until the Yüan dynasty. A bowl (in the British Museum) of lacquered wood with a silver lining engraved with panels of birds and flowers is a rare exception to the character of known Sung lacquer; excavated bowls, cups, dishes, and boxes of dull red lacquer are sometimes deeply lobed to resemble a lotus flower but are otherwise undecorated.

Textiles
      Lacking a Sung Shōsō-in repository for decorative arts, knowledge of the textiles of this period is even sketchier than knowledge of those of the T'ang. The main Sung achievement was the perfecting of k'o-ssu (kesi), an extremely fine silk tapestry woven on a small loom with a needle as a shuttle. The technique appears to have been invented by the Sogdians in Central Asia, improved by the Uighurs, and adapted by the Chinese in the 11th century. The term k'o-ssu (literally “cut silk”) derives from vertical gaps between areas of colours, caused by the weft threads not running right across the width; it has also been suggested that the word is a corruption of the Persian qazz or Arabic khazz, referring to silk and silk products. K'o-ssu was used for robes, silk panels, and scroll covers and for translating painting into tapestry. In the Yüan dynasty, panels of k'o-ssu were exported to Europe, where they were incorporated into cathedral vestments.

Stylistic and historical development, 1206–1912
Yüan dynasty (Yuan dynasty) (1206–1368)
      Although the Mongol conquest made China part of an empire that stretched from Korea to Hungary and opened its doors to foreign contacts as never before, this short-lived dynasty was oppressive and corrupt. Its later decades were marked by social and administrative chaos in which the arts received little official encouragement. The Mongols distrusted the Chinese intelligentsia, relying primarily on Central Asians for government administrative functions. Nevertheless, some influential Chinese writers recognized that the Mongols brought a sense of martial discipline that was lacking in the Sung, and after 1286 an increasing number of Chinese scholars were persuaded to enter government service, undoubtedly hoping to influence their rulers to adopt a more benign policy toward the Chinese people.

      Little remains of Yüan architecture today. The great palace of Kublai Khan in the Yüan capital Ta-tu (“Great Capital”; now Peking) was entirely rebuilt in the Ming dynasty. Excavations demonstrate that the Yüan city plan is largely retained in that of the Ming; originally conceived under the combined influence of Liu Ping-chung and non-Chinese Muslims such as Yeheidie'er, it appears to be thoroughly Chinese in concept. More detailed information survives only in first-generation Ming dynasty court records and in the somewhat exaggerated description of Marco Polo (Polo, Marco). This architecture was probably little advanced in point of building technique over those of the Liao and Chin palaces on which they were modeled. The ornate features of their roofs, their bracketing systems, the elevated terraces, and the tight juxtaposition of the buildings are reflected in architectural paintings of the period by such artists as Wang Chen-p'eng, Hsia Yung, and Li Jung-chin. Perhaps the only original Yüan buildings in Peking today are the Drum Tower to the north of the city and the White Pagoda built by Kublai in the stupa form most commonly seen today in the Tibetan chorten. The Mongols were ardent converts to Tibetan Buddhism and tolerant of the Taoists, but they seem to have found existing temples (temple) enough for their purposes, for they made few new foundations.

      Buddhist sculpture was one of the few arts that flourished under the patronage of the Mongols, who inherited craftsmen and techniques from the Chin. Yüan style is thus a continuation of the northern tradition, marked by a rather more emphatic modeling and greater richness of detail. A richly sculptured marble gate, constructed in 1342–45 at the Chü-yung Pass between Peking and the Great Wall to the north, boldly illustrates in shallow relief a variety of Buddhist and Taoist divinities and guardian figures; it represents perhaps the finest sculptural work of this or any later period. At this time esoteric Tantric sects were popular, and their complex iconography demanded images with multiple arms and attributes. Some especially fine, realistic Buddhist bronzes may be attributed to a special government department responsible for image casting by the lost-wax process. A possible product of its workshops is a figure of Śākyamuni as ascetic, seated with one knee drawn up and his chin on his hands (Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, U.S.). A similar mastery of emotional representation is found in the unusual depiction of a monk at the ecstatic moment of enlightenment (Seattle Art Museum, Washington, U.S.). The dry lacquer technique, invented before the T'ang dynasty, was popularized in the Yüan dynasty by the master craftsman Liu Yüan, a scholar and Taoist who made a deep study of Indian iconography before executing the deities for a temple commissioned by the emperor in 1270.

Painting and calligraphy
      One school that flourished under Yüan official patronage was that of Buddhist and Taoist painting; important wall paintings (mural) were executed at the Yung-lo Temple in Shansi (now restored and moved to Jui-ch'eng). A number of royal patrons, including Kublai, the emperors Buyantu and Tog-temür, and Kublai's great-granddaughter Sengge, built an Imperial collection of important early works and also sponsored paintings that emphasized such themes as architecture and horses. Still, their activities were not a match for Sung royal patronage, and it was in this period that the amateur art of painters of the scholar class (in the tradition of Su Shih and his late Northern Sung colleagues) first came to dominate Chinese painting standards.

      The restriction of the scholars' opportunities at court and the choice of many of them to withdraw into seclusion rather than serve the Mongols created a heightened sense of class identity and individual purpose, which in turn inspired their art. Eremitic rather than courtly values now shaped the art of painting as never before, and a stylistic gulf sprang up between literati painters and court professionals that was not bridged until the 18th century. Whereas most painting had previously displayed technical refinement and had conservatively transmitted the heritage of the immediate past, gradually evolving through modest individual departures, the literati thenceforth typically based their styles on a wide-ranging knowledge of distant stylistic precedents, selectively chosen and radically transformed by means of expressive calligraphic brushwork. Style and subject were both intended to reflect closely the artist's own personality and mood rather than conforming to the wishes of a patron. Typical were the simply brushed orchid paintings of Cheng Ssu-hsiao, who painted this traditional symbol of political loyalty without any ground beneath as a comment on the grievous loss of China to foreign domination.

      Ch'ien Hsüan was among the first to define this new direction. From Wu-hsing in Chekiang, he steadfastly declined an invitation to serve at court, as reflected in his painting style and themes. A conservative painter before the Mongol conquest, especially of realistic flowers and birds, he altered his style to incorporate the primitive qualities of ancient painting, favouring the T'ang blue-and-green manner in his landscape painting, stiff or peculiarly mannered renditions of vegetation and small animals, and the archaic flavour of clerical script in his brushwork. Calligraphy became a part of his design and frequently confirmed through historical references a link between subject matter and his eremitic choice of lifestyle. Like many Chinese scholars who espoused this amateur ideal, Ch'ien Hsüan was obliged by demeaning circumstances to exchange his paintings in return for his family's livelihood.

      The most distinguished of the scholar-painters was Chao Meng-fu (Zhao Mengfu), a fellow townsman and younger follower of Ch'ien Hsüan who became a high official and president of the Imperial Hanlin Academy. In his official travels he collected paintings by Northern Sung masters that inspired him to revive and reinterpret the classical styles in his own fashion. A notable example is “Autumn Colours in the Ch'iao and Hua Mountains” (1296; National Palace Museum, Taipei), a nostalgic, deliberately archaistic landscape in the T'ang manner. The hand scrolls “Twin Pines and Level View” (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City) and “Water Village” (1302; Palace Museum, Peking) exemplify his reinterpretation of past masters (Li Ch'eng and Tung Yüan, respectively) and furthered the new direction of scholarly landscape painting by applying the standards and techniques of calligraphy to painting.

      The Yüan produced many fine calligraphers, including Chao Meng-fu, who was the most influential, Yang Wei-chen, and Chang Yü. The period was less innovative in calligraphy than in painting, however, and Chao's primary accomplishment was to sum up and resynthesize the past. His well-studied writing style was praised in his time for its breadth of historical understanding, and his standard script became the national model for book printing, but he was later criticized for a lack of daring or expression of personality, for a brush style too sweet and pleasing.

 Other gentlemen-painters who worked at the Yüan court perpetuated more conservative Sung styles, often rivaling or even surpassing their Sung predecessors in the process. Jen Jen-fa worked in great detail and was perhaps the last of China's great horse painters; he defended his court service through both the style and theme of his paintings. Li K'an carefully studied the varieties of bamboo during his official travels and wrote a systematic treatise on painting them; he remains unsurpassed as a skilled bamboo painter. Kao K'o-kung followed Mi Fu and Mi Yu-jen in painting cloudy landscapes that symbolized good government. Wang Mien, who served not the Mongols but anti-Mongol forces at the end of the dynasty, set the highest standard for the painting of plums, a symbol of irrepressible purity and, potentially, of revolutionary zeal.

 In retrospect, however, it was the ideals of the retired scholars that had the most lasting effect on later Chinese art. This may be summed up as individuality of expression, brushwork more revealing of the inner spirit of the subject—or of the artist himself—than of outward appearance, and suppression of the realistic and decorative in favour of an intentional plainness, understatement (p'ing-tan), and awkwardness (cho), which marks the integrity of the gentleman suspicious of too much skill. Four masters of the (Four Masters of the Yuan dynasty) middle and later Yüan, all greatly influenced by Chao Meng-fu, came to be regarded as the foremost exponents of this philosophy of painting in the Yüan period. Huang Kung-wang (Huang Gongwang), a Taoist recluse, was the oldest. His most revered and perhaps only authentic surviving work is the hand scroll “Dwelling in the Fu-ch'un Mountains” (National Palace Museum, Taipei), painted with dynamic brushwork during occasional moods of inspiration between 1347 and 1350. Unlike the academicians, Huang Kung-wang did not hesitate to go over his brushwork, for expression, not representation, was his aim. The cumulative effect of his masterpiece is obtained not by its fidelity to visible forms but by a profound feeling of oneness with nature that set an ideal standard for later scholarly painting. This scholarly serenity was also expressed in the landscapes of Wu Chen (Wu Zhen), a poor Taoist diviner, poet, and painter who, like Huang Kung-wang, was inspired by Tung Yüan and Chü-jan, whose manner he rendered, in landscapes and bamboo painting alike, with blunt brushwork, minimal motion, and utmost calm. His bamboo paintings are also superb, and, in an album in the National Palace Museum (Taipei), he pays tribute to his Sung dynasty predecessors Su Tung-p'o and Wen T'ung.

 The third of the Four Masters of the Yüan dynasty was Ni Tsan (Ni Zan), a prosperous gentleman and bibliophile forced by crippling taxation to give up his estates and become a wanderer. As a landscapist he eliminated all depictions of human beings. He thus reduced the compositional pattern of Li Ch'eng (symbolizing lofty gentlemen in isolation from the court) to its simplest terms, achieving as Wu Chen had a sense of austere and monumental calm with the slenderest of means. He used ink, it was said, as sparingly as if it were gold. Quite different was the technique of the fourth Yüan master, Wang Meng, a grandson of Chao Meng-fu. His brushwork was dense and energetic, derived from Tung Yüan but tangled and hoary and thereby imbued with a feeling of great antiquity. He often drew heavily from Kuo Hsi or from what he perceived as T'ang traditions in his landscape compositions, which he filled with scholarly retreats. He sometimes used strong colours as well, which added a degree of visual charm and nostalgia to his painting that was lacking in the other three masters' work.

      The combination in the Four Masters of a consistent philosophical and political attitude and a wide range of ink techniques made them models for later scholar-painters, both in their lives and in their art. It is impossible to appreciate the work of the landscape painters of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties unless one is aware of how acutely conscious they were of their debt to the Yüan masters and how frequently they paid tribute to them both in their style and in their inscriptions. Thenceforward, indeed, the artist's own inscription, as well as the colophons (colophon) of admirers and connoisseurs, became an integral part of the total work of art.

      It is a paradox that the Mongol occupation, while it destroyed much, also shook China free from the static traditions and techniques of the late Southern Sung and made possible many innovations, both in painting and in the decorative arts. The north was least progressive, and the main centre of pottery activity shifted permanently to the south. The northern traditions of Chün and Tz'u-chou ware continued through the Chin and Yüan, bolder but coarser than before. New shapes included a heavy, wide-mouthed jar, sometimes with decoration boldly carved through a black or brown slip or painted in two or three colours. These new techniques and the overglaze painting already developed in the Chin dynasty prepared the way for the three- and five-colour wares of the Ming.

      While no Yüan celadon has the perfection of colour of Sung kuan and Lung-ch'üan wares, being more olive-green in tone, the quality is high. And the variety of decorative techniques is far wider than that of the Sung. These include raised relief designs molded under the glaze, fish and dragons raised “in the biscuit” (that is, unglazed) in relief, and iron-brown spots that the Japanese call tobi seiji (“flying celadon”). Vases and dishes were now sturdily potted in porcelain, often mold-made, and of considerable size.

      Factories at Ching-te-chen were expanding rapidly. While their products included celadon, their chief output, as before, was white porcelain, including richly modeled figurines of Kuan-yin and other Buddhist deities. Ch'ing-pai was now decorated with floral motifs and beading in raised relief or incised under the glaze, the most elaborate pieces combining flowers and vines in appliqué relief with openwork panels. A stronger, less sugar-white porcelain with molded or incised decoration was produced—called shu-fu (shufu ware) ware from the presence of these characters (perhaps referring to a central government agency) under the thick, unctuous glaze.

      The earliest evidence of the use of cobalt blue, probably imported from the Middle East, is seen in its application as an underglaze pigment on fragments dating to the late 8th or early 9th century that were unearthed at Yang-chou in 1983. The occasional use of underglazed cobalt continued in the Northern Sung. It was not until the Yüan dynasty, however, that underglazed blue decoration began a rapid rise in popularity. It was applied on fine white porcelains of the shu-fu type and combined with Islāmic decorative taste. These blue-and-white wares soon became the most popular of all Chinese ceramics, both at home and abroad. A pair of richly ornate temple vases dated 1351 (in the Percival David Foundation in London) are proof that the technique was fully mastered by that time. The finest Ching-te-chen examples were reserved for the court, but coarse varieties were made in southern China for trade with Southeast Asia or for export to the Middle East. Today, two of the most important collections of Yüan and Ming blue-and-white are in the Ardabīl Shrine in Tehrān and in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace Museum.

      Experiments also were made with painting in underglaze copper red, but it was difficult to control and soon abandoned. Both the shapes and decoration of Yüan blue-and-white have a characteristic boldness. The motifs are richly varied, sometimes crowded and unrestrained, but at their best they have great splendour and vitality. Favourite motifs include the lotus, vines, and dragons that had already appeared on the shu-fu wares, creatures such as ch'i-lin (“unicorn”) and lung-ma (“dragon-horse”), and fish and Taoist figures. Also popular for a while were scenes from historical dramas and romances written by unemployed Confucian scholars.

      In certain repects metalwork was the most conservative of the decorative arts. Excavations in China since the mid-20th century, matched by important collections of silver ware in The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City (Missouri, U.S.), the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and elsewhere, show at first glance a deliberate archaism. The few new shapes and motifs are outnumbered by those that deliberately imitate T'ang dynasty styles. It is chiefly in details, in the handling of flower petals and birds' wings, for example, that the later date can be established. Some of these details correspond very closely to those in sculptured reliefs on the gate at the Ch'ü-yung Pass north of Peking. The most famous Yüan dynasty silversmith was Pi-shan, whose figure of a Taoist immortal on a raft in the form of a hollow tree trunk is signed and dated equivalent to 1345.

      While lacquer continued to be made in bolder versions of the undecorated T'ang and Sung shapes, notable advances included incising and engraving and filling the lines with gold leaf or silver powder. An example of this technique is a sutra box with floral ornament, dated 1315 (in Komyō-bō, Hiroshima, Japan). The most important innovation was the carving of pictorial designs, floral patterns, or dragons through a thick coating of red or, less frequently, black lacquer. A connoisseur's manual, Ko ku yao lun (“Essential Criteria of Antiquities”) by Ts'ao Chao, says that at the end of the Yüan dynasty Chang Ch'eng and Yang Mao, pupils of Yang Hui, were noted for this technique. A number of pieces bearing their names exist today. It had been considered that these were later imitations, made chiefly in Japan, and that carving pictorial designs in lacquer was first practiced in the Ming dynasty. But the 1959 discovery near Shanghai, in a tomb dated equivalent to 1351, of a small lacquer box carved with figures in a landscape shows that this technique was already well established in the mid-14th century.

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
      The restoration of a native dynasty made China once more a great power. Ming felt a kinship with the heyday of the T'ang dynasty that is reflected in the vigour and rich colour of Ming arts and crafts. Early in the 1400s, China again expanded into Central Asia, and maritime expeditions brought Central Asian products around the Indian Ocean to its own shores. Chinese pottery exports also greatly increased. The 15th century was a period of settled prosperity and great achievement in the arts, but the last century of the dynasty was marked by corruption at court and deep discontent among the scholar-gentry that is reflected in their painting.

      The first Ming emperor established his capital at Nanking (Nan-ching, “Southern Capital”), surrounding it with a wall more than 30 kilometres in length, one of the longest in the world. The palace he constructed no longer exists. In 1402, a son of the founding Ming emperor enfeoffed at the old Yüan capital usurped the throne from his nephew, the second Ming ruler, and installed himself as the Yung-lo Emperor. He rebuilt the destroyed Mongol palaces and moved the Ming capital there in 1421, renaming the city Peking (Pei-ching, “Northern Capital”). His central palace cluster, the Forbidden City, is the foremost surviving Chinese palace compound, maintained and successively rebuilt over the centuries. In a strict hierarchical sequence, the palaces lie centred within the bureaucratic auspices of the Imperial City, which is surrounded by the metropolis that came to be called the “inner city,” in contrast to the newer (1556) walled southern suburbs, or “outer city.” A series of eight major state temples lay on the periphery in balanced symmetry, including temples to the sun (east) and moon (west) and, to the far south of the city, the huge matched temple grounds of heaven (east) and agriculture (west). Close adherence to the traditional principles of north-south axiality, walled enclosures and restrictive gateways, systematic compounding of courtyard structures, regimentation of scale, and a hierarchy of roofing types were all intended to satisfy classical architectural norms, displaying visually the renewed might of native rulers and their restoration of traditional order.

      Central to this entire arrangement are three great halls of state, situated on a high, triple-level marble platform (the number three, here and elsewhere, symbolic of heaven and of the Imperial role as chief communicant between heaven and earth). The southernmost of these is the largest wooden building in China (roughly 65 by 35 metres), known as the Hall of Supreme Harmony. (The names and specific functions of many of the main halls were changed several times in the Ming and Ch'ing.) To their north lies a smaller-scale trio, the main halls of the Inner Court, in which the emperor and his ladies resided. The entire complex now comprises some 9,000 rooms (of an intended 9,999, representing a perfect yang number). The grandeur of this palatial scheme was matched by the layout of a vast Imperial burial ground on the southern slopes of the mountain range to the north of Peking, not far from the Great Wall, which eventually came to house 13 royal mausoleums, with an elaborate “spirit way” and accompanying ritual temple complexes.

      In its colossal scale, the monumental sweep of its golden-tiled roofs, and its axial symmetry, the heart of the Forbidden City is unsurpassed as a symbol of Imperial power. In architectural technique, however, the buildings represent a decline from the adventurous planning and construction of the Sung period. Now the unit is a simple square or rectangular pavilion with few projections or none, and the bracketing system is reduced to a decorative frieze with little or no structural function. Instead, emphasis is placed upon carved balustrades, rich colour, and painted architectural detail. This same lack of progress shows in Ming temples also. Exceptional is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (Ch'i-nien Tien) at the Temple of Heaven, a descendant of ancient state temples like the Ming-t'ang. It took its present circular form about 1530. Its three concentric circles of columns, which range up to 18 metres in height, symbolize the 4 seasons, the 12 months, and the 12 daily hours; in a remarkable feat of engineering, they support the three roof levels (a yang number) and, in succession, a huge square brace representing earth, a massive circular architrave denoting heaven, and a vast interior cupola decorated with golden dragons among clouds. (In its final rebuilding, in the 1890s, its tall timbers had to be imported from Oregon, U.S.)

      The first Ming emperor was a highly distrustful personality whose vengeful focus fell upon Su-chou, the local base of his chief rival for the throne as well as home to the Yüan period literati painting movement. So many artists became victim to his recriminations, typically for political rather than artistic reasons, that this novel movement in Chinese painting history was nearly halted. Among those literati painters who lost their lives in this manner were Wang Meng, Chao Yüan, Hsü Pen, Ch'en Ju-yen, Chang Yü, Chou Wei, and Sheng Chu. Rejecting the individualist standard of literati painting, early Ming emperors who revived the custom of summoning painters to court sought instead to create a cultural bridge to the last native regimes, the Tang and Sung. Although they revived Sung professional court styles, they never organized their painters into a central teaching academy and indeed sometimes dealt quite harshly with them. Scholar-painters, increasingly few in number in the early Ming, stayed at home in the south, further widening the gulf between themselves and court artists.

      Early Ming court painters such as Hsieh Huan and Li Tsai at first revived the T'ang blue-and-green and Northern Sung court styles of Kuo Hsi. Pien Wen-chin and his follower Lü Chi carried forward the bird and flower painting tradition of Huang Ch'üan, Ts'ui Po, and the Sung emperor Hui-tsung. Gradually, however, the Southern Sung styles of the landscape artists Li T'ang, Ma Yüan, and Hsia Kuei came to hold sway, beginning with Tai Chin (Dai Jin), who served under the fifth emperor, the Hsüan-te Emperor (himself a painter of moderate ability). Nevertheless, Tai Chin, who was opposed in the Peking capital by jealous court rivals and who found the restrictions there intolerable (as did many others who followed), was affected by the calligraphically inspired scholars' art: his brushwork shows far greater freedom than is found in his Southern Sung models.

      Like Tai Chin, many professional painters came to Peking from the old Southern Sung capital region around Hang-chou, and they were said to belong to the Che school (Zhe school) of painting. Many of the so-called Che school artists were in fact scholars disgruntled with the autocratic Ming politics and drawn to Taoist eremitic themes and eccentric brushwork. Most dazzling among them, perhaps, was Wu Wei, from Chiang-hsia in Hupeh, whose drunken bouts at court were forgiven out of admiration for his genius with the brush.

      Among the few important amateur painters to hold a scholarly position at the early Ming court was Wang Fu, who survived a long period of banishment to the frontier under the first emperor to return as a court calligrapher. He became a key figure in the survival and transmission of Yüan literati style and the first to single out the masters Huang Kung-wang, Wu Chen, Ni Tsan, and Wang Meng as models. Other early Ming scholar-official painters in the Yüan tradition were the bamboo painter Hsia Ch'ang and Liu Chüeh, who retired to Su-chou at the age of 50 after having been president of the Board of Justice. In his landscapes Liu Chüeh gives to the cool, often austere style of the Yüan masters a looser, more genial character, thus making them more accessible to the large number of amateur gentlemen-painters who flourished in the Chiang-nan region, notably in and around Su-chou, during the settled middle years of the 15th century.

 The Wu district of Kiangsu, in which Su-chou lies, gave its name to the Wu school of landscape painting, dominated in the late 15th century by Liu Chüeh's friend and pupil Shen Chou (Shen Zhou). Shen Chou never became an official but devoted his life to painting and poetry. He often painted in the manner of the Yüan masters, but his interpretations of Ni Tsan and Wu Chen are more clearly structured, firmer in brushwork, and unsurpassed in all Chinese art for their humane feeling, while the gentle and unpretentious figures he introduced give his paintings great appeal. Shen Chou commanded a wide range of styles and techniques, on which he impressed his warm and vigorous personality. He also became the first to establish among the literati painters a flower painting tradition. These works, executed in the “boneless” fashion developed by 10th-century court artists but with the freedom of such late Sung Ch'an painters as Mu-ch'i, were followed with greater technical versatility by Ch'en Shun and Hsü Wei in the late Ming and then by Shih-t'ao (Tao-chi) and Chu Ta of the early Ch'ing. Their work, in turn, served as the basis for the late-19th–20th-century revival of flower painting.

      Shen Chou's younger contemporary and friend Wen Cheng-ming (Wen Zhengming) showed an even greater interest in the styles of the past, which he reinterpreted with a refined and scholarly precision. He, too, had many styles and was a distinguished calligrapher. He was an active teacher of painting as well, and among his more gifted pupils were his son Wen Chia and his nephew Wen Po-jen. Their landscapes display a lyrical delicacy in composition, touch, and colour, qualities that in lesser late Ming artists of the Wu school degenerated into a precious and artificial style.

      Three early 16th-century professional Su-chou masters, Chou Ch'en, Ch'iu Ying (Qiu Ying), and T'ang Yin (Tang Yin), established a standard somewhat different from that of the scholarly Wu group, never renouncing the professional's technical skills yet mastering the literary technique as well. They achieved a wide range, and sometimes a blend, of styles that could hardly be dismissed by scholarly critics and won great popular acclaim. In fact, T'ang Yin, who was not only a student of Chou Ch'en but a brilliant scholar and longtime friend of Wen Cheng-ming as well, became mythologized in the centuries that followed.

 In the succeeding generations, other painting masters similarly helped confuse the distinction between amateur and professional standards, and, in the early 17th century, a number of these also showed the first influence of the European technique that had been brought to China through engravings and then oil paintings by Matteo Ricci (Ricci, Matteo) and other Jesuit missionaries after 1600. Among these painters were the landscapists Wu Pin from Nanking, Chang Hung from Su-chou, and Lan Ying from Ch'ien-t'ang in Chekiang province. Two who initiated the first major revival of figure painting since Sung times, possibly resulting from the encounter with Western art, were the southern painter Ch'en Hung-shou (Chen Hongshou) and the Peking artist Ts'ui Tzu-chung. Perspective and shading effects appear among other naturalistic features in the art of this generation, along with a newfound interest in saturated colours and an attraction to formal distortion, which may have derived in part from a fascination with the unfamiliar in Western art. Beyond the revived interest in naturalism, which seems to have inspired in some artists a renewed attention to Five Dynasties and Sung painting (as the last period in which Chinese artists had displayed knowledge about such matters), there occurred an even more fundamental questioning of contemporary standards. In the work of Ch'en and Ts'ui, which exhibits all the aforementioned qualities, an almost unprecedented interest in grotesquerie and satire enlivens their work visually, yet it also reflects something of the restless individualism and deep disillusionment that were part of the spirit of this period of national decline. The breakdown of orthodoxy reached an extreme form in Hsü Wei (Xu Wei). In his explosive paintings, chiefly of flowers, plants, and bamboo, he showed an absolute mastery of brush and ink and a total disregard of tradition.

      Standing above all others of this period in terms of historical impact, the theorist, critic, and painter Tung Ch'i-ch'ang (Dong Qichang) saw the proliferation of styles as a symptom of the decline in morale of the scholar class as the Ming became increasingly corrupt. His aim to reestablish standards in landscape painting paralleled a movement to restore traditional virtue to government. In his brief but influential essay Hua shuo (“Comments on Painting”), he set out what he held to be the proper lineage of scholarly painting models, from Wang Wei of the T'ang through Tung Yüan and Chü-jan of the Five Dynasties, Su Shih and Mi Fu of the Sung, and Huang Kung-wang, Wu Chen, Ni Tsan, and Wang Meng of the Yüan to Shen Chou and Wen Cheng-ming. He labeled these artists as “Southern school” in reference to the Southern school of Ch'an Buddhism and its philosophy of spontaneous enlightenment, while he rejected such “Northern school” (i.e., gradualist, pedantic) artists as Kuo Hsi, Ma Yüan, Hsia Kuei, and Ch'iu Ying. Tung believed that the great painting models were highly creative individuals who, to be followed effectively, had to be creatively reinterpreted. Appropriately, his own landscape painting was often quite original, sometimes daringly so, even while based on a systematic reduction and synthetic reintegration of past styles. However, having breathed new life into a troubled tradition by looking inward and to the past, his reinterpretations (particularly of the styles of Tung Yüan and Chü-jan) set an ideal beyond which his contemporaries and followers could not go without either a great leap of imagination, a direct return to nature, or a departure from the historical core of Chinese painting standards. Only a few, in the early Ch'ing, could achieve this, primarily through the route of artistic imagination; many more throughout the Ch'ing followed Tung too slavishly in theory without attaining new heights or perspectives in actual practice.

      One further feature of late Ming art was the florescence of woodblock (woodcut) printing, including the appearance of a sophisticated tradition of polychrome printing, done in imitation of painting. Among the earliest major examples were the Fang-shih mo p'u of 1588 and Ch'eng-shih mo yüan of 1606 (“Mr. Fang Yü-lu's Ink Catalog” and “Mr. Ch'eng Ta-yüeh's Ink Garden,” respectively), which utilized graphic designs by significant artists to promote the products of Anhwei province's foremost manufacturers of ink sticks. The Shih-chu-chai shu-hua-p'u (“Ten Bamboo Studio Manual of Painting and Calligraphy”), produced by Hu Cheng-yen between 1619 and 1633, set the highest standard for polychrome woodblock printing and helped influence the development of colour printing in Japan. Painters such as Ch'en Hung-shou participated in print production in forms ranging from book illustration to playing cards, while others, including Hsiao Yün-ts'ung, generated high-quality topographical illustrations. Through such artists, the medium came to influence painting as well as be influenced by it.

      Calligraphy continued to thrive in the Ming period, especially in the 16th and early 17th centuries, and new developments, such as the appearance of calligraphic hanging scrolls, testified to the increasing popularity of writing as a decorative art form. Tung Ch'i-ch'ang, in calligraphy as in painting, came to be regarded as a leader for his time (sometimes paired with Wen Cheng-ming, of the previous generation). He developed a style as historically conscious as, yet somewhat more individualized than, that of Chao Meng-fu of the Yüan, the previous acknowledged master. But Tung, like Chao, was subjected to criticism for too attractive a style. Furthermore, he was surrounded by numerous middle to late Ming masters who greatly enriched the art of the period with strikingly personal styles (especially in the execution of cursive and semicursive scripts) that showed the influence of the middle T'ang and Northern Sung dynasty individualists. They included Ch'en Hsien-chang, Chu Yün-ming, Ch'en Shun, Wang Wen, Hsü Wei, Chang Jui-t'u, Ni Yüan-lu, Huang Tao-chou, Shih K'o-fa, and Wang To.

      There was a great deal of rebuilding and refurbishing of temples in this period of national recovery, but in point of style Ming religious sculpture represents no significant development except in grander scale, greater realism, and richer colours. Colossal figures lining the approaches to early Ming Imperial tombs at Nanking reflect a deliberate revival of T'ang style. More typically Ming are such architectural details as glazed pottery figures decorating roof ridges, whose vigorous modeling is derived from traditions of popular art. The best Ming sculpture is revealed in small ornamental pieces: animals and figures carved in jade, ivory, wood, and other materials, some of the most beautiful of which are Taoist and Buddhist figurines made in ivory-white porcelain at Te-hua (Dehua porcelain) in Fukien.

      While northern traditions of Tz'u-chou and Chün ware continued to decline, pottery production in the south expanded. It was chiefly centred on Ching-te-chen, an ideal site because of the abundance of minerals used for porcelain manufacture—china clay and china stone—ample wood fuel, and good communications by water. Most of the celadon, however, was still produced in Chekiang, notably at Lung-ch'üan and Ch'u-chou, whose Ming products are more heavily potted than those of the Sung and Yüan and are decorated with incised and molded designs under a sea-green glaze. Celadon dishes, some of large size, were an important item in China's trade with the Middle East, whose rulers, it was said, believed that the glaze would crack or change colour if poison touched it.

      At Ching-te-chen the relatively coarse-bodied shu-fu (shufu ware) ware was developed into a hard white porcelain that no longer reveals the touch of the potter's hand. The practically invisible designs sometimes carved in the translucent body are known as an-hua, “secret decoration.” In the Yung-lo period (1402–24) the practice began of putting the reign mark on the base. This was first applied to the finest white porcelain and to monochrome ware decorated with copper red under a transparent glaze. A white porcelain with ivory glaze was also made at Te-hua in Fukien (as noted above under Sculpture).

      In the early decades of the Ming, the repertoire of designs on Yüan blue-and-white was continued and refined. At first, this ware evidently was considered too vulgar for court use, and none bears the Imperial reign mark until the Hsüan-te period (1425–35). By this time the often crowded Yüan patterns had given way chiefly to dragons or floral motifs of great clarity and grace, vigorously applied in a thick, deep-blue pigment to dishes, vases, stem cups, and flattened pilgrim jars. Sometimes a richer effect was achieved by painting dragons in underglaze red on a blue ground or vice versa. In the Ch'eng-hua period (1464–87), the blue-and-white designs became somewhat tenuous and over-refined, and the characteristic wares made for the Cheng-te Emperor (1505–21) and his Muslim eunuchs often bear Arabic inscriptions. In the Chia-ching (1521–67) and Wan-li (1572–1620) periods, the Imperial kilns were badly mismanaged, and their products were often of poor quality. Private factories, however, turned out lively wares until the end of the dynasty.

      Overglaze painting was applied with delicate care in the Ch'eng-hua period, chiefly in the decoration of small wine cups with chicken motifs, much admired by Chinese connoisseurs. These “chicken cups” were already being copied later in the 16th century and again, very expertly, in the 18th. Overglaze painting soon became popular, being applied in the 16th century in stronger colours brilliantly contrasted against a dead-white background. These vigorous (wu ts'ai) “five-colour” wares were especially free and bold in the Chia-ching and Wan-li periods. Crude but lively imitations of these and of the blue-and-white of Ching-te-chen, made in southern China kilns partly for the Southeast Asian market, are known as “Swatow ware” from one of the export sites. Among the most impressive of Ming pottery types are the san ts'ai (“three-colour”) wares, chiefly vases and jars decorated with floral motifs in turquoise, purple, yellow, and deep violet blue, the colours being separated by raised lines in imitation of the metal strips used in cloisonné work (see below). This robust ware was made in several centres, the best of it between 1450 and 1550.

 Beginning in the early 16th century, a new ceramic tradition emerged in the town of I-hsing, on the western side of Lake T'ai, catering to the tea taste of scholars in the nearby Su-chou area. Individually made, sometimes to order, rather than mass-produced, I-hsing wares were often signed or even poetically inscribed by highly reputable master craftsmen, such as Shih Ta-pin of the Wan-li era and Ch'en Ming-yüan of the Ch'ing dynasty K'ang-hsi period. The wares were usually unglazed and derived their striking colours—brown, beige, reddish purple, yellow, black, and blue—after firing from the distinctive clays of the region and were known as “purple-sand” teapots. Pieces alternated between two body types: complex floral shapes and exquisitely simple geometric designs. Produced in relatively small quantities and treasured by Chinese collectors, these vessels attracted little attention outside China until the late 20th century.

      The archaic revival in the Ming dynasty is illustrated by the popularity of bronze vessels in antique shapes. Their manufacture was further stimulated by a decree of 1428, by which the Hsüan-te Emperor ordered the manufacture of sacrificial vessels from 18,000 kilograms of copper that had been offered as tribute by the king of Siam. Genuine pieces that bear the Hsüan-te mark were copied from Sung catalogs of antiquities and from Sung porcelains. They are simple in form and often undecorated, relying for their beauty on their shapes and on the variety of colour of the metal. They have been widely imitated. The Cheng-te reign designs are bolder and often, like the porcelain, bear Arabic inscriptions. Among noted metalworkers of the late Ming period was Hu Wen-min, who was active between 1583 and 1613. While bronze continued to be popular, the art of the silversmith declined somewhat in the Ming dynasty. The finest vessels, however, were made of gold; the high level of technical workmanship continued almost to the end of the dynasty, as attested by jewel-encrusted vessels found in the tomb of the Wan-li Emperor, who died in 1620.

      The technique of cloisonné enamel on a metal base, in which the colours are separated by little metal strips, or walls (cloisons), developed in Byzantium about the 5th century AD and probably reached East Asia in the T'ang dynasty. It seems to have been lost again, however, and reintroduced in the 14th century, when it was referred to in the Ko-ku yao-lun as “Ta-shih ware” (“Muslim” ware) and “similar to Fo-lang-k'an” (similar to Byzantine enamelware). While some pieces may have been made for the Yüan court, no Chinese Ming cloisonné has been positively identified as of earlier date than the Hsüan-te Emperor's reign (1425–35), when the reign mark first appears. The decoration of the 15th-century pieces is varied, bold, and free; the brass cloisons are thin; and light and dark blue, red, and yellow predominate among the rich and sometimes rather roughly applied colours. Cloisonné of the Ch'ing dynasty and modern times is more perfectly finished than that of the Ming; the shapes are often more ornate but elaborate and monotonous; and the copper cloisons are more insistent in the decoration. Pieces bearing the Ching-t'ai (1449–57) reign mark are highly valued in China but may be of 17th-century date or later.

      The carved lacquer first developed in the Yüan dynasty continued through the Ming and Ch'ing and was made in many different factories. It reached a high level in carved red lacquer (t'i-hung) dishes, trays, covered boxes, and cups of the Yung-lo and Hsüan-te reigns. Yung-lo reign marks, scratched on with a sharp point, are not reliable, but some pieces, bearing carved and gold-inlaid marks of the Hsüan-te Emperor, may be of the period. Decoration of this early Ming lacquer includes both pictorial designs (landscapes with figures in pavilions are common) and rich dragon, phoenix, and floral motifs, carved deeply in a full, freely flowing and plastic style, often against a yellow background. While this style continued into the 16th century, the Chia-ching period also saw the emergence of more realistic and intricate designs that are shallower and more sharply carved, sometimes through as many as nine layers of different colours, on a background consisting of minute brocade (allover floral and figure designs) or diaper (diamond-shaped) patterns. Other techniques that were popular in the middle decades of the Ming include carving through alternate layers of red and black lacquer, known by the Japanese name guri; inlaying one colour with another; and outlining the inlay with engraved lines filled with gold lacquer. Painting and inlaying with mother-of-pearl and other materials were also employed.

      It is often difficult to distinguish genuine Ming lacquer from Korean and Japanese imitations, and reign marks are not in themselves a reliable guide to dating.

Ch'ing dynasty (Qing dynasty) (1644–1911/12)
      The Manchu conquest did not produce a dislocation of Chinese social and cultural life as had the Mongol invasion. On the contrary, even before their conquest, the Manchus began imitating Chinese ways, and the Ch'ing rulers, particularly K'ang-hsi (1661–1722) and Ch'ien-lung (1735–96), were well-educated men, eager to enlist the support of Chinese scholars. They were extremely conservative in their political and cultural attitudes; and in artistic taste, their native love of extravagance (which the Chinese viewed as “barbarous”) was tempered, ironically, by an equally strong conservative propensity. The art of the Ch'ing dynasty, even the painting of many of its finest eccentrics and the design of its best gardens, is similarly characterized both by lavish decoration and ornate effects as well as by superb technique and conservative taste. In the 19th century, however, China's internal weakness and humiliation by the Western powers were reflected in a growing stagnation of the arts.

      Ch'ing dynasty work in the Forbidden City was confined chiefly to the restoration or reconstruction of major Ming buildings, although the results were typically more ornate in detail and garish in colour than ever before. The Manchu rulers were most lavish in their summer palaces, created to escape the heat of the city. In 1703 the K'ang-hsi Emperor began near the old Manchu capital, Cheng-te, a series of palaces and pavilions set in a natural landscape. Engravings of these made by the Jesuit father Matteo Ripa in 1712–13 and brought by him to London in 1724 are thought to have influenced the revolution in garden design that began in Europe at about this time. Near the Cheng-te palace were built several imposing Buddhist temples in a mixed Sino-Tibetan style that reflects the Tibetan Buddhist leanings of the K'ang-hsi, Yung-cheng, and Ch'ien-lung emperors.

      About 1687 the K'ang-hsi Emperor had begun to create another garden park northwest of Peking, which grew under his successors into the enormous Yüan-ming Yüan (“Garden of Pure Light”). Here were scattered a great number of official and palace buildings, to which the Ch'ien-lung Emperor moved his court semipermanently. In the northern corners of the Yüan-ming Yüan, the Jesuit missionary and artist Giuseppe Castiglione (known in China as Lang Shih-ning) designed for Ch'ien-lung a series of extraordinary Sino-Rococo buildings, set in Italianate gardens ornamented with mechanical fountains designed by the Jesuit priest Michel Benoist. Today the Yüan-ming Yüan has almost completely disappeared, the foreign-style buildings having been burned by the French and British in 1860. To replace it, the empress dowager Tz'u-hsi greatly enlarged the new summer palace (I-ho Yüan) along the shore of K'un-ming Lake to the north of the city.

      The finest architectural achievement of the period, however, occurred in private rather than institutional architecture—namely, in the scholars' gardens of southeastern China, in such towns as Su-chou (Suzhou), Yang-chou, and Wu-hsi. As these often involved renovations carried out on Yüan and Ming dynasty foundations, it remains difficult to discern the precise outlines of their innovations. With the aid of paintings and Chi Ch'eng's Yüan yeh (“Forging a Garden,” 1631–34), it becomes evident that, as in the worst of Ch'ing architecture, these gardens became ever more ornate. The best examples, however, remain well within the bounds of good taste owing to the cultivated sensibility of scholarly taste, and they were distinguished by an inventive imagination lacking in Manchu court architecture. Such gardens were primarily Taoist in nature, intended as microcosms invested with the capacity to engender tranquillity and induce longevity in those who lodged there. The chief hallmark of these gardens was the combination of a central pond, encompassing all the virtues of yin in the Chinese philosophical system, with the extensive use of rugged and convoluted rockery, yang, which summed up the lasting Chinese adoration of great mountain chains through which flowed the vital energy of the earth. (The most precious rocks were harvested from the bottom of Lake T'ai near Su-chou.)

 Throughout this urban garden tradition, where the scale was necessarily small and space was strictly confined, designers attempted to convey the sense of nature's vastness by breaking the limited space available into still smaller but ever varied units, suggesting what could not otherwise literally be obtained, and expanding the viewer's imagination through inventive architectural design. Among those gardens still preserved today, the Liu Garden in Su-chou offers the finest general design and the best examples of garden rockery and latticed windows, while the small and delicate Garden of the Master of Nets (Wang-shih Yüan), also in Su-chou, provides knowledgeable viewers a remarkable series of sophisticated surprises.

Painting and printmaking
      The dual attraction of the Manchu rulers to unbridled decoration and to orthodox academicism characterized their patronage at court. In regard to the former, they favoured artists such as Yüan Chiang, who, in the reign of K'ang-hsi, applied to the model of Kuo Hsi, with great decorative skill, the mannered distortions that had cropped up in the late Ming partly as a result of Ming artists' exposure to an unfamiliar Western art. More thoroughly Westernized work, highly exotic from the Asian perspective, was produced both by native court artists like Chiao Ping-chen, who applied Western perspective to his illustrations of Keng-chih-t'u (“Rice and Silk Culture”), which were reproduced and distributed in the form of wood engravings in 1696, and by Giuseppe Castiglione. In the mid-18th century Castiglione produced a Sino-European technique that had considerable influence on court artists such as Tsou I-kuei, but he was ignored by literati critics. His depictions of Manchu hunts and battles provide a valuable visual record of the times.

      On the other hand, Manchu emperors saw to it that conservative works in the scholar-amateur style by Wang Hui, Wang Yüan-ch'i, and other followers of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang were also well represented at court, largely putting an end to the conflict at court between professional and amateur styles that had been introduced in the Sung and played a significant role in the Ming. In a sense, the amateur style was crowned victor, but it came at the expense of the amateurism that had defined its purpose. This politically effective aspect of Manchu patronage may have been less a specifically calculated strategy than a natural extension of their concerted attempts to cultivate and recruit the scholar class in order to establish their legitimacy.

      The Ch'ien-lung (Qianlong) Emperor was the most energetic of royal art patrons since Hui-tsung of the Sung, building an Imperial collection of over 4,000 pre-Ch'ing paintings and calligraphy and cataloging them in successive editions of the Shih-ch'ü pao-chi. The shortcomings of his taste, however, were displayed in his preference for recent forgeries rather than the originals in his collection (notably, copies of Huang Kung-wang's “Dwelling in the Fu-ch'un Mountains” and of Fan K'uan's “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams”) and in his propensity for covering his collected masterpieces with multiple impressions of court seals and calligraphic inscriptions in a mediocre hand.

      The conservatism of Ch'ing period painting was exemplified by the so-called “Six Masters” of the late 17th–early 18th century, including the so-called “Four Wangs,” Wu Li, and Yün Shou-p'ing. In the works of most of these artists and of those who followed their lead, composition became routinized, with little in the way of variation or genre detail to appeal to the imagination; fluency of execution in brushwork became the exclusive basis for appreciation. Wang Shih-min, who had been a pupil of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang, retired to T'ai-ts'ang near modern Shanghai at the fall of the Ming, making it the centre of a school of scholarly landscape painting that included his friend Wang Chien and the younger artist Wang Hui. Wang Hui was a dazzling prodigy whose landscapes included successful forgeries of Northern Sung and Yüan masters and who did not hesitate to market the “amateur” practice, both among fellow scholars and at the Manchu court; however, the hardening of his style in his later years foreshadowed the decline of Ch'ing literati painting for lack of flexible innovation. By contrast, Wang Shih-min's grandson, Wang Yüan-ch'i, was the only one of these six orthodox masters who fully lived up to Tung Ch'i-ch'ang's injunction to transform the styles of past models creatively, as he did in his tour de force “Wang River Villa, After Wang Wei” (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City). At court, Wang Yüan-ch'i rose to high office under the K'ang-hsi Emperor and served as chief compiler of the Imperial painting and calligraphy catalog, the P'ei-wen-chai shu-hua-p'u.

      Receiving no patronage from the Manchu court and leaving only a minor following before the latter half of the 19th century was a different group of artists, now frequently referred to as “Individualists.” Collectively, these artists represent a triumphant, if short-lived, moment in the history of literati painting (wenrenhua), triggered in good part by the emotionally cathartic conquest of China by the Manchus. They shared in common a rejection of Manchu political authority and the choice of an eremitic, often impoverished lifestyle that obliged them to trade their works for their sustenance in spite of their allegiance to amateur ideals. Stylistically, just like their more orthodox contemporaries, they often revealed the influence of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang's systematization of painting method; but, unlike the more conservative masters, they pursued an emotional appeal reflective of their own temperaments. For example, Kung Hsien (Gong Xian), a Nanking artist whose budding political career was cut short by the Manchu conquest, used repetitive forms and strong tonal contrasts to convey a pervasive feeling of repressive constraint, lonely isolation, and gloom in his landscapes (most impressive is his “Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines” in the Rietberg Museum, Zürich, Switz., C.A. Drenowatz Collection). He was the most prominent of the artists who came to be known as the “Eight Masters of Nanking.” This group was only loosely related stylistically, though contemporary painters from Nanking did share solidity of form derived from Sung prototypes and, possibly, from the influence of Western art.

      The landscapes of K'un-ts'an (or Shih-ch'i), who became a somewhat misanthropic abbot at a Buddhist monastery near Nanking, also express a feeling of melancholy. His works were typically inspired by the densely tangled brushwork of Wang Meng of the Yüan (exemplified by his “Pao-en Temple,” Sumitomo Collection, Ōiso, Japan.

      Another Individualist artist to join the Buddhist ranks was Hung-jen (Hongren), exemplar of a style that arose in the Hsin-an or Huichou district of southeastern Anhwei province and drew on the famed landscape of the nearby Huang Mountains. The group of artists now known as the “Anhwei School” (including Ting Yün-p'eng, Hsiao Yün-ts'ung, Mei Ch'ing, Cha Shih-piao, and Tai Pen-hsiao) mostly pursued an opposite emotional extreme from Kung Hsien and K'un-ts'an, a severe coolness based on the sparse, dry linear style of the Yüan artist Ni Tsan. However individualistic, virtually all these artists reveal the influence of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang's compositional means. In the 17th century, when the Anhwei style became popular among wealthy collectors in the area of present-day Shanghai, propagated in part through woodblock catalogs illustrating Anhwei's vaunted ink and painting-paper products, ownership of a Hung-jen painting became the mark of a knowing connoisseur.

      Two artists, both members of the deposed and decimated Ming royal family, stood out among these Individualist masters and left, albeit belatedly recognized, the most enduring legacy of all. Known by a sequence of names, perhaps designed to protect his royal identity, Chu Ta (Zhu Da), or Pa-ta Shan-jen, suffered or at least feigned a period of madness and muteness in the 1680s. He emerged from this with an eccentric style remarkable for its facility with extremes, alternating between a wet and wild manner and a dry, withdrawn use of brush and ink. His paintings of glowering birds and fish casting strange and ironic glances, as well as his structurally interwoven studies of rocks and vegetation, are virtually without precedent in composition, although aspects of both the eccentric Hsü Wei and Tung Ch'i-ch'ang are discernible in his work. His esoteric inscriptions reveal a controlled intent rather than sheer lunacy and suggest a knowledgeable, if hard to unravel, commentary on China's contemporary predicament.

      Chu Ta's cousin Tao-chi (Shitao) was raised in secret in a Ch'an Buddhist community. He traveled widely as an adult in such varied artistic regions as the Huang Mountains district of Anhwei province and Nanking and finally settled in the newly prosperous city of Yang-chou, where in his later years he publicly acknowledged his royal identity, renounced his Buddhist status, and engaged in professional practices. His work has a freshness inspired not by masters of the past but by an unfettered imagination, with brush techniques that were free and unconventional and a daring use of colour. In his essay Hua yü lu (“Comments on Painting”), he ridiculed traditionalism, writing that his own method was “no method” and insisting that, like nature, creativity with the brush must be spontaneous and seamless, based on the concept of i-hua, the “unifying line.”

      Tao-chi's extreme stand in favour of artistic individuality stands out against the growing scholasticism of Ch'ing painting and was an inspiration to the artists, roughly grouped together as the “Eight Eccentrics” (including Cheng Hsieh, Hua Yen, Huang Shen, Kao Feng-han, Chin Nung, and Lo P'ing), who were patronized by the rich merchants in early 18th-century Yang-chou. The art of Chu Ta and Tao-chi was not firmly enshrined, however, until the late 19th century, when a new individualist thrust appeared in Shanghai in response to the challenge of Western culture. Their influence on Chinese art since then, especially in the 20th century, has been profound.

      Those who straddled the Ming-Ch'ing transition continued the exploration of individualistic calligraphic styles (particularly in cursive and semicursive scripts) and included many who also excelled at painting, such as Fu Shan, Fa Jo-chen, Chu Ta, and Tao-chi. The chief contribution of Ch'ing calligraphers came later, however, with a resurgence in the importance of seal and clerical scripts (which had survived primarily in seal carving and in the writing of titled frontispieces for painted hand scrolls). This was based on a renewed scholarly interest in inscribed Chou dynasty bronzes and in northern stelae of the Han, Six Dynasties, and T'ang periods. While an indication of Chinese calligraphers' interest in seal and clerical type scripts can already be seen in the early Ch'ing writings of Fu Shan, Chu Ta, and Tao-chi, a more scientific study of bronze and stone inscriptions (chin-shih hsüeh) was begun in the early to mid-18th century by such scholar-calligraphers as Wang Shu. Thereafter, practitioners could be divided among imitative calligraphers and those who were more creative in their adaptation of these ancient scripts. Among the latter were the 18th-century Yang-chou painters Chin Nung and Kao Feng-han, as well as the 18th- and 19th-century calligraphers Teng Shih-ju, I Ping-shou, Juan Yüan, and Wu Ta-ch'eng. The interest in ancient styles continued in the early 20th century, when the paleographer Tung Tso-pin and other calligraphers pioneered the adaptation to the modern brush of the script used to inscribe Shang dynasty divinations, which had recently been excavated.

      The pottery industry suffered severely in the chaotic middle decades of the 17th century, of which the typical products are “transitional wares,” chiefly blue-and-white. The Imperial kilns at Ching-te-chen were destroyed and were not fully reestablished until 1682, when the K'ang-hsi Emperor appointed Ts'ang Ying-hsüan as director. Under his control, Imperial porcelain reached a level of excellence it had not seen for well over a century. The finest pieces include small monochromes, which recaptured the perfection of form and glaze of classic Sung wares. New colours and glaze effects were introduced, such as eel-skin yellow, snakeskin green, turquoise blue, and an exquisite soft red glaze shading to green (known as “peach-bloom”) that was used for small vessels made for the scholar's desk. Also perfected was lang-yao (sang-de-boeuf (sang de boeuf), or oxblood, ware), which was covered with a rich copper-red glaze. K'ang-hsi period blue-and-white (blue-and-white ware) is particularly noted for a new precision in the drawing and the use of cobalt washes of vivid intensity.

      Five-colour (wu ts'ai) overglaze painted wares of the K'ang-hsi period became known in Europe as famille verte from the predominant green colour in their floral decoration. These wares also included expert imitations of overglaze painting of the Ch'eng-hua Emperor's reign. Another variety has floral decoration painted directly on the biscuit (unglazed pottery body) against a rich black background (famille noire). Toward the end of the K'ang-hsi reign, a rose pink made from gold chloride was introduced from Europe. It was used with other colours in the decoration of porcelain ( famille rose) and in cloisonné and overglaze painting.

      Famille rose porcelain reached a climax of perfection at Ching-te-chen (Jingdezhen) under the direction of Nien Hsi-yao (1726–36) and continued with scarcely diminishing delicacy through the Ch'ien-lung period. Meanwhile, the skill of the Ching-te-chen potters was being increasingly challenged by the demand at court for imitations in porcelain of archaic bronzes, gold, and jade and for such inappropriate objects as musical instruments and perforated and revolving boxes, which were highly unsuited to manufacture in porcelain. Although fine porcelain was made from time to time in the 19th century, notably in the Tao-kuang and Kuang-hsü reigns, the quality as a whole greatly declined.

      Since the late Ming dynasty, the demand for Chinese porcelain had been increasing in Europe. While the first export wares included porcelain decorated with armorial bearings for the Portuguese, most porcelain sent to Europe in the 17th century was in purely Chinese style, stimulating a taste for Chinese things that was partly met by imitations made in faience (earthenware decorated with opaque coloured glazes) at Delft (Neth.), Frankfurt am Main (Ger.), Meissen (Ger.), and elsewhere. In the 18th century, however, Chinese porcelain for export was decorated at Ching-te-chen or Canton with European patterns, motifs, or armorial bearings. The volume of China's porcelain export has since remained high, although foreign designs are seldom produced today.

Textiles
      Ming and Ch'ing textiles fully display the Chinese love of pageantry, colour, and fine craftsmanship. Prominent among woven textile patterns are flowers and dragons against a background of geometric motifs that date to the late Chou and Han. Ch'ing robes were basically of three types. The ch'ao-fu was a very elaborate court ceremonial dress; the emperor's robe was adorned with the auspicious Twelve Symbols described in ancient ritual texts, while princes and high officials were allowed nine symbols or fewer according to rank. The ts'ai-fu (“coloured dress”), or “dragon robe,” was a semiformal court dress in which the dominant element was the Imperial five-clawed dragon (lung) or the four-clawed dragon (mang). In spite of repeated sumptuary laws issued during the Ming and Ch'ing, the five-clawed dragon was seldom reserved for objects of exclusively Imperial use. Symbols used on the dragon robes also included the eight Buddhist symbols, symbols of the Taoist Eight Immortals, eight precious things, and other auspicious devices. “Mandarin squares” had been attached front and back to Ming official robes as symbols of civil and military rank and were adapted by the Manchus to their own distinctive dress.

Jade and small-scale carving
      China directly controlled the Central Asian jade-yielding regions of Ho-tien and Yarkand between about 1760 and 1820, during which time much fine nephrite was sent to Peking for carving. jadeite from Myanmar (Burma) reached the capital from the second quarter of the 18th century, and chromite- (chromite) or graphite-flecked “spinach jade” from the Baikal region of Siberia was imported in the 19th century. The finest Ch'ing dynasty jade carving (Chinese jade) is often assigned to the reign of Ch'ien-lung, but carved jade is difficult to date, and some high-quality pieces in the Ch'ien-lung style have been made since 1950 in the Handicraft Research Institute in Peking. Typical of what is considered of Ch'ien-lung date are vases with lids and chains carved from a single block, vessels in antique bronze shapes with pseudo-archaic decoration, fairy mountains, and brush pots for the scholar's desk.

      The same forms and motifs were also skillfully employed in the carving of other ornamental minerals, such as rock crystal, rose quartz, agate, lapis lazuli, and soapstone. Owing to the early perfecting of porcelain in China, glassmaking (glassware) never became a major craft. In the 18th century, however, it was somewhat developed, partly under Western influence, the chief centre of production for the court being Po-shan in Shantung. Other minor crafts that achieved a high level of technical virtuosity in the Ch'ing dynasty include the carving of birch root, bamboo root, rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory, and hornbill ivory. Snuff bottles were made from a variety of hard stones, porcelain, glass, coral, cloisonné, and other materials. The technique of painting on the inside of glass snuff bottles was developed in the second half of the 19th century.

Stylistic and historical development since 1912
      The arts of China since 1912 have reflected the emergence of China into the modern world, the impact of Western art (art), and the political and military struggles of the period, culminating in the war with Japan (1937–45) and the civil war that ended in the establishment in 1949 of the People's Republic of China.

      Until the mid-1920s official and commercial architecture were chiefly in the eclectic European style of such treaty ports as Canton, Amoy, Fu-chou, and Shanghai, much of it designed by foreign architects. In 1925, however, a group of foreign-trained Chinese architects launched a renaissance movement to study and revive traditional Chinese architecture and to find ways of adapting it to modern needs and techniques. In 1930 they founded Chung-kuo Ying-tsao Hsüeh-she, the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture, which was joined in the following year by Liang Ssu-ch'eng, the dominant figure in the movement for the next 30 years. The fruits of their work can be seen in new universities and in major government and municipal buildings in Nanking and Shanghai. The war with Japan put an end to further developments along these lines, however. Since 1949, the movement has largely found extremely conservative expression in such buildings as the Institute of Chinese Culture and the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Tunghai University in T'ai-chung, Taiwan, designed by I.M. Pei, is a much more successful synthesis of Chinese spirit and modern techniques.

      The urgent need in China since 1949 for housing and industrial building has produced a huge quantity of purely utilitarian architecture and such major construction projects as dams and bridges of impressive scale. Peking and other big cities have been transformed by spectacular planning projects, but an awareness of the traditional role of symbolism in architecture has been retained and adapted to communist propaganda purposes. Large portions of the Forbidden City in Peking have been restored and established as a public museum, but a section has been given over to residences for the new ruling elite. A new primary thoroughfare (Ch'ang-an Boulevard) has been established, running east and west in front of the old palaces, contrary to the old north-south axis. A vast square for public political activity has been created in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace (T'ien-an Men, entryway to the Imperial City), flanked on one side by the Museum of Chinese History and the Revolution and on the other by the Great Hall of the People, built in Soviet style in 1959 during the Great Leap Forward. Most of the city's magnificent walls were torn down before or during the Cultural Revolution on the pretext that they impeded the flow of traffic. Finally, the regime's founder, Mao Zedong, who died in 1976, was buried in a mausoleum bearing a striking resemblance to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the tomb is located in the centre of the city at the south end of Tienanmen Square, where it obstructs the north-south axis in flagrant violation of traditional geomantic principles.

Painting (painting, Western) and printmaking
  Shanghai, which had been forcibly opened to the West in 1842 and boasted a newly wealthy clientele, was the logical site for the first modernist innovations. A Shanghai regional style appeared by the 1850s, led by Jen Hsiung, his more popular follower Jen I (or Jen Po-nien), and Jen I's follower Wu Ch'ang-shih. It drew its inspiration from a series of Individualist artists of the Ming and Ch'ing, including Hsü Wei, Ch'en Shun, Ch'en Hung-shou, Chu Ta, and Tao-chi; it focused on birds and flowers and figural themes more than the old landscape tradition; and it emphasized decorative qualities, exaggerated stylization, and satiric humour rather than refined brushwork and sober classicism. Under Wu Ch'ang-shih's influence, this style was passed on to Peking through the art of Ch'en Heng-k'o (or Ch'en Shih-tseng) and Ch'i Pai-shih in the first years after the revolution.

      The Japanese (arts, East Asian) faced the issues of modernization earlier than the Chinese, blending native and Western traditions in Nihonga painting and establishing an institutional basis of support under the leadership of Okakura Kakuzō, who founded the Tokyo Fine Arts School in 1889. Thus, it is not surprising that among the first in China to respond similarly were artists who had traveled to Japan, including Kao Chien-fu, his brother Kao Ch'i-feng, and Ch'en Shu-jen. Kao Chien-fu studied art for four years in Japan, beginning in 1898; during a second trip there, he met Sun Yat-sen, and subsequently, in Canton, he participated in the uprisings that paved the way for the fall of Imperial rule and the establishment in 1912 of a republic. Inspired by the “New Japanese Style,” the Kao brothers and Ch'en inaugurated a “New National Painting” movement, which in turn gave rise to a Cantonese (or “Ling-nan”) regional style that incorporated Euro-Japanese characteristics. Although the new style did not produce satisfying or lasting solutions, it was a significant harbinger and continued to thrive in Hong Kong, practiced by such artists as Chao Shao-ang. The first establishment of Western-style art instruction also dates from this period. A small art department was opened in Nanking High Normal School in 1906, and the first art academy, later to become the Shanghai Art School, was founded in the year of the revolution, 1911, by the 16-year-old Liu Hai-su, who in the next decade pioneered the first public exhibitions (1913) and the use of live models, first clothed and then nude, in the classroom.

      Increasingly, by the mid-1920s, young Chinese artists were attracted not just to Japan but also to Paris and German art centres. A trio of these artists brought back some understanding of the essential contemporary European traditions and movements. Liu Hai-su was first attracted to Impressionist art, while Lin Feng-mien (Lin Fengmian), who became director of the National Academy of Art in Hang-chou in 1928, was inspired by Postimpressionist experiments in colour and pattern by Henri Matisse and the Fauvists. Lin advocated a synthesis combining Western techniques and Chinese expressiveness and left a lasting mark on the modern Chinese use of the brush. Hsü Pei-hung (Xu Beihong), head of the National Central University art department in Nanking, eschewed European modernist movements in favour of Parisian academism. He developed his facility in drawing and oils, later learning to imitate pencil and chalk with the Chinese brush; the monumental figure paintings he created served as a basis for Socialist Realist painters after the communist revolution of 1949. By the 1930s, all these modern trends were clearly developed and institutionalized. Although most of the major artists of the time advocated modernism, two continued to support more traditional styles: Ch'i Pai-shih (Qi Baishi), who combined Shanghai style with an infusion of folk-derived vitality, and the relatively conservative landscapist Huang Pin-hung (Huang Binhong), who demonstrated that the old tradition could still produce a rival to the great masters of the 17th century.

       socialism produced a new set of artistic demands that were first met not by painting but by the inexpensive mass medium of woodblock (woodcut) prints (which had been invented in China and first used in the T'ang dynasty to illustrate Buddhist sutras). Initially stimulated by the satiric leftist writer Lu Hsün, printmakers flourished during the 1930s and '40s under the dual influence of European socialist artists like Käthe Kollwitz and the Chinese folk tradition of New Year's prints and papercuts. Among the most prominent print artists were Li Hua and Ku Yüan, who attained a new standard of political realism in Chinese art.

      In 1942, as part of the Chinese Communist Party's (Chinese Communist Party) first intellectual rectification movement, Mao Zedong delivered two speeches at the Yen-an Forum on Literature and Art that became the official party dictates on aesthetics for decades to come. Mao emphasized the subordination of art to political ends, the necessity for popularization of styles and subjects in order to reach a mass audience, the need for artists to share in the lives of ordinary people, and the requirement that the party and its goals be treated positively rather than subjected to satiric criticism. “Art for art's sake” was strictly denounced as a bourgeois liberal attempt to escape from the truly political nature of art. Although Mao later defended a place for the artistic study of nude models, a staple of Western naturalism, the tone he set led to severe limitations in the actual practice of this.

 The Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 led many artists of varied persuasions to flee eastern China for the temporary Nationalist capital in Chungking, Szechwan province, bringing a tremendous mixing of styles and artistic ferment, but the opportunity for innovation which this promised was thwarted by subsequent events. After the 1949 revolution, Communist Party control of the arts was firmly established by the placement of the academies under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, by the creation of artists' federations and associations (which served as an exclusive pathway to participation in exhibitions and other means of advancement) under the management of the party's Department of Propaganda, by the establishment of a strict system of control over publications, and by the virtual elimination of the commercial market for contemporary arts.

 Throughout the 1950s, as Socialist (Socialist Realism) Realist standards were gradually implemented, oil painting and woodblock printing were favoured and political cartoons and posters were raised to artistic status. Artists in the traditional media—with their basis in the Individualist art of the old “feudal” aristocracy—struggled institutionally for survival, eventually succeeding only as a result of the nationalist fervour that accompanied China's ideological break with the Soviet Union late in the decade. The internationalist but relatively conservative Hsü Pei-hung was installed as head of the new Central Academy of Fine Arts in Peking but died in 1953. Other older-generation leaders passed on shortly afterward (Ch'i Pai-shih and Huang Pin-hung) or were shunted aside (Liu Hai-su and Lin Feng-mien), and a younger generation soon came to the fore, ready to make the necessary compromises with the new regime. The talented landscapist Li Keran, who had studied with Ch'i Pai-shih, Lin Feng-mien, Huang Pin-hung, and Hsü Pei-hung, combined their influences with realistic sketching to achieve a new naturalism in the traditional medium. A leading figure painter was Cheng Shifa, a descendant of the Shanghai school who brought that style to bear in politically polished depictions of China's minority peoples. Many talented artists, including Luo Gongliu and Ai Zhongxin, painted in oils, which, because of their link to the Soviet Union and Soviet art advisors, held a favoured position until the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s.

      While the early 1960s provided a moment of political relaxation for Chinese artists, the Cultural Revolution of 1966–76 brought unprecedented hardships, ranging from forced labour and severe confinement to death. Destruction of traditional arts was especially rampant in the early years of the movement. Only those arts approved by a military-run apparatus under the sway of Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, could thrive; these followed the party's increasingly strict propagandist dictates and were often created anonymously as collective works. In the early 1970s, when China first reopened Western contacts, Premier Zhou Enlai attempted to restore government patronage for the traditional arts. When Zhou's health declined, traditional arts and artists again suffered under Jiang Qing, including being publicly denounced and punished at “black arts” exhibitions in Peking, Shanghai, and Sian in 1974.

      The passing of Mao and Maoism after 1976 brought a new and sometimes refreshing chapter in the arts under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. The 1980s were characterized by decreasing government control of the arts and increasingly bold artistic experimentation. Three phenomena in 1979 announced this new era: the appearance of Cubist and other Western styles, as well as nude figures, in the murals publicly commissioned for the new Peking airport (although the government “temporarily” covered the nudes); a private arts exhibition by The Stars art group at the Peking Art Gallery; and the rise of a truly realistic oil painting movement, which swept away the artificiality of Socialist Realist propaganda. A resurgence of traditional Chinese painting occurred in the 1980s, featuring the return of formerly disgraced artists, including Li Keran, Cheng Shifa, Shi Lu, and Huang Yongyu, and the emergence of such fresh talents as Wu Guanzhong, Jia Youfu in Sian, and Li Huasheng of Szechwan province.

 After 1985, as an increasingly bold avant-garde movement arose, the once-threatening traditional-style painting came to seem to the government like a safe alternative. In the final months before the June 1989 imposition of martial law in Peking, an exhibition of nude oil paintings from the Central Academy of Fine Arts at the Chinese National Gallery and an avant-garde exhibition featuring installation art, performance art (which lacked the necessary permit for a public gathering), and the mockery of the government through printed scrolls full of unreadable pseudo-characters drew record crowds. The latter was closed by police, and both exhibits were eventually denounced as having lowered local morals, helping to precipitate the tragic events that followed in June 1989. New limitations on artistic production, exhibition, and publication ensued. At the conclusion of these events, a number of leading artists, including Huang Yongyu, fled China, joining others who had previously fled or abandoned China to establish centres of Chinese art throughout the world. Among the leading Chinese artists outside mainland China have been Chao Wu-chi (Zao Wou-ki), who settled in Paris; Chang Dai-chien in Taiwan, Brazil, and the United States; Wang Chi-ch'ien (C.C. Wang) and Tseng Yu-ho in the United States; Liu Kuo-sung, Ch'en Ch'i-kwan, and Ho Huai-shuo in Taiwan; Fang Chao-lin in Hong Kong and London; and Lin Feng-mien in Hong Kong.

Michael Sullivan Jerome Silbergeld

Korean visual arts

General Characteristics
      The art produced by peoples living in the peninsula of Korea has traditionally shared aesthetic concepts, motifs, techniques, and forms with the art of China and Japan. Yet it has developed a distinctive style of its own. In general, Korean art has neither the grandeur and aloofness of Chinese art nor the decorative sophistication of Japanese art, and Korean artists were often not as technically perfect or precise as their Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Instead, the beauty of Korean art and the strength of its artists lay in simplicity, spontaneity, and a feeling of harmony with nature. In mood, the art of Korea is often characterized by a sense of loneliness arising from the serenity of the image and reflecting the Korean philosophy of resignation.

      The basic trend of Korean art has been naturalistic (naturalism), a characteristic already evident as early as the Three Kingdoms period (c. 57 BC–AD 668) but fully established by the Unified, or Great, Silla (Korean: Shinla) period (668–935). The traditional attitude of accepting nature as it is resulted in a highly developed appreciation for the simple and unadorned. Korean artists, for example, favour the unadorned beauty of raw materials, such as the natural patterns of wood grains. The Korean potter was characteristically unconcerned about mechanical perfection of his surfaces, curves, or shapes. His concern was to bring out the inherent or natural characteristics of his materials and the medium. Potters, therefore, were able to work unselfconsciously and naturally, producing wares of engaging simplicity and artistic distinctiveness.

      Simplicity applied not only to economy of shape but also to the use of decorative motifs and devices. The intervention of the human hand is restricted to a minimum in Korean art. A single stem of a flower, for instance, may be drawn in a subtle shade of blue on the side of a white porcelain vase or bottle, but never merely from a desire to fill an empty space. The effect is rather to enlarge the white background.

      The avoidance of extremes is another characteristic tradition in Korean art. Extreme straightness of line was disliked as much as extreme curvilinearism. The straight bold contour of a Sung dynasty (960–1279) Chinese bowl becomes a graceful, modest curve in a Korean bowl of the Koryŏ period (918–1392). The sharply curving Chinese roof is modified into a gently sloping roof. Sharp angles, strong lines, steep planes, and garish colours are all avoided. The overall effect of a piece of Korean art is generally gentle and mellow. It is an art of fluent lines. What is most striking is not the rhythm so much as the quiet inner harmony.

Stylistic and historical development
The formative period
      Both archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Korean people originally spread into the Korean peninsula from Siberia by way of Manchuria. Prehistoric sites dating from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods are found throughout the peninsula.

      Sporadic Chinese influence on Korean culture began in the late Neolithic Period, but the influence intensified with the establishment in 108 BC of colonies of the Han empire in northwestern Korea. The best known of these was Nangnang (Chinese: Lo-lang), near P'yŏngyang. From this Chinese centre of culture, iron smelting and advanced techniques of pottery making, such as the use of a potter's wheel and closed kiln, spread across the peninsula.

 The earliest Neolithic (Neolithic Period) potteries, produced in the 6th millennium BC, are flat-bottomed wares decorated with raised horizontal lines, a zigzag pattern around the rim, or horizontal rows of impressed dots or fingernail marks. In the 5th millennium BC the latter type evolved into what is known as comb-pattern pottery (comb pottery), which characteristically features a pointed or rounded bottom and overall geometric patterns of herringbone, meander, and concentric semicircles, produced by incised, impressed, or dragged dots and short lines. The linear, abstract tendency of these Neolithic potteries basically falls in the tradition of prehistoric Siberian art.

      In the ensuing Bronze Age (c. 1000–300 BC) and Early Iron Age (c. 300–0 BC) more types of pottery of improved quality appeared. Painted pieces derived from Chinese painted pottery have been found in North Korea, while wares devoid of surface decoration were used in other areas of the peninsula. Clay, bone, or stone figurines of seated or standing shamanistic deities were produced at such northeastern sites as Musan and Kulp'o-ri, as were small clay pigs used as charms to ensure fertility and fortune. The pigs are realistically rendered, and some even have tiny holes that were used to hold real pig hairs.

      It was also during this time that bronze (bronze work)- and iron-working centres were established in Korea. Bronze daggers (dagger), mirrors (mirror), and perforated pole finials, all ultimately of Siberian origin, were cast. The daggers are of the type widely used by the Scythian (Scythian art) peoples of the Eurasian steppe. The mirrors were also of a non-Chinese type, with twin knobs placed a little off centre against a tightly composed, geometric design made up of finely hatched triangles. The hatched-triangle motif was widely diffused over the vast Eurasian continent all the way from Hallstatt in Austria to Minusinsk in the upper Yenisey River valley of Siberia. The design was apparently an innovation from the Huai-style mirrors of pre-Han China.

      More evidence of the Siberian art tradition in prehistoric Korea can be seen in a rock-cut drawing discovered in 1970 at Pan'gudae, near the southeastern coast of South Korea. Pecked line drawings and silhouettes of animals, including whales, dolphins, tigers, wolves, and deer, are depicted on a large (8 by 2 metres), smooth vertical surface of the rock. Some of the animals have a “life line” drawn from the mouth to the anus in the so-called X-ray style of Siberian rock art. A shaman, hunters, and a fisherman are also depicted.

Three Kingdoms period (c. 57 BC–AD 668)
      The first major period of Korean art during recorded history is the period of the Three Kingdoms (c. 57 BC–AD 668), when the peninsula of Korea was ruled by three monarchies. The Koguryŏ (Koguryŏ style) kingdom (traditionally dated 37 BC–AD 668) was the northernmost of the three, both geographically and culturally. First established in southern Manchuria, its lifestyle was based on the typically austere cultural patterns of northern Asia, evolved in a region characterized by its scarcity of arable land and severity of climate. The Paekche kingdom (traditionally dated 18 BC–AD 660) was centred in southwestern Korea, south of the present-day city of Seoul. This was a favourable geographic position for receiving foreign cultural influences. Paekche art, therefore, was open and receptive to Chinese influences. Northern Chinese cultural elements were introduced by land through the Koguryŏ kingdom, while southern Chinese influences easily crossed the navigable East Asian seas. The kingdom of Silla (traditionally dated 57 BC–AD 668) was the oldest of the monarchies. It originated in the present city of Kyŏngju and eventually came to cover most of southeastern Korea east of the Naktong River. The original territory of the Silla kingdom, the modern North Kyŏngsang province, is a mountain-secluded triangle, a geographic factor sometimes offered as an explanation for the distinctiveness and conservatism of its art.

      The introduction of Buddhism into Koguryŏ from China (AD 372) brought a sudden efflorescence of the arts. Until that time a sustained tradition of large-scale art had been virtually nonexistent. The Koguryŏ kings started the building of temples and pagodas, and sculpture, in the form of Buddha images, made its appearance. By the 6th century, the Silla and Paekche kings had also become converts to the new faith, and from then on Buddhism, and through it Chinese art, remained the main inspiration of Korean art until the 15th century.

      During the Three Kingdoms period there were three political and cultural centres: P'yŏngyang, the capital of Koguryŏ, in the northwest; the Kongju-Puyŏ region, the Paekche heartland, in the southwest; and Kyŏngju, the capital of Silla, in the southeast. Silla and Paekche, along with the minor state of Kaya (also known as Kara or Karak; Japanese: Mimana) in the south, maintained close cultural contacts with Japan, and it was at this time that the significant Korean influence on Japanese art (arts, East Asian) began. The Paekche kingdom first introduced Buddhism and Chinese writing to Japan. South Korean immigrants to Japan founded important centres of learning and the arts. The Sue pottery of the Tumulus, or Kofun, period (also known as the Great Burial Period (Tumulus period)) was the Japanese version of the Silla pottery of Korea. Even the famed wall paintings (painting, Western) of the Hōryū Temple in Nara, Japan, have been attributed to a northern Korean painter, Tamjing, from the Koguryŏ kingdom.

 Except for several small Buddhist images in bronze and clay, very little remains of Koguryŏ's religious art. A considerable amount, however, has been preserved from the two southern kingdoms. Paekche was the first to use granite in the construction of pagodas (pagoda) and sculpture. After the Three Kingdoms period, granite, which is abundant in Korea, was widely used in construction and sculpture. The granite pagodas of Korea stand in sharp contrast to the brick pagodas of China and the wooden pagodas of Japan.

      Korea's earliest known paintings date to the Three Kingdoms period. Vivid polychrome paintings depicting shamanistic deities and scenes of daily life among Koguryŏ aristocrats have survived in more than 50 Koguryŏ tombs located along the north bank of the Amnok (Yalu) River near Chi-an, China, and in the area around P'yŏngyang to the south. Although the Koguryŏ custom of painting the plastered walls of tomb burial chambers spread to Paekche and Silla (as well as to Kyushu, Japan), only a few murals from these kingdoms survive.

      The surviving secular art of the period consists chiefly of burial gifts taken from tombs (tomb). Not much is available from Koguryŏ and Paekche, because the tombs were too easily accessible and have long since been looted. However, much pottery, along with items used for personal adornment, has continued to turn up in the second half of the 20th century from the less accessible Silla tombs. The most valuable pieces of Old Silla art came from huge mounded tombs in the Kyŏngju area. The rich Silla gold mines, exhaustively worked, yielded the abundance of gold ornaments reflected in the ancient Japanese epithet Manokagayaku Shiragi, or “Eye-Brightening Silla.”

      No original examples of Koguryŏ architecture remain, except for some foundation stones that vaguely suggest a building site, possibly of a royal villa, on the Yalu River near Chi-an, China. In the P'yŏngyang area, three temple sites, probably of the late 5th or early 6th century, have been discovered. These were situated on low terraces, and in each case the central structure was an octagonal wooden pagoda with sides 10 metres long. The pagoda was probably a tall, multistoried structure in the style of the Yingning Temple pagoda built in Lo-yang, China, in AD 467. Facing the central pagoda on three sides (north, east, and west) were Buddha chapels. This arrangement, one pagoda with three surrounding halls, seems to have been the earliest Buddhist temple plan used. The very same plan can be seen at a Paekche temple site in Puyŏ and at the site of the Asuka-dera temple near Kyōto, Japan. The Paekche temple also had a central octagonal wooden pagoda. In Silla, however, as can be seen in the well-known Hwang'yong Temple of Kyŏngju, the Koguryŏ-Paekche plan was modified to a one-pagoda (south), one-chapel (north) system.

      Though the wooden structures of the period have been completely destroyed, three stone pagodas still exist, two in the Paekche area and one in Kyŏngju. At first Koreans built replicas of Chinese multistory wooden pagodas; but, since wooden structures were expensive and difficult to maintain, the idea arose, first in Paekche, of using stone. Paekche architects initially tried to copy the wooden pagoda as faithfully as possible. A good example of this is the stone pagoda at the Mirŭk Temple south of Puyŏ. Later, however, pagodas became smaller, and architectural details were much simplified, as can be seen in the five-story pagoda in Puyŏ. The square pagoda stands on the elevated platform of granite, and each story is capped by a thin roofstone with projecting eaves. The stories diminish progressively in size as they go upward, forming a characteristic slender and stabilized type from which the later Silla pagodas evolved. The only remaining Silla pagoda is at the Punhwang Temple in Kyŏngju, constructed in 634, a stone version of a Chinese brick pagoda of the T'ang dynasty (618–907).

      Paintings from the Three Kingdoms are mainly those from decorated tombs. The earliest dated Koguryŏ tomb, the Tomb of Tongsu, or Tomb No. 3, in Anak, south of P'yŏngyang, was built in 357. All other known tombs except for Tokhŭng-ni Tomb, bearing an inscription datable to 408 AD, are undated but can be roughly classified as early (4th century), middle (5th century), or late (6th century). The early tomb murals (mural) were portraits of the dead master and his wife, painted either on the nichelike side walls of an entrance chamber or on the back wall of the main burial chamber. The paintings were executed in fresco (fresco painting), a technique of painting with water-soluble pigments on plaster. The colours used were black, deep yellow, brownish red, green, and purple. The general tone of the paintings is subdued and often gives a strange melancholic impression. In the middle stage, though portraits were still painted, they depicted the dead master in connection with some important event in his life, rather than seated solemnly and godlike as in the earlier period. In the Tomb of the Dancing Figures in the T'ung-kou region around Chi-an, the master is shown on the northern wall of the main chamber feasting with visiting Buddhist monks. A troupe of dancers is painted on the eastern wall and a hunting scene on the western one. The delicate wiry outlines of the first phase of Korean mural painting are replaced by bold, animated lines, which are quite distinct from the prevailing Chinese styles. In the hunting scene, mounted warriors shoot at fleeing tigers and deer. Lumps of striated clay are used to depict mountain ranges. Forceful brushstrokes are used to heighten the effect of motion of the galloping horses and fleeing game. This naive sense of dynamism is characteristic of Koguryŏ painting, which despite its considerable aesthetic merits has neither the sophisticated rhythms of Chinese art nor the mystic abstraction of contemporary Japanese tomb paintings.

      In the third and final stage of Koguryŏ mural art, the technique of fresco painting was improved and imagery refined under the influence of Chinese painting. Lines flow and colours are intensified. Genre paintings of preceding stages disappeared and the Four Deities of the cardinal compass points now occupied the four walls in Chinese fashion, a concept derived from Taoist (Daoism) religious art of the T'ang period. Dating probably from the first half of the 7th century, the paintings of the Three Tombs at Uhyŏn-ni, near P'yŏngyang, and of the Tomb of the Four Deities in Chi-an are the best examples from the final phase of Koguryŏ fresco painting.

      Tomb painting spread to Paekche, where two examples of tomb wall painting can be found, the tombs of Songsan-ni in Kongju and of Nŭngsan-ni in Puyŏ. In addition, a pillow from the tomb of King Muryŏng (501–523), in Kongju, features fish and dragons and lotus flowers painted in flowing exquisite lines in ink against a red background. In the greater Silla area, one decorated tomb at Koryŏng in the former Kaya territory and two tombs discovered in the 1980s at Yŏngju have survived, but the paintings in all three are badly damaged. The best example of painting from the Old Silla period is found on a saddle mudguard made of multi-ply birch bark discovered in the Tomb of the Heavenly Horse in Kyŏngju in 1973; the mudguard depicts a galloping white horse surrounded by a band of floral design.

      Buddhist sculpture (Western sculpture) probably began in the Koguryŏ kingdom in the 5th century. No 5th-century pieces survive, however, except for some fragments of terra-cotta figures. The earliest dated Koguryŏ Buddhist image is a gilt-bronze standing Buddha. It has an inscribed date that may correspond to the year 539. The elongated face, the flared drapery, and the mandorla or almond-shaped aureole, decorated with a flame pattern, all point to the influence of Chinese sculpture of the Northern Wei period (386–534.) A close adherence to the stylized linear tradition of northern Chinese sculpture was, in fact, the main characteristic of Koguryŏ sculpture.

      In Paekche the Koguryŏ-type Buddha became more naturalistic and thus more Korean in style. The Buddha's face is rounder and more expressive, with the distinctive “Paekche smile.” The style was apparently influenced by the softly modeled sculpture of southern China, particularly of the Southern Liang dynasty (502–557), when many Chinese artisans are believed to have come to Paekche. The best piece among some 18 or so extant Paekche gilt-bronze Buddhist images is a standing bodhisattva, or figure of one who has attained enlightenment. Now in the Ichida collection in Japan, it was originally from a temple site in Puyŏ. The seated Maitreya, or image of the future Buddha dwelling in the Tuṣita heaven (National Museum of Korea, Seoul), is of unknown provenance, although the round face, the well-proportioned feminine body, and the animated, naturalistic drapery suggest Paekche workmanship of about 600. The pinewood bodhisattva in the Kōryū Temple, Kyōto, Japan, has the same facial expression and posture, and it is believed to be the Maitreya sent from Korea in 623, as is recorded in Nihon shoki, the official history of Japan compiled in the 8th century. Toward the end of the Paekche dynasty, rock-cut sculpture, in the form of relief figures on exposed outdoor rocks, appeared. Dating from the mid-7th century, the first such example is at Sŏsan in South Ch'ungch'ŏng province. It is a Śākyamuni triad, or the historical Buddha flanked by the bodhisattvas Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra.

      Silla followed the naturalistic Paekche style but in a more static and conservative fashion. The seated gilt-bronze Silla Maitreya in the National Museum of Korea is of the same size as the Paekche Maitreya and is cast in the same pose of a half cross-legged figure in meditation. The drapery, however, is very conventionalized, and the image lacks the animation of the Paekche statue. In the 7th century the creation of stone sculpture increased in the Silla kingdom. Kyŏngju became the centre of production. Much of this stone statuary reflected influences from early T'ang sculpture of the 7th century, particularly in the characteristic interest in the body mass.

       metalwork was one of the most developed mediums of the decorative arts in the Three Kingdoms period. Kings and high-ranking officials wore gold or gilt-bronze crowns (crown) and diadems and also adorned themselves with earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and finger rings made of gold, silver, bronze, jade, and glass. The best surviving pieces of jewelry and regalia come from intact Silla tombs. Only five gold crowns, coming from five Kyŏngju tombs, had been discovered by the early 1990s. The most elaborate, discovered in 1921 in the Tomb of the Golden Crown, consists of an outer circlet with five upright elements and a separate inner cap with a hornlike frontal ornament. It is made of cut sheet gold, and three of the frontal uprights are trees done in a highly stylized manner, flanked by two antler-shaped uprights. Numerous spangles and crescent-shaped pieces of jade (magatama) are attached to the vertical elements by means of twisted wire. The worship of trees (tree) and antlers was almost universal among ancient peoples of Central and Northern Asia, where the Koreans of the Three Kingdoms originated. A diadem similarly adorned with miniature stags and trees was discovered in a Sarmatian tomb on the north shore of the Black Sea. (The Sarmatians were also a people who had migrated out of northern and Central Asia.)

      The most representative type of Three Kingdoms pottery is the hard, grayish, unglazed stoneware of Silla. The predominant type of vessel forms are mounted cups and jars with erect cylindrical necks. At the foot of the cups are four or more rectangular apertures. There are also many human and animal figurines. In Paekche, tiles of gray clay were produced around Puyŏ in the 7th century, many with reliefs of boldly stylized landscapes.

Unified, or Great, Silla period (Unified Silla Dynasty) (668–935)
      In 660 and 668, respectively, the Paekche and Koguryŏ kingdoms fell to the allied armies of the Silla king and the T'ang Chinese emperor, creating a new political and cultural era referred to as the Unified Silla period. This was the golden age of Korean art. Buddhism enjoyed a renewed prosperity, and great temples sprang up one after another in the Kyŏngsang region. Monks and scholars traveled to T'ang (Tang dynasty) China to partake of its brilliant cosmopolitan culture. Korean culture was rapidly Sinicized, and the Silla kingdom prided itself on the appellation “Little China” bestowed upon it by the T'ang Chinese. The capital city of Kyŏngju (like the contemporary Japanese capital of Heian-kyo, later Kyōto) was modeled after the T'ang capital of Ch'ang-an, with broad, straight avenues laid out on a rectangular grid pattern. From this time on, southern Korea, particularly the southeast, became the centre of Korean artistic development, and northern Korea, where once an aggressive Koguryŏ art had flourished, diminished in importance.

      The Unified Silla period produced more granite Buddhist images and pagodas than any other period. Architectural ornamentation, such as roof tiles decorated with floral and animal designs, was of high quality. The bronzesmiths of Unified Silla did excellent work, as exemplified in numerous huge temple bells, śarīra boxes (containing sacred ashes of the Śākyamuni Buddha), and Buddhist statues. Toward the end of the reign, bronze seems to have been in short supply, and statues were cast in iron. One Buddhist painting has survived from the Unified Silla period. It depicts a Buddhist sermon held in a temple. Figures and architecture are represented in fine gold lines on blue-brown paper.

      Many temples were built during the Unified Silla period, and existing ones were enlarged. The low skyline of Kyŏngju must once have been dominated by towering pagodas. The original layout of a Unified Silla temple is best preserved in the Pulguk Temple to the southeast of Kyŏngju. The temple, constructed in the mid-8th century, is situated at the foot of a mountain and is divided into two adjoining complexes. The approach from the south is by a pair of stone staircases. The main complex is the eastern one, with two stone pagodas, one behind the entrance gate and the other in front of the main hall. One pagoda (Sŏkkat'ap) is in the typical square Silla style and represents Śākyamuni, the historical Buddha. The other pagoda (Tabot'ap) is more elaborate and symbolizes the Prabhūtaratna Buddha. The arrangement apparently symbolizes the Buddhist legend that, when Śākyamuni preached the Avataṃsaka-sūtra, the pagoda of Prabhūtaratna emerged out of the earth in witness of the greatness and truth of his preaching. A lecture hall once stood behind the main hall. A long, roofed corridor once surrounded the entire eastern complex, linking the main gate, main hall, and the lecture hall. The western complex symbolizes paradise and has a Hall of Paradise at its centre. This complex was also once surrounded by a long corridor. The present wooden structures of the temple date from the 17th century, but the stoneworks, such as platforms, staircases, and foundation stones, all date from the Unified Silla period.

      A special annex to the Pulguk Temple complex is the artificial cave temple, Sŏkkuram, on the crest of Mount T'oham about 1.6 kilometres away. The cave temple is a domed circular structure built of granite blocks and resembles a tholos, one of the beehive-shaped tombs built by the ancient Mycenaeans in Greece from about 1600 to 1300 BC. A square anteroom houses eight guardian figures in relief. The main chamber is 8 metres high and about 7 metres across. A large seated Śākyamuni (Amitābha, according to some) about 3.5 metres high, carved out of a single block of granite, occupies the centre on an elevated lotus pedestal. On the surrounding wall are 15 slabs in relief depicting 5 bodhisattvas and 10 disciples in attendance. The sculpture of this cave temple is without doubt the finest achievement of Buddhist art in the Orient.

      The Paekche type of stone pagoda was adopted in the Unified Silla period, but certain architectural details of the earlier wooden pagoda were ignored and others simplified. The number of stories was reduced to three in most cases, and the main structure stands on a highly elevated, two-tier base. The roof stones have five-stepped corbels, or five projecting blocks supporting a superstructure. In the Śākyamuni pagoda at Pulguk Temple, a good example of the typical Unified Silla pagoda of the 8th century, the ratio of the widths of the stories from the bottom upward is 4:3:2, and the width of the lower base is equated with the height of the main structure above the upper base. This deliberate layout, unique to the Unified Silla period, makes the 8th-century pagoda a well-balanced and beautifully proportioned structure.

      The Prabhūtaratna pagoda at Pulguk Temple is an exceptional case that demonstrates the skill of Unified Silla masonry. It is actually an enlarged stone version of an elaborate śarīra shrine. The main shrine, surrounded by railings, is supported by a rooflike square slab resting on four pillars with massive brackets, or supporting elements, to carry a projecting weight. The pillars in turn stand on an elevated platform approached by four staircases. On top of the octagonal main shrine is a small, similarly shaped roof adorned with a complex finial, or crowning ornamental architectural detail.

      In addition to Buddhist architecture, other forms, including palatial architecture, flourished. Evidence of the magnificence of the Silla palace in Kyŏngju can be seen in the restored Anapchi (Goose and Duck Pond), a man-made pond originally constructed during the reign of King Munmu (661–681). When the pond was dredged in 1976, the original stone-built banks and a complex device for regulating the intake and outflow of water were discovered. Sites of pond-side pavilions as well as huge natural rocks that had been placed on the slopes of islets and on the banks of the pond also were uncovered, revealing the original layout of the 7th-century royal garden.

      The sculpture of the Unified Silla period was the high point of Korean naturalism and is marked by an abundance of statues in granite. During the first phase of the period, Korean sculpture was under the fresh influence of Chinese sculpture of the early T'ang period. Unified Silla works showed a certain vigour, though they were often stiff and had an imposing body mass. The tortoise base for the monument of King Muyŏl (d. 661) in Kyŏngju and a Śākyamuni triad at Kunwi are good examples of the first phase.

      At the outset of the 8th century, however, Unified Silla sculpture freed itself of stiffness and took on a softened naturalistic look. The standing Amitābha and Maitreya (dated 721) from the site of Kamsan Temple may be considered typical examples of the first half of the 8th century and as stylistic stepping stones leading to the fully mature sculptures of the Sŏkkuram cave temple of the mid-8th century. The main Buddha of the cave temple has a massive body and a full, round face. Yet this is no mere hulking physical mass of monumental stone. The tranquil facial expression, the solid massive curves of the upper torso, and the somewhat formalized, simple drapery are skillfully synthesized and radiate the spiritual power and grace of the Buddha. The surrounding reliefs on oblong slabs are of the same quality. In the case of the bodhisattvas, shapely feminine bodies are superbly reproduced on the rough granite surface; the curves, however, are covered by thin robes, executed in a stylized manner to de-emphasize the physical attractions and enhance the spiritual qualities. These figures may have been inspired by similar T'ang figures, such as those executed in 703 for the Pao-ching Temple in Sian, China. The Sŏkkuram figures, however, lack the secular and erotic character of the T'ang sculptures.

      Stylistic and technical degeneration, however, had already begun in the second half of the 8th century, as is indicated by the two seated bronze Buddhas in the Pulguk Temple. They retain the round, fleshy face of the Sŏkkuram Buddha, but their torsos are overly elongated and the drapery somewhat stylized, so that the spiritual quality is diminished. This mannered style of handling the image increases until the end of the century.

      In the 9th century the Unified Silla kingdom itself began to decline. Sculptors were constrained to reduce the size of their pieces, both carved and cast. As a result statues were often out of proportion. A large square block representing the head might be placed on top of a small shrunken body with narrow, sloping shoulders. From about the mid-9th century, bronze came to be used only for small statuettes; large images were cast in iron.

      A considerable number of ceramic urns have been discovered, mainly in the vicinity of Kyŏngju. They are covered with stamped floral patterns, and some have a yellowish green lead glaze. The stamping and glazing were new techniques introduced by potters in the 7th century. Earthenware roof and square floor tiles also were produced. These were decorated with delicately molded lotus and other rich floral designs and were made for Buddhist temples and palace buildings.

      Bronze work was outstanding in this period, especially the large bronze Buddhist bells (bell). Four Unified Silla bells with inscribed dates survive, two of which are in Japan. A Korean bell of this period differs from a Chinese or Japanese example by the hollow cylindrical tube erected on the crown, alongside the traditional arched dragon handle, and in the surface decoration: the upper and the lower rims of the body are each surrounded by an ornamental horizontal band. Silla skill in casting is best seen in the colossal bronze bell of King Sŏngdŏk that was made in 771 for the Pongdŏk Temple and is now in the Kyŏngju National Museum.

      Buddhist bronze shrines for śarīra were sometimes placed inside stone pagodas. The best example is from the western pagoda of the Kamŭn Temple site. It is a square platform on which a miniature glass bottle containing the śarīra is placed under a rich canopy supported by four corner poles. The shrine was encased in a square outer box with a pyramidal cover, each panel of the box adorned with a bronze relief figure of one of the Four Guardians.

Koryŏ period (918–1392)
      In 935 the Unified Silla monarchy was supplanted by the newly risen Koryŏ Dynasty (918–1392). Buddhism once again prospered under royal patronage. Koryŏ's close cultural ties with China during the Sung (Song dynasty) period (960–1279) resulted in direct influences from the advanced Chinese urban culture, and highly refined, Sinicized lifestyles prevailed among the aristocrats, the more important court officials, and the high-ranking Buddhist priests. The peace of the realm, however, was often disrupted by invaders from Manchuria, first Khitan, then Juchen, and finally by the Mongols (Yuan dynasty). In 1232 the Koryŏ court fled to Kanghwa Island off the west coast of Korea, leaving the country to Mongol devastation and control. The art of Koryŏ never again equaled its pre-Mongol achievements.

      Few original examples of Koryŏ architecture have survived. Koryŏ stone sculpture and stone pagoda construction were inferior to that of the Unified Silla period. Examples have survived largely because the Buddhist monks buried their images and ceremonial vessels before abandoning the temples to the Mongols. Good bronze temple bells were cast, although they were smaller in size than those produced in the Unified Silla kingdom. Buddhist sutras (sūtra) were painstakingly copied by monks in gold and silver on thick purple paper. printing and wood-block engraving (wood engraving) were innovations that reached a high state of development. A Koryŏ book is comparable in printing technique to the finest Chinese editions of the Sung period. The famous engraved edition of the entire Tripiṭaka, a long Buddhist canonical text, was done in Kanghwa Island in the mid-13th century as a commission of the government in exile. More than 80,000 engraved word blocks were used to print this edition. The major artistic achievement of the Koryŏ period was the production of porcelain with a celadon glaze. Sets of celadon ware were customarily buried with the dead, and it is from these tombs that most of the Koryŏ celadon available in the 20th century has come.

 Traditional Korean architecture must have been similar to T'ang (Tang dynasty) architecture, which is best illustrated by the main hall of Nan-ch'an Temple (782), Shansi, China. The main hall of the Tōshōdai Temple in Kyōto, Japan, also is believed to be a good example of T'ang-style architecture. In Korea the adaptation of the T'ang architecture is called the chusimp'o (chusimp'o style) style. It is characterized by the so-called column-head bracketing, or complexes of brackets that project above the heads or capitals of the columns, with or without intercolumnar struts (inclined supports). One of the best examples of chusimp'o architecture is the Muryangsujŏn (“Hall of Eternal Life”) of Pusŏk Temple. Dating from the 13th century, this is believed to be one of the oldest wooden structures in Korea.

      About 1300 a new architectural style was brought in from Sung China. Called tap'o (tap'o style) (multi-bracket), it is characterized by intercolumnar bracketing in place of struts. Tap'o became the main style during the following Chosŏn dynasty. Built in the tap'o manner are the Pokwangjŏn hall of the Simwŏn Temple and the Eungjinjŏn hall of the Sŏkwang Temple, both of which are datable to the second half of the 14th century. The new tap'o buildings are much more decorative than those in the chusimp'o style because the intercolumnar brackets fill up the otherwise empty spaces between columns.

      The early Koryŏ pagoda was executed in the Unified Silla style, although the roof stones were thinner and the number of eave corbels decreased to three or four. Then, after a short period, this style of pagoda changed drastically. The number of stories increased, the corbels on the roof stones became almost unrecognizable, and the height of each story was reduced. The Koryŏ pagoda became either an emasculated pagoda of the Unified Silla period or an unstable columnar silhouette. There are also towering octagonal pagodas as, for example, the one at Wŏlchŏng Temple. These were not revivals of the Koguryŏ type but a contemporary style imported from Sung China.

      Toward the end of the Koryŏ the building of pagodas virtually came to a halt. One exception is the 10-story (12-metre) marble pagoda built in 1348 for the Wŏngak Temple in Kaesŏng (now in the Kyŏngbok Palace, Seoul). The pagoda stands on a cross-shaped, three-tiered platform. Every architectural detail from roof tiles to the bracket system is painstakingly reproduced, and numerous Buddhist figures in relief cover the entire surface of the pagoda. This type of highly decorated pagoda with its unusual architectural features must have been based upon the ideas of Chinese stone architects of the Yüan dynasty (1206–1368).

      Only about 10 examples of original Koryŏ painting are extant, and most of these are in Japan. They are mainly minor works on Buddhist themes except for several badly worn fragments of a hunting scene attributed to King Kongmin (1351–74) and two landscapes by other artists. There is little to be said about these isolated works except that they are in varying degrees in the style of Chinese painting of the Sung period (960–1279). Among the few examples of Koryŏ temple wall paintings (mural) are the Buddhistic images in the Chosa-dang (Founder's Hall) at Pusŏk Temple (1377) and the paintings of flowers in the Main Hall of the Sudŏk Temple (1308). Among the important examples of Koryŏ tomb painting is an image of a flying deva (from the 12th or 13th century) discovered in 1971 on the wall of a tomb at Kŏch'ang in southeastern Korea.

      Compared with that of the Unified Silla period, Koryŏ sculpture shows a decline in both quantity and quality. However, before the decline a momentary surge of naturalism, a traditionally northern Korean quality, revitalized the period. Large images with imposing bodies and archaic smiles were successfully cast in iron, a medium not used since the late Unified Silla period. Direct copies from 8th-century Unified Silla models were often attempted. The colossal seated iron Buddha in the National Museum of Korea is the best example of this revival style. This image of the Buddha was clearly influenced by the large Śākyamuni of the Unified Silla cave temple of Sŏkkuram. Only the long narrow eyes, the sharpened nose, and a certain angularity in the treatment of the drapery give the Buddha a unique Koryŏ coldness that heralds the rather abstract quality found in later iron images.

      In stone sculpture, also, the revival style is noticeable. The trend, however, was short-lived, and by the 12th century Koryŏ sculptors seem to have lost the art of working large, fully rounded figures in stone or metal. The decline in technique was manifested in the abstract tendency of certain figures of the middle of the Koryŏ period, such as the seated iron Buddha in Ch'ungju.

      Although the sculpture produced by the major workshops suffered a decline, good sculptors could still be found in the countryside. One of the best known is the master who carved a set of wooden play masks (mask) for the village of Hahoe near Andong in southeastern Korea. The masks are marked by an exotic realism. The deep-set eyes are arranged asymmetrically so as to become mobile under the play of changing light and shade. The nose, very un-Korean, is extraordinarily long and aquiline. The separately made chin, like the nose, is massive. Models for these exotic masks must have come from China, as early as the T'ang dynasty, when elements of Persian and Central Asian art found their way into China. These Korean masks might well have served as the intermediary links through which the Japanese mask for the nō drama developed from original Chinese models.

      Traditional Koryŏ pottery was unglazed grayish stoneware in the Unified Silla tradition. By the end of the 10th century, however, the technique of high-fired, green-glazed porcelain of the Yüeh type was introduced from Chekiang province in southern China. After an initial period of imitation, Koryŏ potters, from about the mid-11th century or slightly earlier, started to produce their own distinctive kind of porcelain with a celadon glaze. Two main ceramic centres, at Kangjin and Puan, operated in southwestern Korea from the very beginning to the end of the Koryŏ period.

      The first period of Koryŏ celadon, from about 1050 to 1150, was the period of plain celadon ware. The “secret” colour of Koryŏ celadon, a greenish blue with a mysteriously deep tone, was regarded by the Sung Chinese as one of the “ten best things in the world.” The potters of the first period appear to have been mainly concerned with the deep, lustrous colour and the formal beauty of the vessel, although they also used incised, engraved, or molded animal and floral patterns to decorate their vessels. Their specialties were animal- and fruit-shaped ewers and incense burners. White procelain of the Chinese ying-ching (yingqing ware) type also was produced during this period, though only in limited quantities.

      The next 100 years, from 1150 to 1250, is the period of inlaid celadon ware. The technique of inlay on celadon is generally believed to have been invented about the mid-12th century. The idea of inlay may have come from a number of sources, but it is undoubtedly related to techniques of metal inlay that in turn were derived from inlaid lacquer. Whatever the origin, inlaid celadon was a Korean invention and unique to the Korean pottery of the 12th to the 15th century. In this technique, the freshly thrown vessel is left to dry to a leatherlike hardness. Designs are then incised or gouged out and filled with white or black clay. Sometimes, instead of the design, the background is scraped off and filled with black or white clay. During the initial stage, potters were still aware of the importance of glaze colour, despite the remarkable effect of inlaid designs. As time passed, however, they gradually inclined toward the decorative effect of designs, and the space occupied by the design came to dominate their work. The famous vase in the Kansong Art Museum, Seoul, is an outstanding example of this mature period of inlaid celadon.

      From about 1250 to the end of the Koryŏ period in 1392 is the period of decline. The inlay technique continued, but the designs were loose and coarse and lacked the craftsmanship of the earlier pieces. The glaze colour is predominantly yellowish because an oxidizing fire was used. Crowded floral patterns painted in an iron type of underglaze became fashionable under the influence of Chinese pottery of the Yüan period (1206–1368).

      The Koreans probably learned the technique of lacquer making (lacquerwork) from the Chinese at Nangnang during the early years of the Three Kingdoms period. It thenceforth became so popular that inlaid (inlay) lacquer is almost completely a Korean specialty. The technique, although called “inlaid,” is more accurately a polish-expose technique. Cut pieces of abalone or tortoiseshell, supplemented by silver or bronze wire, are pasted on the hemp or hemp-coated pinewood core with a thick coat of lacquer. Many layers of lacquer and special glue are then applied to the design until the shell layer is completely concealed. It is then polished with whetstone and charcoal until the surface of the design is revealed.

      Bronze (bronze work) temple bells (bell) continued to be cast, but they gradually were reduced in size, and the craftsmanship showed a remarkable decline from the Unified Silla period. A Koryŏ bell is distinguished by the outer edge of the crown, which characteristically is marked by a band of lotus petals that projects out obliquely. Images of outlined Buddhas (Buddhism) and bodhisattvas (bodhisattva) around the trunk replaced the earlier flying devas (heavenly beings who are the guardians of Buddhism).

      Important among the Koryŏ bronzes is the series of beautifully finished incense burners (incense burner) still treasured by many temples. These censers look like enlarged mounted cups with deep bowllike bodies, the mouth rims of which flare out horizontally to form a broad brim. The body is mounted on top of a conical stand with graceful concave side lines. The surface of the vessel is always covered with fluent, linear floral patterns or animated dragons inlaid with silver, which stand out strikingly against the shining black patinated background. The same techniques and decorative motifs also were used for making the artistically outstanding bronze mirrors (mirror) typical of the Koryŏ period.

Chosŏn (Yi) period (Chosŏn dynasty) (1392–1910)
      In 1388 General Yi Sŏng-gye dethroned the pro-Mongol King Wu. Four years later, in 1392, General Yi proclaimed himself founder of the new Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) and moved the capital from Kaesŏng (Songdo) to Seoul. His policy was to maintain close political and cultural ties with Ming China (1368–1644). Buddhism, by then thoroughly corrupt, was displaced as the state religion by a puritanic Neo- Confucianism, then also on the ascendant in Ming China. Confucianism became the dominant influence on Korean thought, morals, and aesthetic standards. Chosŏn craftsmen and artisans, unable except occasionally to draw inspiration from imported Chinese art, were constrained to rely upon their own sense of beauty and perfection. Chosŏn artists, particularly in the decorative arts, showed a more spontaneous, indigenous aesthetic sense than the sophisticated aristocratic elegance of Koryŏ art.

      In 1592 the Japanese general Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea. For many years the entire peninsula was a battlefield, and a tremendous amount of art was destroyed. The Japanese even carried off many Korean potters, who later managed to settle in the northern part of the island of Kyushu and become the founders of the Japanese porcelain industry. The Japanese invasion was soon followed by the Manchu, a Manchurian people, who later conquered China and established the Ch'ing dynasty (1644–1911/12). The two invasions left the Chosŏn government in a critically weakened condition, but they also inspired the rise of a strong nationalist sentiment among the Korean people. Concern focused on solving domestic social problems and on reviving and restoring confidence in Korean culture and identity. Scholars made efforts to develop practical knowledge and wisdom to improve life in Korea rather than studying “empty” Confucian theories. Painters for the first time showed profound interest in the landscape and daily life of Korea, and Chosŏn art of the 17th to 18th century demonstrated a marked Korean character and flavour. This florescence of Chosŏn art ended after only two centuries, however, because of the lack of public and private patronage, the lack of inspiration, and the apathy and poverty that occurred as the dynasty itself entered the last phase of its history.

      Nevertheless, this period left abundant artistic remains. There are many palace and temple buildings, although few date to before the Japanese invasion. Buddhist images were usually made of wood instead of bronze and iron, and granite was rarely used for sculpture. Among the secular arts, painting and ceramics were the most important. The Chosŏn government maintained an Office of Painting, or Imperial academy of painting (Tohua-sŏ), and the government also operated an official kiln that alone was authorized to produce blue-and-white (blue-and-white ware) porcelain. Local private kilns also mass-produced large amounts of ceramics. The Chosŏn dynasty was finally terminated when Japan annexed Korea in 1910.

 Many large palace and temple buildings are preserved from the Chosŏn period, particularly those built from the 17th century on. The chusimp'o, the column-head bracket style of the Koryŏ period, continued during the early part of this period. But the dominant architectural style of the Chosŏn period was the tap'o (tap'o style), or the intercolumnar bracket style. At least five large palaces in Seoul alone date from the beginning of the period. The largest and most important is the Kyŏngbok Palace, originally a complex of more than 100 buildings. The entire palace was burned down during the Japanese invasion in the late 1500s but it was reconstructed between 1865 and 1867. Kŭnjŏng-jŏn, the palace's throne hall, built in the decorative tap'o style, is the largest wooden building in Korea. Among temples, the main halls of Muwi Temple, Kaisim Temple, and Pongjong Temple belong to the early Chosŏn period, while the grand main hall of the Hua'ŏm Temple represents the later Chosŏn tap'o architecture. The only important Chosŏn pagoda is the marble pagoda (1467) in Seoul's Pagoda Park.

 Chosŏn painting up to the end of the 16th century was dominated by court painters attached to the Office of Painting. Their style followed that of Chinese professional court painters, the so-called Northern school of Chinese painting, and was thus variably influenced by the Kuo Hsi school of the Northern Sung, the Ma-Hsia school of the Southern Sung, and the Che school of Ming China. Famous painters of the period are An Kyŏn, Ch'oe Kyŏng, and Yi Sang-cha. An Kyŏn's best work, “Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land” (1447; Tenri University Collection, Japan [see photograph—>]), executed in the heroic style of the Northern Sung, is a horizontal scroll depicting fantastic mountains and streams dotted with peach blossoms.

      Yi Am, Shin Sa-im-dang, and Yi Chŏng are the better scholar-painters of the first period. Unlike the professional court painters, who made Chinese landscapes their specialty, these amateur scholar-painters devoted themselves to painting the so-called Four Gentlemen—the pine tree, bamboo, plum tree, and orchid—as well as such traditionally popular subjects as birds, insects, flowers, and animals.

      In the early 17th century the Southern school of China, exemplified by Mi Fu, Shen Chou, Wen Cheng-ming, and others, strongly influenced Korean painters, particularly the nonprofessional scholar-painter. Professional academic painters followed the academic court style of Ch'ing China, which was itself a sort of formalized Southern style. The “expressionistic” and individualistic Ch'ing style of the Eight Eccentrics of Yang-chou, however, did not find followers in Chosŏn Korea. Concurrent with the imitation of Chinese painting styles was a movement to achieve in approach and effect a truly Korean expression. The works of Cho Sok, noted for their thin wash of ink, displayed the melancholy of Chosŏn society. Chŏng Sŏn, a great Chosŏn master, disliked the imaginary Chinese-style landscapes and devoted himself instead to the real Korean landscape. His favourite theme was the rugged peaks of Mount Kumgang (Diamond Mountain) in central eastern Korea. To depict rocky cliffs and soaring forests, he devised his characteristic “wrinkles” of forceful vertical lines. The trend toward a national style, established by Chŏng Sŏn and others, was followed by Kim Hong-do, Shin Yun-bok, and Kim Tŭǐ-shin, who all painted national scenes of daily life in Korea with a realism that often bordered on caricature. Among these the greatest master was Kim Hong-do, better known under the name of Tanwŏn. He also painted many Korean landscapes and was the first Korean painter to draw his genre themes from the life of the lower classes. He seems also to have been the first Korean painter to try to depict human muscles.

      In the 19th century, Cho Chŏng-kyu, Hŏ Yu, Chang Sŭng-ŏp, and Cho Sŏǐ-chin were among the more active professional painters. Their paintings were mannered and exhibited an academic style lacking individuality. They painted many excellent portraits of Korean dignitaries in an indigenous style, but otherwise they returned to the old clichés of pseudo-Chinese painting. During this century the first influence of European art on the court painters may be seen in their use of shading techniques in painting portraits.

      The activities of a short-lived group of painters who followed the wen-jen hua (wenrenhua), or Chinese literati style of painting, should be seen against the general decline of the academic style of the 19th century. All of them were men of learning and genuine taste who grasped the spirit of such great Chinese masters of the Yüan period as Ni Tsan and Huang Kung-wang. The most distinguished members of this group were Kim Chŏng-hŭi, the great calligrapher, who painted little, and Chŏn Ki, who died young.

      During the Chosŏn period there was also a new emphasis on minhwa (folk painting), a type of painting whose patrons were mostly commoners. Such works were created by anonymous artisans who faithfully followed the norms and forms passed down through the ages. The paintings were regarded as a sort of charm that would protect the owner and his family from evils and bring good fortune to the household. Popular themes included the tiger (a mountain god), symbols of longevity (the crane, the deer, fungus, rocks, water, clouds, the Sun, the Moon, the pine tree, the tortoise), paired birds (marital love), insects and flowers (harmony between yin and yang), and bookshelves (learning and wisdom). The subjects are depicted in a completely flat, symbolic, or even abstract, style, and the colours are delightful. The result is truly unique both in content and technique.

      By the beginning of the Chosŏn period, the production of traditional religious sculpture had virtually died out because of the importance of Confucianism, the new state religion. The Buddhist images that were produced are mostly made of wood and are artistically undistinguished. At first Chosŏn sculpture followed the late Koryŏ style and early Ming sculpture of the late 14th and 15th centuries. A Chosŏn Buddha is characterized by a rounded late Unified-Silla-type head with a flat, emotionless face. The body is a simple, stolid mass covered with a loose, yet leatherlike, thick robe. Drapery folds are depicted in a formalized, schematic series of plaits.

      Secular sculpture included the series of stone statues of civil and military officers that were erected in front of the tombs of members of the royal family and other dignitaries. In size they range from one to more than two metres in height. Early Chosŏn stone figures suggested the roundness of the human body, but from about 1600 they become stiff, square columns with oversized heads featuring bulging eyes, large mouth, and high cheekbones.

      Although a wide variety of decorative arts flourished in the Chosŏn period, the making of pottery and porcelain was especially important. One of the most popular types of ceramic ware produced was called punch'ŏng, (punch'ŏng pottery) the Korean term for a type of pottery known in Japan as mishima. This is a simplified form of punjang ch'ŏngja, or slip-decorated celadon. The slip-decoration includes inlaid, incised, and stamped patterns filled with white clay, and also the overall application of a white coating under the celadon glaze. Incision and painting in underglaze iron also are applied at times over the white coating. The technique evolved (or degenerated) from Koryŏ inlaid celadon, which had become coarse and rough in its final stages. The early Chosŏn potters invented a new device to produce the inlay effect more quickly and easily. A wooden or clay stamp with tiny embossed dots was used to produce designs of closely spaced depressed dots over the entire surface of a vessel in a matter of minutes. White clay was then rubbed into the dots and the excess clay wiped off. There are, however, Chosŏn pieces done in the traditional inlay technique, and they can be instantly distinguished from late Koryŏ wares by their crude and unsophisticated designs (floral as well as animal) and the stained grayish green colour of their glaze.

      The predominant punch'ŏng shapes are small or medium-size wine bottles and tea and rice bowls. Many were produced under orders from government offices, but their mass production suggests that there may have been increasing demand from the general public. Punch'ŏng pottery was loved by Japanese masters of the tea ceremony. The Hideyoshi invasion put an end to the lingering Koryŏ inlaid celadon once and for all. The punch'ŏng stamping technique, however, is still used on the island of Okinawa, south of Japan.

      White porcelain, which may have been inspired by the Yüan and Ming blue-and-white porcelain ware of China, has remained as the most practical ware for ordinary Koreans. White porcelain wares of the pre-16th-century Chosŏn dynasty are covered with a milky-white devitrified glaze. They were produced at hundreds of central and local kilns, but the best pieces came from the Kwangju kilns south of Seoul during the 15th century. Besides being the most commonly used, white porcelain alone was permitted as ritual ware for Confucian rites and ancestor worship.

      Blue-and-white (blue-and-white ware) porcelain, inspired by early Ming models, appeared in Chosŏn Korea by the mid-15th century, and Chosŏn potters soon developed a distinct Korean or Chosŏn style of blue-and-white wares. Vessel forms are sturdy and simple; and the decoration, which is naive and refreshing, is kept to a minimum to emphasize the white background—a design tendency also observed on Chosŏn white porcelain with underglaze iron decoration. Chosŏn blue-and-white wares were produced by government-operated kilns in the Kwangju area near Seoul, mainly for palace and high government officials. In later years, vessels of low quality became accessible to commoners.

Modern period (art)
      The impact of modern Western art began to be felt during the last decades of the 19th century, when Korea was forced to enter into treaties with foreign governments. In 1900 a British architect, at the request of the Chosŏn government, designed the renaissance revival Tŏksu Palace in Seoul. The stone building, which later became the National Museum, was completed in 1909. With the construction of Western-style buildings in Seoul came the need for European furnishings. Glass was used in some doors in the palace and certain public buildings, and from 1900 electric lamps were installed. Just as the Koreans were beginning to familiarize themselves with such Western architectural concepts as spaciousness and convenience, the Japanese took over the government, bringing a new set of influences. During the 35-year period of the Japanese occupation (1910–45), some Koreans lived in strange, hybrid houses of Euro-Japanese style, but most clung to traditional Korean-style houses. Architects and carpenters capable of working in the traditional bracket system became so scarce that, after the liberation in 1945, the Korean government had to search out the few surviving older architects and set them to training younger ones, not so much to design new buildings in the traditional manner as to ensure that existing national cultural properties would be properly preserved.

      Traditional crafts similarly suffered during both the Japanese occupation and the Korean War (1950–53). Since then there has been a concerted effort in South Korea to ensure the survival of the traditional decorative arts (some artisans have been designated national treasures) and to promote the development of contemporary-style crafts.

      At the beginning of the Japanese occupation, traditional Korean painting was led by Cho Sŏk-chin (Cho Sok-chin) and An Chung-shik. Cho was the last court painter of the Chosŏn dynasty, and An the last gentleman painter. But their styles were similar in their pursuit of the enervated southern Chinese style of the Ch'ing period, with its emphasis on fingertip technique. In 1911 the former Korean Imperial family set up an academy of painting to foster the traditional style, and, though it dissolved in 1919, a number of important painters were trained. By the 1930s the pattern of Korean painting began to change under the impact of both Japanese and European influences. In 1922 the Japanese had inaugurated an annual exhibition for Korean artists, designed to promote a new academic style. The only modern facilities for studying painting, whether Asian or Western, were Japanese. Despite the resistance of traditionalists, the Japanese impact was irresistible. Prominent painters during this period were Kim Ŭn-ho, Yi Sang-bŏm, Ko Hŭi-dong, Pyŏn Kwan-shik, and No Su-hyŏn. After World War II traditional painting began to assume a modern mode of expression, as may be seen in the works of a group of radical painters such as Kim Ki-ch'ang, Pak Nae-hyŏn, and Pak No-su. All of these artists were highly trained in the traditional mediums of ink and watercolour painting. Their paintings reflect a bold sense of composition and colour and also have the quality of genuine abstract art.

      The introduction of the Western (oil painting) style via China in the 18th century had gone almost unnoticed. In 1899 the commissioning of a Dutch artist to paint the portraits of the king and the crown prince affronted the traditional court painters. When Ko Hŭi-dong returned from a period of study of oil painting in Japan, he was so ridiculed in public whenever he went out to sketch in oil that he finally gave up and returned to traditional painting. Nevertheless, several students followed his lead by going to Tokyo to study oil painting, and soon the new art became the dominant field of activity. Throughout the Japanese occupation, the main trend of Korean oil painting was the modest, representational school that had its roots in Impressionism. Among the outstanding painters in this style were Yi Chong-u, To Sang-bong, Kim In-sŭng, and Pak Tŭk-sun. This academic-style painting filled the government-sponsored annual art exhibitions in Seoul into the early 1960s. But then the efforts of a group of nonrepresentational painters including Kim Hwan-ki, Yu Yŏng-guk, and Kwon Ok-yŏn reversed the trend and persuaded the government to establish an independent section in the exhibition for abstract art. The number of students studying abroad increased, and the influence of international-style painting progressed rapidly. In the last decades of the 20th century all kinds of European and American styles were introduced to artists in South Korea and experimented with. By contrast, in North Korea, artists have been restricted to traditional, conservative styles with which to represent an extremely limited range of subjects for the express purpose of promoting political propaganda.

Won-Yong Kim

Japanese visual arts

General Characteristics
      The study of Japanese art (arts, East Asian) has frequently been complicated by the definitions and expectations established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Japan was opened to the West. The occasion of dramatically increased interaction with other cultures seemed to require a convenient summary of Japanese aesthetic principles, and Japanese art historians and archaeologists began to construct methodologies to categorize and assess a vast body of material ranging from Neolithic pottery to woodblock prints. Formulated in part from contemporary scholarly assessments and in part from the syntheses of enthusiastic generalists, these theories on the characteristics of Japanese culture and, more specifically, Japanese art, not unexpectedly bore the prejudices and tastes of the times. There was, for example, a tendency to cast the court art of the Heian period (794–1185) as the apex of Japanese artistic achievement. The aesthetic preference for refinement, for images subtly imbued with metaphoric meaning, reflected the sublimely nuanced court mores that permitted only oblique reference to emotion and valued suggestion over bold declaration. Existing in tandem with the canonization of the Heian court aesthetic was the notion that the aesthetic sensibilities surrounding the tea ceremony were quintessentially Japanese. This communal ritual, developed in the 16th century, emphasized the hyperconscious juxtaposition of found and finely crafted objects in an exercise intended to lead to subtle epiphanies of insight. It further highlighted the central role of indirection and understatement in the Japanese visual aesthetic.

      One of the most important proselytizers of Japanese culture in the West was Okakura Kakuzō (1862–1913). As curator of Japanese art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, he expounded the mysteries of Asian art and culture to appreciative Boston Brahmins. As the author of such works as The Ideals of the East (1903), The Awakening of Japan (1904), and The Book of Tea (1906), he reached an even wider audience eager to find an antidote to the clanging steel and belching smokestacks of Western modernity. Japan—and, writ large, Asia—was understood as a potential source of spiritual renewal for the West. There was an ironic counterpoint to Okakura's lessons when a thoroughly modern Japanese navy made mincemeat of the proud Russian fleet steaming through the Tsushima Strait in the climactic moment of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05). This surprisingly bellicose Japan was clearly more than tea and gossamer, and it seemed that perhaps an overly selective definition of Japanese arts and culture might have excluded useful hints of violence, passion, and deeply influential strains of heterodoxy.

      At the close of the 20th century, superficial impressions of Japan still foster a nagging schizophrenic image combining the polar characteristics of elegant refinement and economic prowess. The pitfalls of oversimplification have been noted above, however, and a century of scholarship, both Japanese and Western, has provided ample evidence of a heritage of visual expression that is as utterly complex and varied as the wider culture that produced it. Nevertheless, within the diversity discernible patterns and inclinations can be recognized and characterized as Japanese.

      Most Japanese art bears the mark of extensive interaction with or reaction to outside forces. Buddhism, which originated in India and developed throughout Asia, was the most persistent vehicle of influence. It provided Japan with an already well-established iconography and also offered perspectives on the relationship between the visual arts and spiritual development. Notable influxes of Buddhism from Korea occurred in the 6th and 7th centuries. The Chinese T'ang international style was the focal point of Japanese artistic development in the 8th century, while the iconographies of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism were highly influential from the 9th century. Major immigrations of Chinese Ch'an (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist monks in the 13th and 14th centuries and, to a lesser degree, in the 17th century placed indelible marks on Japanese visual culture. These periods of impact and assimilation brought not only religious iconography but also vast and largely undigested features of Chinese culture. Whole structures of cultural expression, ranging from a writing system to political structures, were presented to the Japanese.

      Various theories have thus been posited which describe the development of Japanese culture and, in particular, visual culture as a cyclical pattern of assimilation, adaptation, and reaction. The reactive feature is sometimes used to describe periods in which Japanese art's most obviously unique and indigenous characteristics flourish. For example, during the 10th and 11th centuries of the Heian period, when, for political reasons, extensive contact with China ceased, there was consolidation and extensive development of distinctive Japanese painting and writing styles. Similarly, the vast influence of Chinese Zen aesthetic that marked the culture of the Muromachi period (1338–1573)—typified by the taste for ink monochrome painting—was eclipsed at the dawn of the Edo period (1603–1867) by boldly colourful genre and decorative painting that celebrated the blossoming native culture of the newly united nation. The notion of cyclical assimilation and then assertion of independence requires extensive nuancing, however. It should be recognized that, while there were periods in which either continental or indigenous art forms were dominant, usually the two forms coexisted.

      Another pervasive characteristic of Japanese art is an understanding of the natural world as a source of spiritual insight and an instructive mirror of human emotion. An indigenous religious sensibility that long preceded Buddhism perceived that a spiritual realm was manifest in nature. Rock outcroppings, waterfalls, and gnarled old trees were viewed as the abodes of spirits and were understood as their personification. This belief system endowed much of nature with numinous qualities. It nurtured, in turn, a sense of proximity to and intimacy with the world of spirit as well as a trust in nature's general benevolence. The cycle of the seasons was deeply instructive and revealed, for example, that immutability and transcendent perfection were not natural norms. Everything was understood as subject to a cycle of birth, fruition, death, and decay. (Imported Buddhist notions of transience were thus merged with the indigenous tendency to seek instruction from nature.)

      Attentive proximity to nature developed and reinforced an aesthetic that generally avoided artifice. In the production of works of art, the natural qualities of constitutive materials were given special prominence and understood as integral to whatever total meaning a work professed. When, for example, Japanese Buddhist sculpture of the 9th century moved from the stucco or bronze T'ang models and turned for a time to natural, unpolychromed woods, already ancient iconographic forms were melded with a preexisting and multileveled respect for wood.

      Union with the natural was also an element of Japanese architecture. Architecture seemed to conform to nature. The symmetry of Chinese-style temple plans gave way to asymmetrical layouts that followed the specific contours of hilly and mountainous topography. The borders existing between structures and the natural world were deliberately obscure. Elements such as long verandas and multiple sliding panels offered constant vistas on nature—although the nature was often carefully arranged and fabricated rather than wild and real.

      The perfectly formed work of art or architecture, unweathered and pristine, was ultimately considered distant, cold, and even grotesque. This sensibility was also apparent in tendencies of Japanese religious iconography. The ordered hierarchical sacred cosmology of the Buddhist world generally inherited from China bore the features of China's earthly imperial court system. While some of those features were retained in Japanese adaptation, there was also a concurrent and irrepressible trend toward creating easily approachable deities. This usually meant the elevation of ancillary deities such as Jizō Bosatsu (Sanskrit: Kṣitigarbha bodhisattva) or Kannon (Avalokiteśvara) Bosatsu to levels of increased cult devotion. The inherent compassion of supreme deities was expressed through these figures and their iconography.

      The interaction of the spiritual and natural world was also delightfully expressed in the many narrative scroll paintings produced in the medieval period. Stories of temple foundings and biographies of sainted founders were replete with episodes describing both heavenly and demonic forces roaming the earth and interacting with the populace on a human scale. There was a marked tendency toward the comfortable domestication of the supernatural. The sharp distinction between good and evil was gently reduced, and otherworldly beings took on characteristics of human ambiguity that granted them a level of approachability, prosaically flawing the perfect of either extreme.

      Even more obviously decorative works such as the brightly polychromed overglaze enamels popular from the 17th century selected the preponderance of their surface imagery from the natural world. The repeated patterns found on surfaces of textiles, ceramics, and lacquerware are usually carefully worked abstractions of natural forms such as waves or pine needles. In many cases pattern, as a kind of hint or suggestion of molecular substructure, is preferred to carefully rendered realism.

      The everyday world of human endeavour has been carefully observed by Japanese artists. For example, the human figure in a multiplicity of mundane poses was memorably recorded by the print artist Hokusai (1760–1849). The quirky and humorous seldom eluded the view of the many anonymous creators of medieval hand scrolls or 17th-century genre screen paintings. Blood and gore, whether in battle or criminal mayhem, were vigorously recorded as undeniable aspects of the human. Similarly, the sensual and erotic were rendered in delightful and uncensorious ways. The reverence and curiosity about the natural extended from botany to every dimension of human activity.

      In summary, the range of Japanese visual art is extensive, and some elements seem truly antithetical. An illuminated sutra manuscript of the 12th century and a macabre scene of ritual disembowelment rendered by the 19th-century print artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi can be forced into a common aesthetic only in the most artificial way. The viewer is thus advised to expect a startling range of diversity. Yet within that diverse body of expression certain characteristic elements seem to be recurrent: art that is aggressively assimilative; a profound respect for nature as a model; a decided preference for delight over dogmatic assertion in the description of phenomena; a tendency to give compassion and human scale to religious iconography; (iconography) and an affection for materials as important vehicles of meaning.

Formative period
      The arrival of Buddhism and its attendant iconography in Japan in the mid-6th century AD serves as a dramatic dividing line in the consideration of the history of Japanese visual expression. With the advent of Buddhism, a vast array of already matured iconography and artistic technique was assimilated with comparative speed. This moment determined the course of the development of Japanese art.

      What preceded the introduction of Buddhism is a matter of complex and constantly revised archaeological record. Pre- and protohistoric sites have been noted and chronicled in Japan as early as the 8th century AD, but the evidence was usually interpreted according to prevailing mythologies and narratives of national origin. It was not until the Tokugawa, or Edo, period (1603–1867) that occasional attempts were made to provide systematic surveys and detailed drawings of archaeological sites. The new interest in collecting and categorizing data was due, in part, to the influence of neo-Confucian thought and to the introduction, primarily through contacts with the Dutch, of European methodology. For the most part, however, Edo, like preceding periods, was indisposed to the relative objectivity required to interpret archaeological findings. Indeed, an important intellectual trend of the period, Kokugaku (“national learning”), was essentially a nativist movement committed to interpreting phenomena so as to underscore Japan's unique origins. Nevertheless, a few Japanese scholars began to allude to the possible incompatibility of the emerging archaeological record with “official” histories.

      From 1877 to 1879 the American zoologist Edward Sylvester Morse (1838–1925) undertook research in Japan. His discovery of pottery in a shell mound, really a prehistoric refuse heap, on the coast at Ōmori in southwestern Tokyo, served as an important catalyst in directing the attention of young Japanese scholars to the methodical investigation of Japan's prehistoric sites. Concurrently, Japanese universities began to introduce these studies into their curricula. It was not until the second decade of the 20th century, however, that Japanese archaeologists achieved a consensus on the need for the application of a rigorous and disciplined archaeological method. Essential to this process were carefully recorded stratigraphic excavations.

      The terminology and chronology used in describing pre- and protohistoric Japan is generally agreed to be that of a Paleolithic, or Pre-Ceramic, stage dating from approximately 30,000 BC (although some posit an initial date as early as 200,000 BC); the Jōmon period (c. 10,500 BC–3rd century BC), variously subdivided; the Yayoi period (3rd century BC–3rd century AD); and the Tumulus, or Kofun, period (3rd century AD–AD 710).

Paleolithic stage (Paleolithic Period)
      Until about 18,000 years ago, what is now known as the Japanese archipelago was connected to the East Asian landmass at several points. Similarly, the now divided islands were also joined at some points. In the south the Ōsumi Islands off Kagoshima were joined to the Ryukyu Islands; Korea and Japan, now separated at Tsushima Strait, were connected; the northern island of Hokkaido was connected to Siberia at Sakhalin; and Hokkaido was joined to northern Honshu, the main island of the archipelago. These land passages account for the discovery of the remains of both prehistoric animals and microlithic cultures (but no pottery) of types usually associated with the continent. Continued warming trends, beginning about 20,000 years ago, eventually raised sea levels, thus cutting off all but the northern passage from Siberia, which had originally been too cold for but was now more hospitable to human access.

      The earliest human populations on the archipelago had subsisted on hunting and foraging, but with the warming trends the bounty of large, easy-to-fell animals began to die out while the variety and density of plant life rose dramatically. The increase in the number of sites discovered dating from 15,000 to 18,000 years ago suggests that once-roaming bands of hunter-gatherers were becoming gradually more sedentary and less dependent on foraging. As further evidence, the remains of charred cooking stones, indicating prolonged periods of use, have been discovered, and manufactured projectile points, including worked obsidian, dating from this period provide evidence of the people's adaptive skill in bringing down smaller, swifter game.

      Approximately 12,000 to 10,000 years ago, the definitive conditions for what is termed a Mesolithic stage became apparent: a hunting culture employed microliths (small worked stones used, for example, in arrows) and, in addition, manufactured pottery. Just as the use of microlith weapons increased as a result of a decline in the numbers of big game, the manufacture of pottery was probably necessitated by a food supply crisis that required a means of storage and, perhaps, a method for boiling or otherwise cooking plants.

Jōmon period (Jōmon culture)
      Beginning in 1960, excavations of stratified layers in the Fukui Cave, Nagasaki prefecture in northwestern Kyushu, yielded shards of dirt-brown pottery with applied and incised or impressed decorative elements in linear relief and parallel ridges. The pottery was low-fired, and reassembled pieces are generally minimally decorated and have a small round-bottomed shape. Radiocarbon dating places the Fukui find to approximately 10,500 BC, and the Fukui shards are generally thought to mark the beginning of the Jōmon period. This early transitional period seems to lack convincing evidence of plant cultivation which would, along with microlith and pottery production, allow it to meet the criteria for a Neolithic culture.

      The name Jōmon is a translation for “cord marks,” the term Morse used in his book Shell Mounds of Omori (1879) to describe the distinctive decoration on the prehistoric pottery shards he found. Other names, such as “Ainu school pottery” and “shell mound pottery,” were also applied to pottery from this period, but, after some decades, although cord marks are not the defining decorative scheme of the type, the term jōmon was generally accepted. The earliest stage of the period, to which the Fukui shards belong, has been given various names, including Incipient Jōmon and Subearliest Jōmon. Some scholars even call it Pre-Jōmon and argue that life during this stage showed only a slight advance from that of the Paleolithic. In 1937 Yamanouchi Sugao suggested the subdivisions Earliest, Early, Middle, Late, and Latest Jōmon for the remainder of the period. With refinements in chronology and the addition of some subsets, this terminology remains in use.

      Site evidence and stratigraphic indications of climate and topological change have been used to construct general theories about the life of the populations existing from the Paleolithic through Jōmon periods. The profile which emerges is that of inhabitants gradually isolated on an island chain with a generally temperate climate and abundant food sources. Changes in temperature accounted for population movements to and from mountains and coastal areas, with attendant dietary changes and adaptation to the preparation and storage of food.

      The period called Earliest, or Initial, Jōmon (c. 7500–5000 BC) produced bullet-shaped pots used for cooking or boiling food. The tapered bases of the pots were designed to stabilize the vessels in soft soil and ash at the centre of a fire pit. Decorative schemes included markings made by pressing shells and cords or by rolling a carved stick into the clay before it hardened. The shapes and worked surface textures of these early vessels suggest their probable precursors—leather, bark, or woven reed containers reinforced with clay. The Hanawadai site in Ibaraki prefecture constitutes the first recognized Earliest Jōmon community.

      Early Jōmon (5000–3500 BC) sites suggest a pattern of increased stabilization of communities, the formation of small settlements, and the astute use of abundant natural resources. A general climatic warming trend encouraged habitation in the mountain areas of central Honshu as well as coastal areas. Remains of pit houses have been found arranged in horseshoe formations at various Early Jōmon sites. Each house consisted of a shallow pit with a tamped earthen floor and a grass roof designed so that rainwater runoff could be collected in storage jars.

      Early Jōmon vessels generally continued the fundamental profile of a cone shape, narrow at the foot and gradually widening to the rim or mouth, but most had flat bottoms, a feature found only occasionally in the Earliest Jōmon period. The characteristic markings were impressed on damp clay with a twisted cord or cord-wrapped stick to produce a multiplicity of patterns. Other techniques, including shell impressions, were also used. In addition to the flared-mouth jars, shallow bowls and narrow-necked bottles were also introduced. The discovery of increasing varieties of flat-bottomed vessels appropriate for cooking, serving, and providing storage on flat earthen floors correlates with the evidence of the gradual formation of pit-house villages.

      While pottery was the main form of visual expression in the Early Jōmon period, wood carving and lacquering are among the other significant forms of expression, suggesting the development of a more complex culture. Ropes, reed baskets, and wooden objects have been found at the Torihama mound site in Fukui prefecture. The oldest known examples of Japanese lacquerware—bowls and a comb—are also from this site.

      The Middle Jōmon period (3500–2500 BC) witnessed a dramatic increase both in population and in the number of settlements. Signs of incipient agriculture can be detected in this period, but this may have involved settling near wild plants and storing them effectively. Vessels began to take on heavy decorative schemes employing applied clay. The use of vessels for purposes beyond cooking and storage is also noted. Clay lamps, drum shells, and figurines strongly suggest an expanding use of the medium for religious symbolic expression. Fertility images of clay female figurines with exaggerated breasts and hips and of stone phalli have been located on stone platforms placed on the northwest side of dwellings. These platforms may represent early household altars. There is evidence that ritual relocation or removal from a site because of death or other polluting factors was occasionally practiced. During this period jars were used for burial and were characteristically damaged so as to prohibit any other type of use.

      Three distinct vessel styles were produced during the Middle Jōmon. The Katsusaka type, produced by mountain dwellers, has a burnt-reddish surface and is noted especially for extensive and flamboyant applied decorative schemes, some of which may have been related to a snake cult. The Otamadai type, produced by lowland peoples, was coloured dirt-brown with a mica additive and is somewhat more restrained in design. The Kasori E type has a salmon-orange surface. During this period a red ocher paint was introduced on some vessel surfaces, as was burnishing, perhaps in an attempt to reduce the porosity of the vessels.

      In the Late Jōmon (2500–1000 BC) colder temperatures and increased rainfall forced migration from the central mountains to the eastern coastal areas of Honshu. There is evidence of even greater interest in ritual (ceremonial object), probably because of the extensive decrease in population. From this time are found numerous ritual sites consisting of long stones laid out radially to form concentric circles. These stone circles, located at a distance from habitations, may have been related to burial or other ceremonies. Previously disparate tribes began to exhibit a greater cultural uniformity. Artifacts discovered in diverse coastal areas show a uniform vocabulary of expression and a consistent decorative system, suggesting more sophisticated methods of manufacturing, such as controlled firing of pottery, and increased specialization. The technique of erased cord marking, in which areas around applied cord marks were smoothed out, was increasingly used. This relates to a more general practice or interest in polished pottery surfaces. A unique black polished pottery type called Goryo has been found in central Kyushu. Some scholars suggest that this may in some way be imitative of Chinese black Lung-shan pottery (c. 2200–1700 BC).

      Evidence from the Latest, or Final, Jōmon (c. 1000–3rd century BC) suggests that inhospitable forces, whether contagious disease or climate, were at work. There was a considerable decrease in population and a regional fragmentation of cultural expression. Particularly noteworthy was the formation of quite distinct cultures in the north and south. The discovery of numerous small ritual implements, including pottery, suggests that the cultures developing in the north were rigidly structured and evinced considerable interest in ritual.

      More than 50 percent of the Latest Jōmon sites are in northern Honshu, where significant quantities of polished or burnished pottery and lacquerware (lacquerwork) have been found. In fact, it is from this time that lacquer working—used for both decorative and waterproofing purposes—begins to emerge as a distinct craft. In general, the northern distinction between utilitarian and ritual ware became more pronounced, and the ritual ware became more elaborately conceived. The latter phenomenon is clearly illustrated by the unusual clay figurines with enormous goggle eyes that are characteristic of the Latest Jōmon.

      In the south mobility and informality were the emerging characteristics of social organization and artistic expression. In distinction to the northern culture, the south seemed more affected by outside influences. Indeed, the incursions of continental culture would, in a few centuries, be based in the Kyushu area.

Yayoi period (Yayoi culture)
      In 1884 a shell mound site in the Yayoi district of Tokyo yielded pottery finds that were initially thought to be variants of Jōmon types but were later linked to similar discoveries in Kyushu and Honshu. Scholars gradually concluded that the pottery exhibited some continental influences but was the product of a distinct culture, which has been given the name Yayoi.

      Both archaeological and written evidence point to increasing interaction between the mainland and the various polities on the Japanese archipelago at this time. Indeed, the chronology of the Yayoi period (3rd century BC–3rd century AD) roughly corresponds with the florescence of the aggressively internationalized Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220). Chinese emissarial records from that period include informative observations about customs and the sociopolitical structure of the Japanese population. The Chinese noted that there were more than 100 distinct “kingdoms” in Japan and that they were economically interdependent but also contentious. Other records suggest that the inhabitants of the archipelago traveled to the Korean peninsula in search of iron.

      The Yayoi culture thus marked a period of rapid differentiation from the preceding Jōmon culture. Jōmon, a hunting-and-gathering culture with possibly nascent forms of agriculture, experienced changes and transitions primarily in reaction to climatic and other natural stimulants. Yayoi, however, was greatly influenced by knowledge and techniques imported from China and Korea (arts, East Asian). The impact of continental cultures is decidedly clear in western Japan from about 400 BC, when primitive wet-rice cultivation techniques were introduced. Attendant to the emerging culture based on sedentary agriculture was the introduction of a significant architectural form, the raised thatched-roof granary. Bronze (bronze work) and iron implements and processes of metallurgy were also introduced and quickly assimilated, as the Yayoi people both copied and adapted types and styles already produced in China and Korea. Thus, while the decorative instincts of the Jōmon culture were limited primarily to the manipulation of clay, a variety of malleable materials, including bronze, iron, and glass, were increasingly available to artisans of the Yayoi period. The introduction of these various technologies, the development of a stable agricultural society, and the growth of a complex social hierarchy that characterized the period became the springboards for various forms of creative expression and provided increasing opportunities for the development of artistic forms.

      The Yayoi period is most often defined artistically by its dramatic shift in pottery style. The new type of pottery, reflecting continental styles, was made first in western Japan. It then moved eastward and became assimilated with existing Jōmon styles. Jōmon pottery was earthenware formed from readily available sedimentary clay and was generally stiff. Yayoi pottery was formed from a fine-grained clay of considerable plasticity found in the delta areas associated with rice cultivation. It was smooth, reddish orange in colour, thinly potted, symmetrical, and minimally decorated. The simpler, more reserved styles and forms emulated Chinese earthenware. It was also at this time that pottery began to be produced in sets, including pieces made for the storing, cooking, and serving of food.

      In addition to the characteristic pottery that gave its site name to the period, the production of metal (metalwork) objects, particularly the dōtaku bells, represents a significant artistic manifestation of the Yayoi period. The dōtaku were cast in bronze and imitative of a Chinese musical instrument. Visual records from the Chinese Warring States period (475–221 BC) indicate that bells in various and progressively larger sizes were suspended from a horizontal beam or pole. These were struck to produce a scale of tones. More than 400 indigenously produced dōtaku have been discovered in Japan. These bells range from 4 to 50 inches in height. Their quality suggests a rather advanced state of technical acumen. Figural and decorative relief bands on these bells offer some, albeit highly interpretive, insights into Yayoi culture and suggest that shamanism was the dominant religious modality. The dōtaku appear not to have been used as musical instruments in Japan. Instead, like the bronze mirrors (mirror) and other distinguished and precious implements transferred and adapted from Chinese and Korean forms, the dōtaku took on talismanic significance, and their possession implied social and religious power.

      About AD 300 there appeared new and distinctive funerary customs whose most characteristic feature was chambered mound tombs (tomb). These tumuli, or kofun (“old mounds”), witnessed significant variations over the following 400 years but consistently dominated the period to which they gave their name. Some authorities have suggested that the development of these tombs was a natural evolution from a Yayoi-period custom of burial on high ground overlooking crop-producing fields. While partially convincing, this theory alone does not account for the sudden florescence of mound tombs, nor does it address the fact that some aspects of the tombs are clearly adaptations of a form preexisting on the Korean peninsula. Indeed, implements and artifacts discovered within these tombs suggest a strong link to peninsular culture.

      Changes in tomb structure, as well as the quantity, quality, and type of grave goods discovered, offer considerable insight into the evolution of Japan's sociopolitical development from a group of interdependent agricultural communities to the unified state of the early 8th century. Of course, the material culture of the Kofun period extended far beyond the production of funerary art. For example, it is in this time that an essential form of Japanese expression, the Chinese writing system, made its appearance on the archipelago—a fact known from such evidence as inscribed metal implements. This system had a profound and comparatively quick influence not only on written language but also on the development of painting in Japan. Nevertheless, tombs are the repositories of the period's greatest visual achievements and are excellent indicators of more general cultural patterns at work. And, in that wider context, three distinct shifts in tomb style can be discerned that define the chronology of the period: Early Kofun of the 4th century, Middle Kofun covering the 5th and early 6th centuries, and Late Kofun, which lasted until the beginning of the 8th century and during which tomb burials were gradually replaced by Buddhist cremation ceremonies. The Late Kofun roughly coincides with the periods known to art historians as the Asuka (Asuka period) (mid-6th century–645) and the Hakuhō (645–710).

      Tombs of the Early Kofun period made use of and customized existing and compatible topography. When viewed from above, the tomb silhouette was either a rough circle or, more characteristically, an upper circle combined with a lower triangular form, suggesting the shape of an old-fashioned keyhole. The tombs contained a space for a wooden coffin and grave goods. This area was accessed through a vertical shaft near the top of the mound and was sealed off after burial was completed. The deceased were buried with materials that were either actual or symbolic indicators of social status. The grave goods were intended, as well, to sustain the spirit in its journey in the afterlife. They included bronze mirrors (mirror), items of jewelry made from jade and jasper, ceramic vessels, and iron weapons. Adorning the summit of the mound and at points on the circumference midway, at the base, and at the entrance to the tomb were variously articulated clay cylinder forms known as haniwa (“clay circle”).

      Haniwa were an unglazed, low-fired, reddish, porous earthenware (stoneware) made of the same material as a type of daily-use pottery called haji (haji ware) ware. These clay creations were shaped from coils or slabs and took the form of human figures, animals, and houses. The latter shape was usually set at the peak of the burial hillock. Many attempts have been made to interpret the function of haniwa. They seem to have served both as protective figures and as some type of support for the deceased in the afterlife. There is some suggestion that, similar to tomb figurines found in other cultures, they symbolized a retinue of living servants who might otherwise have been sacrificed upon the demise of their master. They are regionally distinctive and show a stylistic development from the decidedly schematic to realistic.

      Another type of ceramic prominent in the Kofun period was sue ware. Distinct from haji ware, it was high-fired and in its finished form had a gray cast. Occasionally, accidental ash glazing is found on the surface. Until the 7th century, sue ware was a product reserved for the elite, who used it both for daily ware and on ceremonial occasions. Sue ware was more closely identified with Korean ceramic technology and was the precursor for a variety of medieval Japanese ceramic types. Interestingly, both haji and sue ware found roles in funerary art.

      After the 4th century, tomb builders abandoned naturally sympathetic topography and located mounds in clusters on flat land. There are differences in mound size, even within the clusters, suggesting levels of social status. The scale of these tombs, together with construction techniques, changed considerably. The tomb generally assumed to be that of the late 4th-century emperor Nintoku, located near the present-day city of Ōsaka, measures nearly 1,600 feet in length and covers 80 acres (32 hectares). It is alternately surrounded by three moats and two greenbelts. Approximately 20,000 haniwa were thought to have been placed on the surface of this huge burial mound.

      In the later part of the 5th century, the vertical shaft used to access the early pit tomb was replaced by the Korean-style horizontal corridor leading to a tomb chamber. This made multiple use of the tomb easier, and the notion of a family tomb came into existence. Also notable from the 5th century is the archaeological evidence of horse trappings and military hardware in tombs. Haniwa representing warriors and stylized military shields are also prominent. Contemporaneous Chinese records refer to the Five Kings of Wo (Japanese: Wa) to describe the rulers of Japan in this period, and Chinese and Korean documentation refers to Japanese invasions of the Korean peninsula in the late 4th and early 5th centuries. There is evidence that multiple Japanese diplomatic missions to China in the 5th century requested from the Chinese rulers suzerainty over portions of the southern Korean peninsula. These diplomatic and military forays combine with the grave goods of the period to suggest a strong military cast to 5th- and 6th-century culture. However, in time these accoutrements of war and symbols of physical power are found in ancillary tombs rather than in the grave sites of known leaders. This suggests a gradual consolidation of power and the formation of a specialized military service within the kingdoms.

      Japan's close relationship with Korean and Chinese cultures during the Kofun period effected an influx of peninsular craftsmen. This is reflected in the production of sue ware mentioned above and in the high quality of metalwork achieved. Mirrors (mirror) are a particularly fine example of the development of metal craft. The typical East Asian mirror of the time is a metal disk brought to a high reflective finish on one side and elaborately decorated on the reverse. Such mirrors did not originate in Japan but seem to have been made and used there for religious and political purposes. The dominant Japanese creation myth describes the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, being coaxed from hiding by seeing her reflection in a mirror. This may well have imparted a magico-religious quality to mirrors and caused them to be understood as authority symbols. Of particular note is the so-called chokkomon decorative scheme found on some of these mirrors and on other Early Kofun metalwork. Chokkomon means “patterns of straight line and arcs,” and the motif has also been found chiseled on a wall in a Late Kofun tomb at the Idera tomb in Kyushu. It has been suggested that the abstract interweaving pattern may symbolize rope binding the dead to the tomb, an aspect of Chinese cosmology of the Han dynasty.

      Late Kofun tombs (tomb) are characterized by schemes of wall decoration within the burial chambers. Two especially important tombs have been excavated in the area just to the south of present-day Nara. The Takamatsu tomb (1972) and the Fujinoki tomb (1985) suggest high levels of artistic achievement and a sophisticated assimilation of continental culture. The Takamatsu tomb is noted for its wall paintings containing a design scheme representing a total Chinese cosmology. Included are especially fine female figure paintings. At Fujinoki exquisite and elaborate metalwork, including openwork gold crowns, a gilt bronze saddle bow, and gilt bronze shoes, was discovered. Design motifs show evidence of Chinese, Central Asian, and Indian sources.

      Thus, the Kofun period reveals both a consolidation of political power and the growth of requisite artistic skill appropriate to the celebration of an emerging and unified culture. The technical and artistic foundations were effectively laid for the reception of the demandingly complex artistic requirements of Buddhism.

      The Asuka period was a time of transformation for Japanese society. It is named for the Asuka area at the southern end of the Nara (Yamato) Basin (a few miles to the south of the present-day city of Nara), which was the political and cultural centre of the country at the time. From there, the imperial court—which claimed lineage from the Sun Goddess—ruled over a loose confederation of rival clans, the most powerful of which were the Soga, Mononobe, and Nakatomi. Each of the clans was tied to the imperial line by providing wives for the emperors. They also provided increasingly specialized hereditary services to the court; for example, the Mononobe were warriors, the Soga tax administrators, and the Nakatomi masters of religious ritual.

      Japan's interest in and contacts with continental cultures continued to increase in the Asuka. A wide range of political and cultural relations with the Korean kingdoms of Koguryŏ, Silla, and, in particular, Paekche provided an opportunity for comparatively systematic assimilation of vast amounts of Korean culture, Chinese culture read through a Korean prism, and the religious beliefs of Buddhism. The Japanese attempted to maintain a presence on the Korean peninsula through ties with the tribal league of Kaya (Japanese: Mimana). They were also allied with Paekche in fending off attempts by Silla to absorb Kaya and to advance on Paekche. More than a century of maneuvering ended with the defeat of the Japanese fleet by Silla in 663. Nevertheless, it was within that period of intensive relations with Paekche that critical foundations were constructed for a radical shift in the direction of Japanese visual arts.

      The most significant change, of course, was the introduction of Buddhism. Historians debate the actual date of the arrival of Buddhist texts, implements of worship, and iconography in Japan, but according to tradition a Paekche delegation to the emperor Kimmei in 538 or 552 made the presentation of certain religious articles. Given the extent of contact with Korea, however, various “unofficial” introductions of Buddhism had probably already occurred.

      It was during this period, as well, that contention among the leading Japanese clans increased. The Soga clan was an enthusiastic recipient of the benefits of the Korean alliance. Some scholars suggest that the Soga were arrivals from Korea not many generations previous who, lacking the ancestral connections of other clans, parlayed the Korean connection, a relationship with a more complex and sophisticated society, to achieve eventual control in Japan. The Soga clan, led by Soga Umako, clearly appreciated the Chinese and Korean forms of centralized government and the integration of Buddhism as a state religion. The Mononobe and, in particular, the Nakatomi resisted and were rigorous persecutors of Buddhism. They were defeated militarily by the Soga in 587, and in 593 Prince Shōtoku (Shōtoku, Taishi) (574–622), who was related to the Soga clan, became regent to Umako's niece the empress Suiko and consolidated the Buddhist position. Prince Shōtoku, aided by Korean scholars, was a dedicated student of Korean culture, Confucianism, and Buddhism. He not only established Buddhism as the state religion but also promulgated civil codes based on Confucian principles. His leadership provided the important first step in an integration of civil and religious foundations of the state. Although abuse of power precipitated the Soga clan's eclipse in the 640s, enthusiasm for Buddhism was unabated.

      Buddhism was already a thousand years old when it arrived in Japan. It had transformed and been transformed by the iconography and artistic styles of the various cultures along its path of expansion from India. The central message of Gautama Buddha (6th–5th centuries BC) had also experienced multiple interpretations, as evidenced by the numerous sectarian divisions in Buddhism. The artistic forms necessary to provide the proper environment for the practice of the religion were well defined, however—calligraphy, painting, sculpture, liturgical implements, and temple architecture—and these were the means by which nearly all continental modes of Buddhism were absorbed and adapted by the Japanese culture.

      During this period of intensive peninsular contact, Korean artisans skilled in metalwork, sculpture, painting, ceramics, and other fields necessary to the production of Buddhist iconography immigrated to or were brought to Japan in large numbers. While the practice of most of the above-mentioned forms was the purview of professionals, the calligraphic rendering of the written word was a skill available to the educated elite of the period. Thus, in the Asuka period the foundations of both individualized and public forms of visual expression were secured.

      Buddhism was established in Japan as a site-oriented faith. Temples (temple) with designs initially based on continental models became centres of worship. In contrast to the importance of funerary art in the Kofun period, the artistic expression of the Asuka period was developed within the matrix of public and privately commissioned temples. By the close of the Asuka period in the mid-7th century, nearly all vestiges of tomb burial customs were actually outlawed as the new faith made extensive inroads.

      The most important temple complexes of the period are the Shitennō Temple at Ōsaka, the Wakakusa Temple near Nara (both constructed by Prince Shōtoku), and the Asuka Temple at Asuka (built under the direction of Soga Umako). All three are known only through archaeological remains, although Wakakusa, Shōtoku's private temple, which was destroyed by fire in 670, was reincarnated as the Hōryū Temple (see Hakuhō period). These temple complexes replicated forms popular in Paekche and Koguryŏ. They were walled compounds in which stood a second rectangular compound bordered by a continuous roofed corridor. This second enclosure was entered through a central gate on its south side and contained a variety of internal structures, such as a pagoda (a form derived from the Indian stupa that served the dual functions of cosmological diagram and reliquary of important personages) and a Golden Hall (kondō), both used for worship. Support buildings, such as lecture halls, a belfry, and living quarters, lay outside and to the north of the inner cloister. True to the continental style, the buildings and gates were sited along a south-north axis and were symmetrical in layout. It was within the various buildings, particularly the kondō, that sculptures representing various figures in the Buddhist pantheon were placed.

      Roof tiles, stone, and cryptomeria wood were the essential building materials, all indigenous or locally produced. Structures relied on the placement of vertical wood pillars secured on finished stone bases. Horizontal elements were added in varying degrees of complexity, and structural balance was based on the essential pillar concept.

      While the structures of these temples did not survive, certain important sculptures did, and these images are generally associated with the name of Kuratsukuri Tori (also known as Tori Busshi). Tori—like his grandfather, who had emigrated from China, and his father, an ardent Buddhist—belonged to the saddlemakers' guild. Excellence in this trade required mastery of the component media of lacquer, leather, wood, and metal, each of which was, in various ways, also used in the production of sculpture.

      A large, seated, gilt-bronze image of Shaka (the Japanese name for Śākyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha) survives from the Asuka Temple and is dated to 606. Also extant is the gilt-bronze Shaka Triad of Hōryū Temple, which is dated by inscription to 623. The Asuka Buddha, heavily restored, is attributed to Tori based on the stylistic similarity of its undisturbed head to the renderings found in the Shaka Triad, which is confidently assigned to the master sculptor's hand. A more controversial work is a gilt bronze Yakushi (Bhaiṣajyaguru (Bhaiṣajya-guru), the healing Buddha), which carries an inscription of 607. It is very close to the style of Tori (Tori style), but many date the work to the latter part of the century. The Triad and the Yakushi are now housed in Hōryū Temple. An inscribed dedication found on the halo of the central figure of the Triad suggests that the ensemble was dedicated to the recently deceased Shōtoku and his consort. A stylistically related work is the wooden statue of the bodhisattva Kuze Kannon (Avalokiteśvara) in the Yumedono (“Hall of Dreams”) of the Hōryū Temple. The Tori style seen in these works reveals an interpretive dependence on Chinese Buddhist sculpture of the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534/535), such as that found in the cave sites at Lung-men. Symmetry, a highly stylized linear treatment of draped garments, and a reserved and gentle facial expression with a characteristic archaic smile are the prominent distinguishing features of this sculpture. The Japanese interpretations in bronze and wood advance the frontally focused Chinese relief sculptures by beginning to suggest more fully rounded figures.

      Buddhist temples were decorated not only with sculpture but also with religious paintings, tapestries, and other objects. Most such works from the Asuka period have not survived. An exception is the Tamamushi Shrine, which consists of a miniature kondō affixed to a rectangular pedestal or base. This assemblage of wood, metal, and lacquer provides an excellent view of what a kondō of the period may have looked like and, perhaps more important, is decorated with the only known painting from the Asuka period. The painting program on the miniature kondō seems to depict, through images on various panels and doors, the deities normally found in sculptural form within the hall. Paintings on the panels of the base show aspects of Buddhist cosmology and scenes from jataka tales, those narratives that tell of exemplary incidents in the previous incarnations of the Buddha. Perhaps best known is the jataka of the Hungry Tigress, in which the Buddha prior to enlightenment chances upon a tigress and her cubs starving in a desolate ravine and offers his own body to them. The painting depicts a sequential narrative in one panel, showing the saint removing his robe, leaping from a cliff, and being eaten by the tigers. The painting style suggests an Indian prototype vastly influenced by the fluid linearity of Chinese Wei styles.

Hakuhō period
      In the early 640s the Soga clan was afflicted with bloody internal intrigue, which offered its rivals the opportunity to usurp power. In 645 Prince Nakono Ōe (later the emperor Tenji) and Nakatomi Kamatari (later Fujiwara Kamatari) led a successful coup and promulgated the Taika reforms, a series of edicts that significantly strengthened the control of the central government. Through successive regimes, some violently introduced, the structuring of a highly centralized government continued through the second half of the 7th century. A major feature of the centralization process was the incorporation and use of Buddhism as an instrument of unification. The period was thus noted for a rapid expansion of Buddhism as aristocrats competed in the construction of temples. Increasing funds were allotted for the expansion of Buddhist temples and acquisition of the attendant iconography required for the expression of the faith.

      The seat of government moved several times after the coup, but in 694 the court returned to the Asuka area and a plan to construct a permanent capital at Fujiwara was implemented. The capital was eventually moved again in 710 to Nara.

      Art historians have given the name Hakuhō to the period beginning with the Taika reforms and ending with the imperial move to Nara. As noted, it overlaps with the Late Kofun period and is also sometimes referred to as the Late Asuka or Early Nara period.

      Four major temples, Asuka, Kawara, Kaikankai, and Yakushi, were already within the area of the planned capital site at Fujiwara. Of the four, only Yakushi Temple (Yakushi-ji) has survived, although not at Fujiwara but as an exact replica in Nara, constructed after the move of the capital in 710.

      As an imperially commissioned temple, completed about 697, Yakushi had been very prominent at Fujiwara, and the relocated Yakushi Temple assumed equal importance when it was rebuilt at its new site (c. 730). Most recent evidence suggests that the Nara version of the temple was precisely faithful to the Fujiwara original and thus can be considered an example of late Hakuhō period temple design. Notable in its layout is the new prominence given to the kondō as a major structure; it is located in the centre of the compound flanked by two pagodas, which are afforded lesser importance than in earlier temple layouts. The kondō faced a large courtyard, and when its large central doors were opened, the assembled faithful were treated to an impressive view of the sacred images it housed. A unique feature of the Yakushi architecture is the use of the double-roof structure, in which a mokoshi, or roofed porch, was placed between two major stories.

 Despite Yakushi Temple's importance, Hōryū Temple, formerly Wakakusa, Prince Shōtoku's private temple, which was reconstructed about 680, remains the most significant extant repository of Asuka and Hakuhō art. By employing an asymmetrical layout, Hōryū differs dramatically from the axial-line layout of the major temples of the first half of the century. The gently tapering five-story pagoda and the wider, squatter kondō at Hōryū are placed adjacent to one another in the centre of the compound, their greatly varying sizes visually accommodated by an entry gate that is placed slightly off the central axis. This diversion from Chinese notions of balance became characteristic in many features of Japanese aesthetics.

      With the exception of the Shaka Triad dedicated in 623 (see Asuka period), sculpture at Hōryū Temple was created in a period from approximately 650 until 711. Sculpture created from the middle of the century begins to reflect the influence of the Chinese Northern Ch'i dynasty (550–577) styles. The highly linear features of Northern Wei sculpture are supplanted by works that have emerged from their origin in relief wall sculpture and stand in the round as stolid, columnar figures with slight attenuation at the waist. Noteworthy of this new style are the four guardian figures who stand sentry over the quadrants surrounding the Shaka Triad and the more delicate Kudara Kannon held in the Hōryū Temple treasure house. The drapery at the feet of these statues flares forward rather than to the sides as in earlier works, allowing for a heightened sense of volume. The sculptures are executed in indigenous wood with some traces of gold and polychromy still remaining.

      At Chūgū Temple, near Hōryū and once the residence of Prince Shōtoku's mother, a wood-sculpted image of Miroku Bosatsu ( Maitreya) embodies many of the characteristic features of the Hakuhō period. The delicately meditative figure sits with one leg pendant, its foot supported on a lotus, and the other leg crossed. The rounded cheeks, arching eyebrows, slight disproportionate swelling of the upper torso, and soft modeling suggest innocent, almost childlike features.

      Other sculptural works from the second half of the 7th century show increased mastery of a wide variety of materials, including clay, and adaptive uses of lacquer. At Hōryū Temple a group of sculptures constructed of clay over wood and metal structures is arrayed in four distinct tableaux on the first level of the pagoda. Completed in 711, they are technically works falling into the Nara period. However, their virtuosity suggests that the techniques employed had been mastered in the final years of the 7th century. The heightened sense of realism, the more expressive faces, and the more rounded, three-dimensional forms, particularly as seen in the north-side tableau of the death of Shaka, suggest an assimilation of Chinese T'ang dynasty (Tang dynasty) (618–907) style.

      The cast-bronze statues in the Yakushi Temple are among the finest examples of Japanese sculpture extant. Known as the Yakushi Triad, the work consists of the seated Yakushi Buddha (Bhaiṣajya-guru) flanked by the standing attendants Nikkō (Suryaprabha, bodhisattva of the Sun) and Gakkō (Candraprabha, bodhisattva of the Moon). It is unclear whether these sculptures were produced after the temple's relocation to Nara or if they were transported from the original site. Literary evidence from the 11th century suggests the latter hypothesis, however, and these striking works are consistent with the confident, fleshy, idealized figures of the early T'ang period.

      The finest examples of late 7th-century painting are found in the kondō at Hōryū Temple. Many of these wall paintings were irreparably damaged by fire in 1949, but photos and reproductions remain. One fresco depicting an Amida (Amitābha) Triad shows graceful figures rendered with comparative naturalism and defined with consistent, unmodulated brush lines known as “wire lines” (tessen-byō). Like the Hōryū pagoda sculptures, the wall paintings suggest the influence of T'ang style.

      Thus, the second half of the 7th century was a vitally expansive and experimental period for Japanese Buddhist art. The constant relocation of court sites during this period did not seem to affect the enthusiastic production of temples and imagery or the innovative assimilation of continental models and techniques.

      During the reign of the empress Gemmei (707–715) the site of the capital was moved to the northwest sector of the Nara Basin. The new capital was called Heijō-kyō and is known today as Nara. Overcrowding, the relative isolation of the Fujiwara capital, and what would prove to be a constant nemesis to the Japanese state, an overly powerful Buddhist establishment, were some of the main factors contributing to the move.

      The Nara period (710–784), also known as the Tempyō period, marks the apex of concentrated Japanese efforts to emulate Chinese cultural and political models. Official Japanese contact with T'ang China had dropped off after the defeat of the Japanese in 663 by combined T'ang and Silla forces. However, Japanese court perception of the governing effectiveness of the centralized Chinese state sparked renewal of relationships with the mainland at many levels. The new capital city was modeled after the T'ang capital at Ch'ang-an (near modern Sian), and complex legal codifications (ritsuryō) based on the Chinese system established an idealized order of social relationships and obligations. Thus, a hierarchical society was established, in symbolic and real terms, with all power proceeding from the emperor. The integration of religion into this scheme fixed a properly understood relationship between spiritual and earthly authority. Secular authority ultimately drew its power from this relationship. The ever more precise articulation of these notions further positioned Buddhism to receive massive governmental support.

      The first several decades of the 8th century were marked by power struggles, political intrigue, attempted coups, and epidemics. This generally unsettled and contentious atmosphere caused the emperor Shōmu (724–749) to press determinedly for strengthening the spiritual corrective that he perceived to be offered by Buddhism. In 741 he established the kokubunji system, building a monastery and a nunnery in each province, all under a central authority at Nara. In 743 he initiated the planning for construction of that central authority—the Tōdai Temple—and of its central image, a massive bronze statue of the Birushana ( Vairocana) Buddha, known as the Great Buddha (Daibutsu). Shōmu envisioned religion as a supportive and integrated power in the rule of the state, not as a private faith or as a parallel or contending force. His merging of church and state, however, later enabled the temples to acquire wealth and privilege and allowed Buddhist priests to interfere in secular affairs, eventually leading to a degeneration of the national administration.

      The Chinese taxation system, which was first adopted in Japan during the Taika reforms and further promulgated by the ritsuryō system, was based on the principle of state ownership of land and a national appropriation of the rice crop. It was, from the beginning, an inappropriate fit for the realities of Japanese agriculture. By mid-century the growth of privately owned, tax-free estates had shrunk the tax base, and this, coupled with the extraordinary demands for expansion, temple building, and icon manufacture, placed great strain on the general population. After mid-century an important minister of state, Fujiwara Nakamaro (706–764), attempted reforms and more equitable taxation. Nakamaro, whose instincts were essentially Confucian, was in conflict with the firmly established Buddhist clergy led by the powerful monk Dōkyō (d. 772). As counselor to the empress Kōken (718–770), who later reigned also under the name of Empress Shōtoku, Dōkyō held extraordinary power and secular title but was finally thwarted in his attempt to be named emperor. The concluding decades of the century were characterized by attempts to regularize government expenditure and to control the power of the Buddhist clergy. In 784 the capital was transferred north to Nagaoka, just west of present-day Kyōto. This was a prelude to the establishment of the capital at Heian-kyō, now called Kyōto, in 794.

      What was meant to have been perceived as the cultural expression of a powerful government intent on adapting the very finest elements of T'ang international style was actually an extreme attempt by a comparatively weak government to conjure power through symbolic gesture. Nevertheless, the push to establish Japan as at least equal in splendour to T'ang China in its celebrations of Buddhism and to mark Japan as the magnificent easternmost extension of the faith's expansion in Asia allowed for a halcyon period for the creation of Buddhist art. Virtually all aspects of T'ang culture were absorbed during this period. Indeed, because Buddhism was later suppressed in China and much of T'ang Buddhist iconography destroyed, extant Japanese art of the Nara period serves as the single best reminder, once removed, of what the Buddhist glories of T'ang China must have been.

      The main monument to the Nara period is undoubtedly the huge Tōdai Temple complex with its colossal central image of the cast-bronze Great Buddha. The construction of the Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) commenced in 745, and dedication ceremonies for the nearly 15-metre-high seated figure were held in 752. Only fragments of the original are extant; most of the present sculpture dates to a reconstruction in 1692, which nevertheless gives ample sense of the scale and ambitions of Emperor Shōmu.

      Two important Nara temples predate the initiation of the Tōdai Temple project. Kōfuku and Hokkedō were both constructed in the Gekyō (“Outer Capital”) area to the east of the imperial palace (this “outer” area is now where most extant Nara period sites are located), and their assorted extant iconography bears witness to the revolution in sculptural rendering that is a distinguishing feature of 8th-century Japanese art.

      Kōfuku, the titular temple of the powerful Fujiwara clan, originally was established as Yamashina Temple in the area of present-day Kyōto in the mid-7th century. It was relocated to Nara in 710 by clan leader Fujiwara Fuhito (659–720) and given the name Kōfuku. In scale and in assembled iconography, Kōfuku Temple reflected the de facto political control wielded by the Fujiwara. Kōfuku was conceived as a place of worship and of monastic learning and as a centre for providing social services (such as medical and charitable aid) to the general population. After Fuhito's death an octagonal memorial hall was constructed, similar to the Yumedono at Hōryū Temple. This distinctive architectural addition to the temple indicated a shift away from the use of a pagoda or stupa as a large reliquary or memorial structure.

      Records indicate that an assembly of 27 sculptures featuring images of the Shaka, bodhisattvas, and other attendants was completed and installed in Kōfuku Temple in 734. Of this grouping, six of an original ten disciples and all eight of the Eight Classes of Beings (designated as protectors or guardians of Buddhism) are extant. These works are superb examples of the hollow-core dry-lacquer technique (dakkatsu kanshitsu) of sculpture, which was developed in China and enjoyed a sudden florescence in the Nara period. The technique required the creation of a rough clay-sculpted model on a wooden armature. This form was then covered with successive layers of lacquer-soaked hemp, each of which had to be dry before the next could be applied. Next, the back of the sculpture was cut open, the clay broken out, and, if necessary, a fresh armature inserted. Final surface refinements and details were then added using a paste mix of lacquer, sawdust, flour, and ground incense. Pigments and gold leaf were used to colour the finished form. Some sources suggest that the use of the new technique was encouraged in Japan because the casting of the Great Buddha at Tōdai Temple caused a shortage of the copper needed for bronze (bronze work) production. In addition, lacquer had the advantages of durability, insect resistance, and light weight. Perhaps most importantly, this additive technique of sculpting offered a more easily managed range of plastic expression.

      The other major site for important Nara period works preceding the construction of Tōdai Temple is Hokkedō, also known as Sangatsudō, located at the eastern edge of the Tōdai complex. Tradition suggests that Hokkedō, the oldest building in the Tōdai complex, may have been the temple of the monk Rōben (689–773), who, working in tandem with Emperor Shōmu, was the driving force in the construction of Tōdai. At present a curious mélange of 16 sculptural works is found on the altar platform in the temple. A hollow-core lacquer sculpture of the Fukūkenjaku Kannon functions as the central image. This work is probably the most prominent of a number of images of the deity created in the 740s at the command of Emperor Shōmu. It is flanked by two clay images of the bodhisattvas Gakkō and Nikkō (sometimes identified as the guardian deities Bonten [Brahmā] and Taishakuten [Śakradevānam-Indra]). Much smaller than the central image, they date to the mid-8th century and were probably not created for the position that they now occupy. They are closely related stylistically to four clay guardian figures found in the ordination hall at Tōdai. Treatment of facial features in each of these clay works is individualized and highly refined. The Gakkō and Nikkō demonstrate a reserved energy and force while the guardian figures are bravura performances of gesture and elegant posture, but all are excellent examples of the Japanese command of T'ang-style powerful, inspirited, idealized forms.

 The “secret” image of Shūkongōjin (733), a guardian deity, is secluded in a cordoned space behind the Fukūkenjaku Kannon and presented for viewing only once a year. A clay sculpture with its original gold leaf and polychromy largely intact, the thunderbolt-wielding deity is approximately life-size. Modeled on Chinese statues of guardian generals, the Shūkongōjin is a formidable image of swirling power and force and is the best preserved of the Nara-period clay sculptures, which like their hollow lacquer counterparts were formed on armatures.

      Sculpture of the later Nara period began to employ yet another variation of the lacquer technique, that of adding lacquered cloth over a carved wood core (mokushin kanshitsu). Paste techniques similar to those used for hollow-core lacquer sculpture enhanced the image, and some elements were occasionally constructed solely of lacquer disguised as wood. To alleviate splitting caused by expansion and contraction, the wood core was usually partially hollowed. The use of lacquered wood-core techniques may reflect an attempt to reduce the expense involved in previously described sculptural methods. It also indicated an increasing penchant for employing wood, an abundant natural resource.

      The new technique may have been brought to Japan by Chinese artists accompanying the venerable Chinese monk Ganjin (Chinese: Chien-chen) (688–763). Until Ganjin's arrival in 753 (after six attempts to make the treacherous crossing from the mainland and the loss of his sight), Japanese Buddhists lacked an official ritual site and an official clergyman capable of conducting legitimate ordinations. The missionary was thus an important figure, and, when he chose to reside outside the Tōdai Temple complex, Tōshōdai Temple (founded in 759) was constructed for him, by some accounts from a structure disassembled and moved from the imperial palace. Housed in Tōshōdai Temple are several works using the new wood-core lacquer technique, including a 534-centimetre-high, 11-headed, 1,000-armed Senju Kannon (Sahasrabhuja), as well as a hollow-core dry-lacquer sculpture of Ganjin and a Birushana Buddha of the same medium, both dating to about 760. The Ganjin sculpture is a particularly commanding work that embodies the authority and dignity of the aged, blind patriarch.

      In addition to new construction techniques, sculpture of the late Nara period also shows a stylistic shift, probably imitating a continental trend, toward more mannered depictions of drapery and a more stolid, fleshy form, conveying a brooding feeling. Typical is the rendering of a tight-fitting garment at the thighs of a subject, with drapery elsewhere carved in evenly spaced, concentric waves. This style, hompa-shiki, came to greater prominence in the early Heian period.

 Painting of the period emulated T'ang prototypes. Noteworthy is an image of the deity Kichijōten (Mahāśrī), housed in Yakushi Temple (Yakushi-ji). This work on hemp depicts in full polychromy a full-cheeked beauty in the high T'ang style, which was characterized by slightly elongated, pleasantly rounded figures rendered with long curvilinear brushstrokes. A horizontal narrative scroll painting, Kako genzai inga kyō (“Sutra of Cause and Effect”), depicts in crisp primary pigments and a naive, almost childlike style events in the life of the historical Shaka Buddha as well as various incidents in his previous incarnations. This work features painting on the upper register and explanatory text beneath. It stands at the head of a particularly fruitful tradition in Japanese painting types.

      Located within the Tōdai complex, to the northwest of the Great Buddha Hall, is the Shōsō-in treasure house, an imperial storage house constructed shortly after the death of Emperor Shōmu in 756. The joined-log structure, built of cypress timbers that are triangular in cross section, resembles a granary, a style of construction known as azekura-zukuri. It houses an accumulation of imperial objects as well as gifts received at the dedication of the Great Buddha and later donated by Emperor Shōmu's consort, Empress Kōmyō. Additional articles were added to the collection in the middle of the Heian period (794–1185). The core group donated by Empress Kōmyō totaled about 600 objects, including calligraphy, paintings, religious ritual implements, samples of medicines, mirrors, lacquerware, and masks. The objects received as gifts at the dedication of the Great Buddha have origins as distant as the Mediterranean basin. Most of the objects seem to be of Japanese origin, but they reflect a range of T'ang period styles, and they provide a vivid picture of T'ang and Nara decorative arts.

      One of the few decorative art forms not well represented in the Shōsō-in treasure house is ceramics. Nara period ceramics, like the other arts, were imitations and adaptations of T'ang styles. Of note was the production of wares covered with a lead glaze of the T'ang san ts'ai, or three-colour, type (green, brown, and yellow), a two-colour type (green and white), and a monochrome green.

      In 784 the emperor Kammu (737–806) relocated the seat of government to Nagaoka, a site to the north of Nara and slightly to the west of present-day Kyōto. This move was an attempt to escape the meddling dominance of the Buddhist clerics in Nara and thus to allow unfettered development of a centralized government. Nagaoka was marred by contention and assassination, however, rendering it an inauspicious location for the capital. Thus, in 794 a site to the east of Nagaoka on a plain sheltered on the west, north, and east by mountains and intersected by ample north-south rivers was judged appropriate by geomancers. Named Heian-kyō (“Capital of Peace and Tranquility”) and later known as Kyōto, this city was modeled on the grid pattern of the T'ang Chinese capital at Ch'ang-an. Heian-kyō remained the site of the imperial residence, if not the consistent seat of political power, until 1868.

      For nearly four centuries Heian-kyō was the crucible for a remarkable florescence of Japanese art. Within a century after the move from Nara, political chaos in China caused the cessation of official embassies to the continent. Free from the overwhelming dominance of Chinese artistic models, Japanese (Japanese literature) culture, particularly literature and the visual arts, was able to evolve along independent lines and reflect national concerns. These developments were invigorated through dedicated aristocratic patronage of both religious art and a nascent secular art.

      The Heian period can be subdivided into four political periods. From the founding of Heian-kyō until the mid-10th century was a period of relative imperial control aided by counselors from the Fujiwara (Fujiwara Family) clan. From the mid-10th through the mid-11th century, the implementation of a regency system and intermarriage with the imperial line made the Fujiwara family de facto rulers of Japan. In the mid-11th century, an unanticipated break in the line of Fujiwara-produced emperors allowed the imperial line to experiment with a cloister government. A succession of emperors abdicated, leaving ceremonial and bureaucratic duties to a usually exceedingly junior heir, while continuing to pursue political and economic power from a headquarters separate from the court. This format was relatively successful in allowing the imperial line to concentrate on its economic well-being, if not overarching national interests. Finally, armed intramural conflict over imperial succession in the mid-12th century allowed Taira Kiyomori, warlord and ostensible peacekeeper, to usurp the imperial line.

      Thus, while sometimes viewed nostalgically as an unbroken series of halcyon years during which courtly aestheticism produced the “classical” body of Japanese literature and art, the Heian period was, in fact, a time of on-going political contention during which imperial attempts at centralization of government were consistently checked and ultimately defeated by powerful provincial warlords. In theory, all land and its revenue-producing capability was the property of the central government. In reality, outlying land managers, aristocrats, temples, and warlords accumulated landholdings unabated throughout the Heian period, ultimately crippling the economic power of the court. In the waning years of the 12th century, internal strife over succession and a scramble for what wealth remained in imperial hands forced the court to restore order with the assistance of the warrior class. This steady decline in aristocratic fortune and power was perceived by courtiers as an impending collapse of a natural and just order.

      Literature and art of the period were thus often infused with nuances of sadness, melancholy, and regret. The consolations of Buddhism stressed the impermanence of life and served to reinforce for aristocratic believers the deeper meaning of readily apparent social developments. Indeed the shifting emphases found in Buddhist iconography during the Heian period are incomprehensible unless viewed in the context of doctrinal responses to social change. Most significant among these are the establishment of two Japanese schools of Esoteric Buddhism, Tendai (Tiantai) and Shingon, in the early 9th century, the increasing appeal of Amidism in the 10th century, and, with the understanding that Buddhism entered a final millenarian era in the mid-11th century, a florescence of various iconography produced in the hopes of gaining religious merit.

Esoteric Buddhism
      The court in Heian-kyō was justifiably wary of Buddhism, at least in any powerfully institutionalized form. Attempts by the Nara court to use Buddhism as a complicit pacifier in the pursuit of state goals had run afoul; excessive expenses incurred in erecting massive temples and commissioning appropriate iconography had effectively bankrupted the state treasury; and Buddhist attempts at political intrigue had nearly resulted in a religious dictatorship. Thus, in the configuration of the new capital, only two Buddhist temples were allowed within the boundaries of the city. Tō Temple and Sai Temple, located respectively at the east and west side of Rashomon, the southern gateway to Heian-kyō, were conceded space that was as far away as possible from the imperial palace and government offices in the north of the capital.

      Dissatisfaction with the scholastic Buddhism of the Nara sects was also voiced by some clerics. An imperially approved embassy to China in 804 included the well-known monk Saichō (767–822) and the lesser-known Kūkai (774–835). Saichō was already relatively close to the emperor Kammu, probably favoured because he had broken with the Nara sects and established a hermitage on Mount Hiei in the mountain range northeast of and overlooking Heian-kyō. The two monks were intent on the study and assimilation of current Chinese Buddhist thinking. Saichō studied the teachings of the T'ien-t'ai sect (Japanese: Tendai (Tiantai)). T'ien-t'ai beliefs were an important synthesis of Theravāda and Mahāyāna Buddhism, emphasizing the impermanence of all things, an ultimate reality beyond conceptualization, and a fundamental unity of things. Meditational practices were believed to lead to enlightenment. The Lotus Sutra (Japanese: Myōhō renge kyō) was regarded as the primary text of the sect. This early Mahāyāna sutra was structured into its canonical form in China in the early 5th century and thereafter adopted by T'ien-t'ai as the most appropriate expression of the sect's universalist teachings. Saichō returned to Japan in 805 and petitioned the court to establish a Tendai monastery on Mount Hiei. His request was granted, but the emperor required Saichō to include some Esoteric practices in his Tendai system.

      Forms of Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayāna) had been introduced into China by Indian practitioners in the early 8th century. Heavily influenced by Hindu beliefs, prayer methods, and iconography, these so-called Esoteric Buddhist beliefs were still being assimilated by Chinese Buddhists during the 9th century. Kūkai devoted himself to the mastery of these relatively new beliefs under the Chinese master Hui-kuo. Returning to Japan in 806, more than a year after Saichō, Kūkai was welcomed as an Esoteric master. Through the force of his personality and the attraction of his teachings, he eclipsed Saichō in popularity. Saichō, who regarded Esoteric teachings as an aspect of the more inclusive Tendai tradition, studied with Kūkai, and they remained on good terms until disputes over doctrinal issues and a student led to the rupture of the relationship. Whatever particular differences are found between Tendai and Shingon, as Kūkai's syncretic doctrine is called, the two schools are grouped under the central category of mikkyō, or Esoteric Buddhism. Neither belief system, as interpreted in Japan, rigorously emulated the Chinese versions; they were syntheses created by Saichō and Kūkai.

      Esoteric Buddhism relied heavily on visualization in its praxis. The creation of an environment of worship was essential. The use of mandalas (mandala), expressed both in two dimensions as paintings and in three dimensions as ensembles of sculpture, invited the believer into a diagrammatic rendering of a spiritual cosmos. A central tenet of Esoteric teaching was the nonduality of the Buddha. Whatever the manifestations, the phenomenal and the transcendental are the same. The goal of spiritual practice was to unite what seemed to the uninitiated to be separate realms. Thus, one of the most important iconographic images was the ryōkai mandara (“mandala of the two worlds”), which consisted of two parts—the kongō-kai (“diamond world”) and the taizō-kai (“womb world”)—that organized the Buddhist divinities and their relationships in a prescribed gridlike configuration. The deities or spiritual entities portrayed in these paired paintings represent, in the kongō-kai, the realm of transcendant, clear enlightenment and, in the taizō-kai, the humane, compassionate aspects of the Buddha. It was the repetitive meditative practice of journey through and visceral assimilation of this symbolic, schematic cosmos that could lead the believer to an enlightenment of unity.

      In 823 Kūkai was granted imperial permission to take over the leadership of Tō Temple (also known as Kyōōgokoku Temple), at Heian-kyō's southern entrance. Images developed under his instruction probably included forerunners of the particular ryōkai mandara known as the Tō Temple mandala. Stylistically, these paintings reveal a shift from T'ang painting style to a flatter, more decorative approach to image. Also in the sanctuary at Tō Temple is an important assemblage of sculpture that constitutes a three-dimensional mandala. In a tandem similar to the one effected in mandala painting, dual aspects of the single Buddha nature are portrayed. Bodhisattvas represent limitless compassion, while other assemblages portray yet another dimension of the central divinity, one that came to heightened prominence in Shingon practice, the fierce Myō-ō (Vidyārāja), or Kings of Bright Wisdom. These manifestations, perhaps best typified by Fudō Myō-ō (Acalanātha), are terrifying and uncompromising guides for the believer in the journey to enlightenment. To the unfamiliar eye, their appearance seems demonic, but their wrath is directed at the enemies of Buddhism. They extend to a more fantastic perceptual level the role of guardian general deities and offer a realistic assessment of the intensity of dedication needed for enlightenment.

      In general, sculpture produced in the 9th and 10th centuries followed and developed from the techniques of the late Nara period. Many works were constructed using variations of the lacquered wood-core technique. The heightened mannerism and heavy, brooding quality noticeable in some late Nara works are found in abundance in the early Heian period. The great late 8th-century standing Yakushi figure housed at Jingo Temple north of Kyōto perhaps best typifies this style. Other fine examples can be found in Murō Temple, a well-known Esoteric sanctuary to the east of Nara. Stylistically, these works hearken back to a type of sandalwood sculpture that enjoyed popularity in India and in China. With occasional elaborations through the use of lacquer, these powerful works were essentially carved from large, single pieces of wood, a technique called ichiboku-zukuri. It has been suggested that Buddhist reformers planned the contrast between the abrupt, extreme force of these sculptures and the aristocratic elegance of Nara period works. Created unabashedly of wood, they represented the elemental force of the forests that surrounded the urban centres.

      Because Esoteric practitioners were initially relegated to the mountainous regions outside the capital, the layouts and architecture of their temples varied greatly from the flatland architecture of the Nara temples and, thus, from the symmetrical Chinese styles. Placement and structure were adapted to rugged terrain, creating unique solutions. Ironically, this relative individualism of style was a subtle symbolic disruption of Nara period attempts at a hierarchically dispersed power through visual means.

      The highly syncretic nature of Esoteric Buddhism considered the noumenal aspects of indigenous religions as emanations or manifestations of the Buddha essence. Rather than confronting and competing with native deities and belief systems, mikkyō readily adapted and included their features. Magico-religious ritual, along with an emphasis on purificatory and exorcistic rites, reflected and embroidered upon certain functions of existing native popular religiosity, further enhancing the appeal of Esoteric Buddhism with Japanese aristocrats. For example, Shintō, the primary indigenous religion, which had developed from ancient animistic cults, had a very limited iconographic program. Until the Heian period, Shintō deities ( kami) were largely considered to be unseen, often formless spirits that inhabited or personified such natural phenomena as the sky, mountains, and waterfalls. Esoteric Buddhism, however, encouraged the inclusion of Shintō deities in a kind of subordinate tandem with Buddhist deities in a variety of visual representations. This incorporation of Shintō kami not only served as an acknowledgment of indigenous beliefs but also increased the thematic scope of Buddhist art, particularly landscape painting. The Shintō belief that topography and its included features of rivers, trees, and distinctive rock formations were the abodes of the spirits meant that a sacred formation of mountains could be interpreted as a topographic mandala. Rendering these forms in painting expanded the iconographer's repertoire beyond the production of anthropomorphized deities. This theory in which kami are viewed as temporary manifestations of the essential Buddha, allowing each Shintō deity to be identified with a Buddhist one, is known as honji-suijaku. It gained considerable acceptance by the 10th century and became well established in the Kamakura period.

      Esoteric Buddhism offered skittish Japanese aristocrats a compatible belief system that seemed to pose no challenges to the tentatively established political order in Heian-kyō. Rituals for the protection and prosperity of the nation were devised by Kūkai. Indeed, the formal name for Tō Temple, Kyōōgokoku, may be translated as “Temple for the Defense of the Nation by the King of Doctrines.” Although Kūkai and Saichō were initially kept at a distance in remote mountain monasteries, the government granted independent ordination authority to the Tendai sect in 822, and in 823 Kūkai was appointed by the emperor to head Tō Temple at the capital's southern gate. These two developments marked the eclipse of Nara Buddhist power. Thus, important currents of continental Buddhism, an embracing universalist creed as expressed in Tendai, and the pragmatic, viscerally engaging ritual of Shingon revitalized Japanese attraction to the faith.

      Amidism spread from India to China in the 4th century and from there to Japan by the 9th century. Like many Buddhist sects, it is a devotional cult that gained immense popularity. Amida Buddha presided over the Western Paradise (Sukhāvatī), or Pure Land, and his benevolence is detailed in several important sutras. Devotion to Amida (Amitābha) began in Japan within the mikkyō sects, and in the 10th century Amida worship began to gain momentum as a distinct form of Japanese Buddhist belief. Amida's compassion in welcoming the dying and securing a place for them in his paradise was a dimension of the belief that emerged during the Heian period and assumed prominence in the Pure Land (Jōdo (Pure Land Buddhism)) sect under the leadership of the monk Hōnen (1133–1212).

      Like Esoteric Buddhism, Amidism encouraged an iconography that formed a total ambience of worship. The focus of faith in Amida was rebirth in the Western Paradise. Therefore, painted and sculpted representations of that celestial realm were produced as objects of consolation. Paintings from the Nara period of the Amida and his Western Paradise are geometrically ordered descriptions of a hierarchical world in which Amida (Amitābha) is enthroned as a ruler. In mid-Heian Amidist images, the once-ancillary image of the descending Amida takes on central prominence. This image of the Amida Buddha and attendants descending from the heavens to greet the soul of the dying believer is called a raigōzu (“image of coming to greet”). The theme would later be developed during the Kamakura period as an immensely popular icon, but it saw its first powerful expressions during the Heian period in the late 11th century. As is typical of Amidism, the compassionate attitude of the divinity superceded expressions of awesome might. Amidism differed significantly in emphasis from Esoteric Buddhism in that it did not require a guided initiation into mysteries. An expression of faith in the Amida Buddha through the invocation of his name in the nembutsu prayer was the single requirement for salvation. Iconography served mainly as a reminder of the coming consolations rather than as the tool for a meditative journey to enlightenment.

  One of the most elegant monuments to Amidist faith is the Phoenix Hall (Hōō-dō) at the Byōdō Temple in Uji, located on the Uji River to the southeast of Kyōto. Originally used as a villa by the Fujiwara family, this summer retreat was converted to a temple by Fujiwara Yorimichi (990–1074) in 1053. The architecture of the building, including the style and configuration of its interior iconography, was intended to suggest a massive expression of raigō imagery, whether viewed by a worshiper within the sanctuary or by a visitor approaching the complex from a distance. Viewed frontally, the hall resembles a large bird with its wings extended as if in landing, recalling the downward flight of the Amida and bodhisattvas who welcome the faithful. Contained in the breast of this great creature is the sanctuary, where a magnificent Amida sculpture by Jōchō (d. 1057), the premier sculptor of the period, rests on a central altar (see photograph—>). Positioned on the surrounding walls is an array of smaller wood-sculpted apsaras (heavenly nymphs) playing musical instruments and riding on stylized clouds. Traces of poorly preserved polychrome painting on the interior walls depict not only the expected raigō scene but also the gently rolling topography of central Japan, suggesting that the court-sponsored painting bureau had developed a strong indigenous expression which now supplanted Chinese models in religious iconography.

      The Jōchō Amida sculpture, one of the most sublime expressions of Amidist belief, marks the ascendancy of a new style and technique in sculpting. Serene, unadorned, reserved yet powerfully comforting, this image is composed of numerous wood pieces that have been carved and hollowed, then joined together and surfaced with lacquered cloth and gold leaf. This joined-block construction technique (yosegi-zukuri) allowed for a sculpture lighter in feeling and in fact, but it generally precluded the deep and dramatic carving found in single-block construction. Thus, the exaggerated, mannered presentations of Esoteric sculpture of the previous centuries were supplanted by a noble, evenly proportioned figure, and scale and calm mien replaced drama as a means to engage the believer.

      In 985 the Tendai (Tiantai) monk Genshin (942–1017) produced the 10-part treatise Ōjō Yōshū (“Essentials of Salvation”), a major synthesis of Buddhist theory on the issues of suffering and reward and a pragmatic guide for believers who sought rebirth in the Western Paradise. Genshin described in compelling detail the cosmology of the six realms of existence of the Impure Land (rokudō) in an effort to encourage people to strive to achieve rebirth in the Pure Land of Amida. Genshin's descriptions of hell and its tortures were particularly influential as a source for artists in meeting a demand for graphic images of hell intended for meditation and instruction of the faithful.

      Although Tendai, Shingon, and Amidism can be considered rival beliefs, at the level of popular participation their sectarian distinctions were largely blurred. Furthermore, during the Heian period all Buddhist sects were cognizant of the arrival of the “latter or final days of the law” ( mappō). The prevailing Buddhist theory of time posited three distinct periods following the entry of Gautama Buddha into nirvana. The first period was the time of the “true law” (shōbō), the second period was the time of “imitative law” (zōbō), and the third period was that of mappō, which was actually calculated to begin in the year 1052. Mappō, it was believed, was a time marked by social chaos and natural disaster, in which proper living under the law of the Buddha no longer guaranteed salvation. The formulaic prayers of Amidism promising salvation were thus ever more popular. Other methods to ensure salvation included the commissioning of religious objects, such as sutras and icons, and the patronage of temple building. These actions incurred merit which was understood to accumulate in proportion to the number or magnificence of the objects produced. Thus, the second half of the Heian period was marked by production of a multiplicity of religious icons.

Calligraphy and painting
      The break in regular communication with China from the mid-9th century commenced a long period of fruitful development in Japanese literature and its expression through the mediums of calligraphy and painting. Calligraphy of the Nara period was known for its transmission and assimilation of the major Chinese writing styles, as well as for some forays into individualized expression and adaptation of technical features of character representation. Modified versions of Chinese characters, known as man'yōgana, were employed to represent Japanese phonetic sounds, and two even more abbreviated phonetic writing systems, hiragana and katakana, were known in nascent form. The former was highly stylized and cursive, while the latter was somewhat more severe and rectilinear in form. Use of hiragana was relegated to women, while men continued to control the learning and use of the traditional Chinese characters. However, during the Heian period hiragana was recognized as an official writing method, and an integrated use of the adapted Chinese characters ( kanji) and hiragana became a widely accepted form of written expression.

      The Buddhist monk Kūkai was an important calligraphic stylist and was posthumously recognized as the patron of calligraphers. His highly expressive and mannered presentation of characters was seen and admired in official correspondence, but, more significantly, he employed the brush in a spiritual exercise of rendering important sutra texts or single, meaning-laden kanji. These explorations functioned as part of an Esoteric rite that approximated use of a personalized mandala. Kūkai forcefully established the link between word and image embodied in a calligraphy text, and his work served as an important catalyst in the Heian period, when the rendering of a kanji or a phonetic symbol came to be appreciated not as an illustrative gesture but as a form of expression multivalent in its epistemological potential. In ensuing decades and centuries courtiers expanded on his work and explored the potentials suggested not just in a single character but in whole, secular texts, mainly poetry.

      The rapid developments in Japanese poetry during the Heian period included a concerted assessment of the national poetic tradition and the establishment of a canon of poetry through the publication of imperially sponsored anthologies. In the early 10th century the courtier poet Ki Tsurayuki and others assembled the profoundly influential Kokinshū (“Collection from Ancient and Modern Times”). As its title indicates, selected poems from pre-Heian times were assembled together with contemporary works. The poems were arranged thematically, with seasonal verse and poems on the topic of love predominant. The format for the poetry was the 31-syllable waka, or tanka, and the anthology was one of the first efforts to establish critical standards for the development of that form.

      Contemporary documents discuss the relationship between poetry and painting. Poems were used as the subject of paintings, and calligraphers often wrote poems on paintings or on specially prepared square papers (shikishi) later affixed to a painting. Although virtually no examples of this custom survive from the Heian period, it is known through documentary sources and through revivals of the practice in subsequent centuries. Poetry was also inscribed on elaborately decorated sheets of paper which were preserved as individual units, consolidated in albums, or arranged on horizontal scrolls. The early 12th-century Sanjūrokunin kashū (“Anthologies of Thirty-Six Poets”) is perhaps the finest Heian example of verse executed on sumptuously prepared and illustrated papers. The preeminence of the calligraphic word in interpretive union with painting or as a thematic inspiration for painting was a hallmark of the Heian period.

      Changes in painting technique evident in the Heian period may well have been the result of the general and rapidly growing development of sophisticated calligraphic skills. The T'ang (Tang dynasty) Chinese method of employing the even iron-wire brush line to delineate forms was gradually supplanted in the 11th century by subtle introductions of modulated, calligraphic brushwork, engendering greater liveliness in form, particularly in the renderings of such grand subjects as raigō and the Buddha's entry into nirvana.

      Important secular works from the 11th century, such as Shōtoku taishi eden (“Illustrated Biography of Prince Shōtoku”) and the Senzui folding screens (byōbu), also reveal the development of indigenous painting styles within the original interpretive matrix of Chinese forms. Although the Chinese method of representing narrative in a landscape setting is honoured, with each narrative episode shown in a discrete topographic pocket, the topography and other telling elements take on the appearance of Japanese rather than Chinese surroundings. By the end of the Heian period, a clear distinction could be made between paintings using Chinese themes and styles and those with Japanese subjects and techniques, with the former known as Kara-e and the latter as Yamato-e.

      Some of the most celebrated examples of Yamato-e are the horizontal narrative hand scrolls ( emaki or emakimono) produced in the 12th century. This format, which had been introduced from China in the 6th or 7th century, had already been used effectively in Japan, most notably for the Nara period Kako genzai inga kyō (“Sutra of Cause and Effect”), but these early scrolls are thought to be imitative of Chinese works. In the Late Heian, however, emaki began to develop a unique Japanese character and proved to be particularly well suited to Japanese expression.

      There are few extant narrative scrolls (scroll painting) dating from the Heian period. Their quality is extraordinary, however, and probably representative of a larger number of works no longer extant. The Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji), a long court romance composed in the late 10th or early 11th century, has been culled for clues to Heian life and culture. Reference is made to the popularity of a wide thematic range of narrative painting. Typically, the format of presentation was that of alternating bodies of text and painting. The best of these works were not ploddingly literal in their visual interpretations of text. Rather they were carefully selective of their points of illustration, allowing maximum freedom to the viewer's imagination and demonstrating a complementary rather than repetitive use of text and image.

      The range of expressive technique available to artists was considerable, and adaptation of style and composition to suit the tone of a narrative was, judging from available evidence, astute. An illustrated narration of The Tale of Genji (Tale of Genji, The), Genji monogatari emaki, was produced in the first half of the 12th century. The tale, which relates the life and loves of Prince Genji, is undergirded with Buddhist metaphysics and is thought to offer an approximate fictional description of court life at the time of its composition. It provides a complex analysis of emotions that are always obliquely expressed because of the constraints of court etiquette. The artists thus convey mood not with facial expression or gesticulation, which would violate the highly refined court aesthetic, but with formally posed figures rendered in opaque pigments and the skillful use of depicted architectural elements. Treatments of interior space subtly suggest the emotion masked by the human figures.

      Quite different from The Tale of Genji scroll is the 12th-century Shigisan engi emaki (“Legends of Shigisan Temple”). Drawing on folkloric sources, it is a tale of miracles attributed to the Shingon monk Myōren, who resided on Mount Shigi near Nara in the latter part of the 9th century. The uninhibited depiction of action and movement central to various episodes is rendered by lively and varied brush strokes. Similarly, the first scrolls of the Chōjū jinbutsu giga (“Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans”), products of the 12th century (later scrolls are dated to the 13th century), satirize human foibles through the depiction of anthropomorphized animals rendered in masterfully vibrant ink monochrome brushwork.

      The Ban Dainagon ekotoba (“Story of the Courtier Ban Dainagon”) narrates the incidents surrounding the arson of a gate at the imperial palace in the mid-9th century. This work of the later 12th century is a masterful blend of technical styles. Movements of tension, suspense, thunderous action, and quiet intrigue are variously expressed by a combination of careful pictorial composition, adroit calligraphic technique suggesting action, and the use of opaque pigments to render pauses in the narrative.

      The reasons for the appeal and florescence of the emaki genre are speculative. However, as demonstrated by the growing penchant for keeping diaries, writing travel commentaries, and reading a particular type of loosely structured narrative interspersed with verse, narration as a form of literature was increasing in popularity in Heian Japan. The growing ease with which observations were recorded was probably assisted by the development of the syllabic writing systems noted above. In the religious sphere the didactic use of popular tales in facilitating the spread of Buddhism offered an occasion for recording and infusing religious meaning into folktales. Proselytizers for Buddhism employed the format to commemorate or memorialize the origins and history of particular sects and temples and for illustrated biographies of noted religious leaders.

      The illustrated, or illuminated, sutra form, a type of emaki, reached its zenith of expression with the completion, in 1164, of the Heike nōkyō. This incomparable 34-scroll presentation of the Lotus Sutra with alternating text and painting was an offering of the military leader Taira Kiyomori (1118–1181).

      The kilns at Sanage to the east of present-day Nagoya provided functional ceramic pieces for the court. These were largely forms and glazes that were imitative of Chinese three-colour and celadon potteries, which used lead in their glazes. Lacquerware emerged as an art that provided a means of producing the effect of inlay work popular mainly as an import item during the Nara period.

      From the middle of the 12th century the reality of true imperial court control over Japan was largely a fiction. The Taira (Heike (Taira Family)), a provincial warrior family, assumed the role of imperial protector and became the effectual power wielder. From that time they entered into a protracted struggle for hegemony with the Minamoto (Genji), a powerful clan from eastern Japan. The Gempei War between the families raged through much of Japan's central island from 1180 to 1185, during which such major temples as Tōdai and Kōfuku and their contents were completely destroyed. The Minamoto eventually emerged victorious, and, under the leadership of Minamoto Yoritomo, the culture and structure of national leadership shifted from the civil aristocracy to the hands of a provincial warrior class. In 1192 Yoritomo was named seii taishōgun (“barbarian-quelling generalissimo”) by the court, thus initiating an office of military dictator that would persist until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Yoritomo located his power centre (later termed shogunate, or bakufu, literally “tent government”) in Kamakura, a small seaside village on a peninsula to the south of present-day Tokyo. Control of the shogunate soon passed to the Hōjō family through Yoritomo's widow, but the government did not return to Kyōto until 1333. The years from 1185 to 1333 are thus known as the Kamakura period.

      The military victory and subsequent structural changes not only established the new ruling group in a position of military and economic power but also allowed for the infusion and development of a new cultural ethos—one that paralleled but was determinedly distinct from that developed by the court in Nara and in Kyōto. Warrior values of strength, discipline, austerity, and immediacy found resonance in the practices of Zen Buddhism. This strain of Buddhism had long played a subsidiary role in Japan, but, from the 13th century, strong Japanese adherents were bolstered in number and authoritative leadership by immigrant Chinese monks who had been displaced by the Mongol conquests in China. Zen Buddhism offered the new military leadership a nonthreatening alternative to the Tendai-controlled religious establishment that dominated the Kyōto court. The iconographic needs and the inherent aesthetic predispositions of Zen Buddhism were refined through this initial relationship with the Kamakura elite and over the next several centuries became widely influential throughout Japan.

      Populist religious movements, particularly those generated by Amidist beliefs during the Heian period, grew even stronger and more diverse during the Kamakura period, increasing demands for Buddhist iconography. During the 13th century fears of an invasion by the Mongols from the mainland were realized on two occasions (1274 and 1281). Both times the invaders were repulsed, but these episodes and their anticipation contributed to a pervasive anxiety that was more than occasionally exhibited in the mood and theme of religious iconography. It was a time punctuated by prayers of supplication and pleas for divine intervention. Although quite different in their fundamental precepts, the simple and direct means of access to salvation or enlightenment offered by Zen or Amidist practices were exceedingly popular.

      Perhaps no single feature of the Kamakura period so exemplifies the unique character of the age as does the emergence of bold new sculptural styles. Indeed, the Kamakura is considered by many to be the last significant period in the history of Japanese sculpture until modern times. Although sculpture continued to be produced in later periods, it consisted largely of uninspired reworkings of old themes and old styles.

      As a result of the widespread destruction wrought by the Gempei War, it was necessary to replace the extensive loss of religious sculpture. The most compelling works of the period were created in the 13th century, notably by the Kei family, led by Kōkei and his son Unkei. Inspired both by the exquisite idealism of the Nara-period works and by the fashion for realism found in Chinese Sung dynasty sculpture, the best of Kamakura-period sculpture conveyed intense corporeal presence. The style is frequently referred to as “Kamakura realism” but should not be confused with the notion of “realistic” in the sense of faithful rendering of the natural. While, for example, there is reference to careful anatomic understanding, this understanding is often rendered in extreme statement. The huge guardian figures created by Unkei and other Kei artists to flank the Nandai-mon (“Great South Gate”) at Tōdai Temple are the epitome of this style. With bulging eyes, limbs lined with tributaries of protruding veins, and theatrical poses, these and similar works were direct and accessible to the mass of the Buddhist faithful.

      In portraying a range of divine concerns from protection to sympathetic consolation, Kamakura sculpture responded to the spiritual climate of the age. The sculpture by Unkei's son Kōshō (d. 1237) of Kūya, the rugged old mendicant who advocated the unceasing repetition of the nembutsu prayer, is depicted realistically as determined and gnarly but with the fantastic grace note of a string of small Amida figures emerging from his mouth—a literal representation of his teaching. An exquisitely refined evocation of the protective and welcoming presence of the Amida is seen in the sculpture dated to 1269 and a product of the atelier of Kōshun. With its surface completely adorned with gold-leaf pattern cuttings (kirikane), this figure proclaims celestial splendour. The intensity of the deity's gaze, omniscient and direct, is accomplished by a Kamakura-period innovation: inlaid crystal eyes backed by white paper appropriately coloured to effect iris and pupil. For Kōfuku Temple, Unkei sustained the remarkable standards of the temple's renowned Nara-period hollow-lacquer sculpture with his production of figures such as the famous disciples of the Buddha, Muchaku (Asanga) and Seshin (Vasubandhu). The portrait sculpture of Muchaku conveys firm resolve, seasoned realism, and, thanks to subtle handling of fleshiness around the eyes, a hint of humour.

      The finest of Kamakura-period sculpture is a seamless union of meticulously crafted and assembled parts. While wood was the medium of choice, the dominant presence of a single tree, a feature characteristic of early Heian sculpture, is no longer present. The joined-block method was used with much greater frequency than in previous periods. Effects were achieved through the coordination of skills, and specialization within workshops was common. In some cases the face of a sculpture was worked separately, as if a mask, and then affixed to the sculpture. The refinement of this ability to work on individual parts allowed for remarkable detail and expressive effects, enhancing the meticulous realism characteristic of Kamakura sculpture.

      New architectural styles also emerged from the void created by the Gempei War devastation. No person was more instrumental in the renaissance of religious art and architecture than the monk Shunjōbō Chōgen (1121–1206), who oversaw the restoration of Tōdai temple. Nandai-mon, the main entry gate of this revered temple, offers a superb example of the tenjiku-yō (“Indian style,” although it originated in Southern Sung China) of architecture introduced during the reconstruction. Extravagantly conceived eaves wing out more than 5 metres (16 feet), supported by nine-tier brackets. The simple mechanics of this operation lie exposed, straightforward and bold, like the overall impression of the gate's design. Far less refined than Heian architecture, the immediacy of the new, and comparatively short-lived, style typified the aesthetic directness of the age.

      Similar simple lines were features of the newly introduced Chinese Ch'an (Japanese: Zen) religious architectural style, which included slightly more complex bracketing supports joining columns and horizontal elements. Prosaic elements such as dormitories and refectories were part of the central plan, thus uniting overall design scheme with the important realities of communal life. Meditation halls were also more prominent. On the whole, however, traditional architecture in the period tended toward the decorative and overworked, as nonessential elements multiplied and functional units were embellished. Oddly, where technical virtuosity served the sculptural format well, the necessary simplicity of monumental architecture was compromised by too much display.

      Painting of the Kamakura period, both religious and secular, was marked by a sense of immediacy and vitality. The Amidist sects spawned cults that emphasized devotion to particular intercessory figures who had initially been considered ancillary in the overall Pure Land Buddhist pantheon. For example, the Jizō Bosatsu, the bodhisattva depicted in the guise of a gentle, young monk, was venerated as a protector of women and children and as one dispatched on a special mission of compassion to suffering sentient beings enmeshed in the tribulations of their various life states. The popularity of Amidism also encouraged the creation of elaborately conceived spiritual cosmologies in paintings depicting the six realms of existence. In a variation of that theme, paintings of the Nika Byakudō (“White Path to the Western Paradise Across Two Rivers”) type show both the difficulties encountered by the believer journeying to the Western Paradise and, at the centre, the Jizō benevolently ministering to those in need. Similarly, raigō paintings featuring depictions of the Amida and entourage descending from paradise to greet the souls of the recently deceased faithful enjoyed considerable popularity.

      As was the case with sculptural representation, immediacy and accessibility were the most desired attributes of religious iconography. Religious foundations made extensive use of the narrative scroll format to honour sect anniversaries or histories and to document the biographies of founders and other major personalities. Such works as the Hōnen shōnin eden and the Ippen shōnin gyojo eden present biographies of the priests Hōnen, founder of the Pure Land sect, and Ippen, beloved charismatic who founded an Amidist subgroup, the Ji sect. In vitality of defining brushwork, rich palette, and lavish depiction of the sundry details of contemporaneous existence, these and similar works serve as essential records of the material culture of the Kamakura period; but in a more profound religious sense, they are visual evidence of the strong Japanese penchant for grounding the spiritual experience in the easily approachable guise of everyday life.

      The use of iconography in Zen Buddhism was not as extensive as in other sects, but mentor and patriarch portraiture played a significant role in the ritual of the transmission of teaching authority. Here, too, the penetrating effect of presence was the quality most sought in these visages. ink monochrome painting was also employed by Zen adepts as a form of participatory spiritual exercise. In addition to representations of personages or historic moments, real or legendary, associated with Zen, Zen painters also depicted subjects not obviously religious in theme. Bird-and-flower paintings were created and queried for insights into spiritual meaning, and gradually the landscape painting offered accretions of symbolic meaning indicative of internal, spiritual journeys.

      During the Kamakura period, Buddhism continued and strengthened systematic efforts to incorporate the indigenous religion, Shintō, by identifying local gods and numinous presences as manifestations of Buddhist deities. This system was called honchi-suijaku, and its principles were applied extensively. Religious paintings often depicted the figures of both Buddhist and Shintō manifestation in some mandala-like format. Likewise, Buddhist paintings, especially of the honchi-suijaku type, frequently incorporated Shintō sacred sites into their landscapes. Not precisely of this type, but a sublime derivative, is the icon of Nachi Falls. Here, a sacred site on the Kii Peninsula south of Ise reveals the haunting presence of the great, constantly plunging force which all but overwhelms the small architecture of the Shintō shrine that honours the natural site. Thus, certain Buddhist traditional painting techniques revealed the sacredness of adopted territory.

      In the realm of secular painting, as in the religious world noted above, the narrative scroll (scroll painting) continued to develop as an essential expressive format. The popularity of war tales, appropriate to the climate inspired by the interests of the new national leadership and by the threat and reality of foreign invasion, is readily apparent in extant paintings commemorating various domestic martial episodes. Few paintings of the period capture the force, confusion, and terror of battle as effectively as does the episode of the burning of the Sanjō Palace in the Heiji monogatari emaki. Here, the artist uses highly animated, modulated strokes of defining ink, judicious, repetitive patterning, and the application of opaque colour to produce a series of carefully joined vignettes that intimately and actively tell the story.

      The court, although stripped of political power, continued to be an arbiter of cultural matters. Most especially, it dominated the development of a national literature and the rendering of that literature in relation to painting and calligraphy. The various modes of joining word and image continued to be the specialized purview of aristocratic culture. In the early 13th century important anthologies were assembled of the works of the 36 ancient poets who had been “canonized” in the Heian period, and portraits of these masters were popular painting subjects. Often, the horizontal narrative scroll format was used to present the poets as if they were engaged in poetry competitions, composing linked verse (renga), with representative verse juxtaposed by their images. Thus, even the comparatively subdued ambience of court culture was animated by the format so attuned to the dynamism of the period. The 36-poet genre was thereafter a resilient theme and a standard way of expressing high literary reference in painting.

      Secular portraiture saw developments stimulated in part by the central role of patriarch and mentor portraits in the Zen tradition. The schematic or generalized visages of the Heian-period indigenous traditions were influenced by these imported developments. Court and military portraits of the period tend to present the subject in the stiff, opaque, and decorative surrounding typical of Heian style, but faces are more realistically and individually rendered.

       Ashikaga Takauji, a warrior commissioned by the Kamakura shogun to put down an attempt at imperial restoration in Kyōto, astutely surveyed circumstances and, during the years 1333 to 1336, transformed his role from that of insurrection queller to usurper of shogunal power. The Muromachi period (1338–1573) takes its name from a district in Kyōto where the new shogunal line of the Ashikaga family established its residence. With Takauji's ascendancy a split occurred in the imperial lineage. A southern court in exile formed in the Yoshino Mountains, to the south of Nara, while a court in residence, under the Ashikaga hand, ruled from Kyōto. This double regency continued until the end of the century, when a duplicitous compromise finally stripped the southern court of claims to power. This imperfectly resolved situation henceforth provided both political and romantic aesthetic evocations of legitimate power deposed. It became a rallying point for royalists and a continuing subtle undercurrent in literature and the visual arts, a metaphor for the contention between the brute force of arriviste pretensions and the sublime culture of legitimate rule. By extension, it harked back to the halcyon days of Heian court rule.

      The Ashikaga family held relative control of national power until the mid-15th century, when other aggressive provincial warlords provoked a struggle that culminated in the Ōnin War (1467–77). This civil war laid ruin to much of Kyōto and was, in effect, the initial skirmish in a century of ongoing military conflict. Ashikaga men continued as figurehead rulers until 1573, when Oda Nobunaga, the first of three successive hegemons (Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu were the other two) who brought about the consolidation of power in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, dismissed the last Ashikaga shogun.

      The Muromachi period was thus a time of prolonged civil unrest, remarkable social fluidity, and creativity. During the Kamakura period the aristocracy accepted the bitter pill of distant shogunal rule, but the Ashikaga presence in Kyōto placed those who were perceived as boorish upstarts at the helm of cultural arbitration. The Ashikaga ascendancy took the political and cultural revolution initiated by the Minamoto clan back to the capital. This was viewed, particularly by the once singularly powerful, as the time of gekokujō—the world turned upside down—an inverted social order when the lowly reigned over the elite. The arrival of untutored provincial warriors and their retinues in Kyōto effected theretofore unthinkable juxtapositions of social classes engaged in similar cultural pursuits. Nevertheless, despite the complaints of many aristocrats, the imposition of the new order—or disorder—had multiple beneficial effects on the practice of the visual arts.

      The military rulers attempted to establish their legitimacy through their patronage of the arts. They assiduously promoted Zen Buddhism and Chinese culture in opposition to the aristocratic preference for indigenous styles. The increase in trade with Ming China and the avid cultivation of things Chinese encouraged by the Ashikaga rulers established a dominant aesthetic mode for the period, and journeys of monk-artists to and from China provided yet another avenue for stimulation of the arts.

      Meanwhile, Japanese court culture, using Heian-period aesthetic achievements as a canonical norm, continued to foster and develop indigenous visual forms. Both court and shogunal currents—what might be called, respectively, conservative and Sinophilic—were strengthened by interaction. While the various patronage groups were, to a degree, antagonistic, the juxtaposition generally stimulated experiment and challenged stagnant modes of visual representation.

      In addition to the cultural changes wrought by sheer military power, the egalitarian structures of Zen Buddhism and other populist Buddhist movements provided the possibility of startlingly swift advancement and important patronage for talented but low-born individuals. Many found that the indeterminate social status afforded by religious ordination provided the means to move freely among different classes. It was also common to assume a religious status as a kind of social camouflage without the actual benefit of ordination. Artists of every sort found temple ateliers congenial to their talents in this time of relative meritocracy.

      Zen Buddhism firmly established its role of intellectual leadership during the Muromachi period and provided a strong line of continuity with the aesthetic trends established during the Kamakura period. Growing in real power, the temples became to an even greater degree centres for the consideration, assimilation, and dissemination of continental culture. Other sects, notably Nichiren Buddhism and other populist movements born in the Kamakura period, also experienced significant revival with successful proselytizing in the warrior, merchant, and peasant classes.

      Buddhism responded to the elevated cultural aspiration of its believers, clerics and laity alike, by providing occasions in which the realms of the aesthetic and religious were, in practice, joined. The development of the tea ceremony, which became increasingly important because it linked heightened religious sensibility with artistic connoisseurship, is a prime example of Buddhism's role in fostering new art forms in this period.

      Regional dissemination of central cultural values was another important catalyst for development. The increasing strength of provincial leaders allowed them to assume patronage roles and to invite distinguished Kyōto artists to regions distant from the centre of culture. From the time of the Ōnin War and in the century following, this process was accelerated as Kyōto was engulfed in martial conflict.

Painting and calligraphy
      The most significant developments in Japanese painting during the Muromachi years involved the assimilation of the Chinese ink monochrome tradition, known in Japanese as suiboku-ga or sumi-e. Zen Buddhism was the principal conduit for knowledge of this painting tradition, which was originally understood as an exercise potentially leading to enlightenment, either through viewing or in the practice of putting brush to paper. It was practiced both by amateurs and by professional monk-painters in temple ateliers.

      In about the year 1413 Josetsu (Taikō Josetsu), a monk-artist of the Ashikaga-supported Shōkoku Temple, was commissioned by Ashikaga Yoshimochi (1386–1428) to produce a painting in the “new style” (thought to be that of the Southern Sung). The resulting work shows a man with a gourd standing near a stream and a catfish swimming in the water. Originally mounted as a small screen, the painting was soon transferred to the hanging scroll format, and the poetic commentaries of 30 monks were appended to the painting. This is perhaps the most famous work by the artist, who—as the master of Shūbun (fl. 15th century), who, in turn, instructed Sesshū (1420–1506)—is generally considered to stand at the head of the most important lineage of Muromachi ink painters. Josetsu's work alludes to the shogun's dominance of the elemental and sometimes unpredictable forces of nature and society, which are represented by the wily catfish. It can be understood as an instruction in the limitations of and deluded aspirations for power. It also suggests a style of Zen pedagogy in which a visual or verbal puzzle (in this case, how does one catch a slippery catfish with a small gourd?) prompts a dialogue between master and pupil as an exercise toward enlightenment. Noteworthy here is the fact of an exceptionally skilled painter operating well within the parameters of painting as religious exercise and also revealing the essential links between political power and Zen Buddhism's (Buddhism) florescence.

      Later, ink monochrome painters attempted themes that included Taoist and Buddhist patriarchal and mythical subjects, bird-and-flower compositions, and landscapes. It is instructive to note that in the course of the 15th century the progress of the three-generation lineage of Josetsu, Shūbun, and Sesshū can be described as a movement from physical permanence and relative security to a peripatetic existence necessitated by political instability and from conservative to more generalized or secular themes. Sesshū, who traveled to Ming China and was influenced by court painters, saw that Chinese painting was far greater in range than the ink monochrome tradition. His later works demonstrate a subtle use of colour and complex, seemingly random compositional formats, suggesting an increasing priority of brush stroke and patterning as the true subject. His long landscape scroll produced for the Mori clan in Yamaguchi is a brilliant study of boldly described forms in linear movement. He is also known for his landscapes in the haboku (“splashed-ink”) technique, a style promulgated by Chinese Ch'an Buddhist painters who likened the spontaneous brushwork and intuitively understood (rather than realistically depicted) forms to the spontaneous, intuitive experience of Ch'an enlightenment.

      Ink painting was not only the province of Zen Buddhists. Painters of the Ami lineage (so called because they used the suffix “ami” in their names to indicate their faith in Amida) served the Ashikaga shoguns as aesthetic advisers. They graded and organized the shogunal collections of Chinese art and, as practitioners of the ink monochrome form, tended to a more gentle, polished conservatism than the bold, rough brushwork of the Shōkoku Temple painters. This tendency is seen in a work by Geiami (Shingei) (1431–85) painted on the occasion (c. 1480) of the departure of his pupil Kenkō Shōkei. It depicts the common subject of travelers passing beyond a turbulent pool and plunging waterfall to a temporary shelter nestled in a grotto. The sentiment is clear, and the execution reveals a mannered, controlled hand. The standard representation of receding far distance is suggested, but, in comparison with Chinese and earlier Japanese works, the balance of the painting is now subtly disrupted and the frontal plane becomes the focus of the work. Shōkei, who was returning to his home temple atelier in Kamakura, carried the lessons of stylistic change to the east and developed an even more mannered approach to ink monochrome.

      Another artist of the eastern provinces, Sesson Shūkei (1504–c. 1589), eschewed any apprenticeship in Kyōto. As a mendicant with eclectic training, Sesson worked in an ink monochrome style charged with highly individualistic energy that captured the brooding uncertainties of the warring period.

      The late Muromachi transition to secularization of the ink monochrome format is best expressed in the work of Kanō Motonobu (1476–1559). His father, Masanobu (Kanō Masanobu) (1434–1530), stands at the head of a lineage that became, in following centuries, the dominant Japanese painting academy. The Kanō group was one of several important ateliers to develop important syntheses of Chinese and indigenous painting styles. Motonobu married into the Tosa family of Yamato-e painters, symbolically and literally effecting this gradual eclecticism. His sliding door panel paintings for Daitoku Temple in Kyōto depict famous episodes of Zen enlightenment. High professionalism, delicate coloration, and a skillful narrative instinct are apparent in this sweeping composition.

      Although ink monochrome painting reached its height in Japan during the Muromachi period, other painting styles also flourished. Polychrome depictions of the patriarch reveal a consummate skill in execution. The eccentric visages of the disciples of the Buddha are found in a set attributed to the painter Ryōzen. They not only convey the persistent Zen fascination with spiritual force found in personality but also contain lush patterning and detail, as if a rugged eremitic type is slowly being enveloped in indigenous interests. These works, it should be said, also reflect dependence on Sung Chinese interpretations.

      The indigenous Yamato-e tradition also continued to develop during this period. The polished narrative painting forms found in the late Heian and Kamakura periods were still produced but were eclipsed by styles that conveyed energy at the expense of surface refinement. Their genesis paralleled the growth of narrative literature, which treated a growing number of legends and folktales. Also appearing with greater frequency was a narrative compositional technique that mixed word and image by juxtaposing text closely to the figure speaking the words, almost in cartoon style.

      Screen painting in a rich polychromatic style persisted in parallel to the sparser, more obviously intellectual monochromes of the Zen tradition. The best of the Muromachi Yamato-e style screens show, in material and in sensibility, influences of metalworking, lacquering, and textile crafts. These works convey the reality of pragmatic creativity, which would come to full flower at the close of the 16th century.

      The trends in Japanese calligraphy continued in essentially two major channels—the court-inspired, elegantly mannered script and the bold, ruggedly expressive forms of the Zen tradition.

      The Muromachi-period taste in ceramics was, like painting, massively influenced by Chinese and Korean taste. celadon ware was imported in large quantities. Known in Japan as Tenryūji ware, this light green monochrome ware was produced in many shapes as service ware and can be seen depicted in various narrative paintings of the period. It was imported as part of a large trading scheme managed by the Zen Tenryū Temple to support its works. Shogunal taste also favoured the sparse, darker ceramics from China, including temmoku ware, which revealed beautiful random effects in glaze colouring.

      These comparatively austere Chinese ceramic types were gradually understood to have potential native equivalents in the ruggedly simple storage jars produced in Japanese kilns. Finely controlled glazes and enamel polychromy, which required the use of kaolin clay and controlled high firing, were still technically beyond Japanese capabilities; but the high regard in which the elegantly simple Chinese ware was held caused connoisseurs to elevate the status of once humble works and to commission Japanese interpretations of continental ware in Japanese kilns.

Lacquerware (lacquerwork)
      Similarly, the appreciation of lacquerware was stimulated by the importation of fine Chinese works. The carved lacquer technique developed in Yüan China was emulated in a somewhat simpler manner in Japan. Lacquerware of a subdued red and black palette, said to have originated in the workshops of the Negoro Temple to the southeast of Ōsaka, was favoured in Buddhist establishments for its worn, unaffected look.

      Perhaps the most calculatedly effective aesthetic development of the Muromachi period was the emergence of the cult of tea. The environment gradually required for tea gatherings grew into a kind of ritualized theatre in which objects removed from their original contexts were offered as worthy of consideration both in and of themselves and as metaphors for religious or philosophical perspectives. Zen monks imported tea plants from China, where the beverage was used for its medicinal qualities and as a stimulant in meditation. They also participated in a simple ceremony of consumption that included the use of certain prescribed utensils and implements.

      From these fairly simple origins as a moment of respite and spiritual conviviality, the tea ceremony grew in complexity. Tea competitions (tocha) with the goal of discerning various blends began to be held in the Muromachi period and were espoused by Murata Shukō (c. 1422–1502), who was a disciple of the Zen master and abbot Ikkyū and is traditionally credited with founding the tea ceremony in Japan. An aesthetic adviser to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Shukō prepared tea for his master at the latter's villa Ginkaku (“Silver Pavilion,” now a temple) in a separate structure with a small tea room called the Dōjinsai. Shukō and those in his circle stressed the spiritual elements of the ceremony and encouraged the display of a piece of Zen calligraphy at the ceremony.

      About this time the size of the tea ceremony room was standardized to four and a half tatami mats. Interestingly, this size is said to have derived from the tradition which holds that the meditation cell used by Vimalakirti (Yuima), an Indian disciple of the Buddha, was of the same proportions. Shelving, a recessed wall element or alcove (tokonoma), and other features provided places for displaying art appropriate to a season, mood, or other occasional intention. Implements such as tea cups, water jars, and kettles were carefully choreographed for the occasion.

      The codification of the ceremony developed through the late Muromachi period and flowered in the succeeding Momoyama period. Similarly, the aesthetic intentions were more carefully articulated with time. In general, these goals included the cultivation of simplicity and the appreciation of rusticity. Within the careful ritual of tea preparation and sharing, the proper blend of object and participants was intended to heighten an awareness of transience and fragility. It trained the participant to be predisposed to learning from the simple and to seek new levels of meaning through the creative juxtaposition of objects, painting, and calligraphy. The practice of the tea ceremony had profound impact on the nature of fine art collecting by proposing new values for previously existing art and by encouraging the creation of works especially for use in the ceremony. In a time of radically shifting social alignments, it is noteworthy that the ambience of the tea ceremony thrived on suggested visual contrasts between the rustic and refined.

Architecture and garden design
      The development of the tea ceremony encouraged architectural changes during the Muromachi period. The need for a small, discrete environment as a place of contemplation or connoisseurial consideration led to the evolution of both the tea room and a small study room, called tsuke shoin, containing a ledge (shoin-zukuri) used as a desk, shelves, and sliding shoji windows that opened onto an auspicious, usually man-made, view. The sprawling style of Heian-period construction, called shinden-zukuri, was modified to accommodate the reduced circumstances of the aesthete in the turbulent Muromachi period, and domestic architecture began to take on a more modest, carefully circumscribed, and mannered appearance.

      The consciousness of controlling an environment to produce effect was ever more evident and extended to the development of garden design. The various styles, whether dry or wet, presented a highly calculated series of meanderings and views. The prototypical aspiration of garden design (garden and landscape design) was said to be an evocation of the environs of the Amida's Western Paradise.

      Stately, symmetrical gardens, which reflected the ordered, aristocratic hierarchy and shinden-zukuri architectural style, are nowhere to be found in the Muromachi garden aesthetic. Retained from the tastes of previous periods was the penchant for blurring the line between created structure and nature; buildings were often constructed to be unpretentiously rustic, while gardens were meticulously designed to be viewed but not entered. Gardens were understood and meant to be read as a journey into a three-dimensional painting. The tea aesthetic was influential in their design. The careful reordering of nature in a “natural” way provided enlightened views for the careful observer. The hermitage and its natural surroundings became, in obviously mannered forms, an aesthetic touchstone for the times.

      The brief span of time during which first Oda Nobunaga (1534–82) and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/37–98) began the process of unifying the warring provincial leaders under a central government is referred to as the Azuchi-Momoyama, or Momoyama, period.

      The dating of the period is, like the name, somewhat relative. The initial date is often given as that of Nobunaga's entry into Kyōto in 1568 or as that of the expulsion of the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki, from Kyōto in 1573. The end of the period is sometimes dated to 1600, when Tokugawa Ieyasu's victory at Sekigahara established his hegemony; to 1603, when he became shogun; or to 1615, when he destroyed the Toyotomi family. It should be noted that the rigid application of an essentially political chronology to developments in the arts can be deceptive. Many important cultural figures were active not only during the Momoyama period but in the preceding Muromachi or succeeding Edo period as well. Similarly, artistic styles did not necessarily change with each change in political system.

      In any case, Nobunaga's rise is the referent event for the start of the period. He selected Azuchi, a town on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, a few miles to the east of Kyōto, as the site of his new government. It was there that a purportedly magnificent castle (palace) (now known only through records) was constructed between 1576 and 1579 and destroyed shortly after Nobunaga's death. A product of military necessity as well as an extension of the bold and outsize personality of its resident, this innovative structure presented enormous decorative challenges and opportunities to Kanō Eitoku (1543–90), the premier painter of the period.

      Nobunaga's successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was, of the three hegemons of the period, perhaps the one most enthusiastically involved with the arts. He constructed several castles, including one at Momoyama, just to the south of Kyōto. The name Momoyama has since become associated, as has Azuchi, with the lavish and bold symbolizations of political power characteristic of the period.

      The fact that the two castle sites lend their names to the era seems especially appropriate artistically because the castle was the single most important crucible for experimentation in the visual arts in the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The development of the castle also points up several salient features of the age: a display of massive power held by provincial warriors not previously noted for high cultural aspirations, growing confidence in national stability, and the conscription of artists to articulate the new mood.

      The development of the visual arts during this period was characterized by the vigorous patronage of two groups: the military leadership, who brought civil stability, and the merchant class, which formed the economic backbone of the revitalized urban centres. The masters of an unchallenged central government were supported by an emerging urban merchant class astutely aware of its pivotal role in maintaining the stability of the recently war-wracked nation. In addition, a much diminished aristocracy was still intent on retaining a hand in the arbitration of culture. At first, the bold scale and martial vitality of the warrior class were most influential in the arts. Later, the urban merchant class was the primary underwriter of a revival in interest and reinterpretation of Heian- and Kamakura-period court taste. Each group found not only genuine pleasure through their patronage of the arts but, in a time of major social realignments, legitimization and proclamation of their social status as well.

      The Japanese castle was a totally indigenous architectural form that developed in the 16th and early 17th centuries, a by-product of the hostile military conditions that existed in Japan from the time of the Ōnin War and in the following 100 years. Before that time military architecture had primarily consisted of small wooden fortresses; the earliest stone structure was probably constructed in the 1530s. Castle architecture experienced its florescence and most imaginative expression in the period from 1600 to 1615. In fact, most of the extant castles are products of that period. By 1615, however, each domain was allowed only one castle, and all other castles were ordered destroyed. Indeed, further castle building by the domain lords, or daimyo, was later banned. Continuing need for fortification would have implied either hostile intention or impending instability. Either suggestion was unacceptable to the Tokugawa rulers.

      The general castle layout consisted of a donjon, or reinforced tower, called the tenshu, around which were arranged gardens, parks, and fortified buildings used for both official and private purposes. The whole was surrounded by deep moats and massive stone walls. Castle interiors presented a new dimension of decorative challenges. Large, generally dark spaces were subdivided by sliding panels (fusuma) and folding screens (byōbu). These two elements provided the format, depending on the wealth and predilection of the patron daimyo, for extensive painting programs. While architectural and religious iconographic needs of previous eras required paintings of considerable scale, the quantity, stylistic bravura, and thematic innovations of the Azuchi-Momoyama period are singular in the burst of confident national energy that they represent.

      The shoin (shoin-zukuri) style noted first in the Muromachi period continued to be refined. A veranda linked the interior of most structures with the carefully arranged, highly cultivated exterior gardens. An interior room with shelving and a tokonoma for the display of a hanging scroll of painting or calligraphy continued to be the primary showroom for fine arts, although fusuma and byōbu decorated with large-scale paintings could be found throughout the structure. The main room was often divided into two levels, the slightly raised one, which was backed by the tokonoma and fronted by decorative wood carving, being reserved for the highest-ranking person present. Unlike the shinden (shinden-zukuri) style, which used curtains and folding screens to partition small areas of a single large room, shoin-style structures were divided into several rooms by fixed walls and sliding doors. With variations in scale, this was also true for the architecture of religious establishments.

      Painting was the visual art form that offered the most varied opportunities in the new age and, in fact, the most notable area of achievement. A breakdown of the comparatively rigid lines that had previously defined the various painting styles began in the Muromachi period and continued in the Momoyama. The Kanō school developed two distinctive styles: one featuring bright, opaque colours on gold or silver backgrounds, brilliantly amalgamating bright colour and bold brushwork, and the other a more freehanded, mannered, and bold interpretation of traditional ink monochrome themes. Other schools varied these two styles into distinctive lineage voices, but the Kanō (Kanō Eitoku) group under Eitoku dominated the period through sheer talent and by amassing important commissions.

      At Eitoku's death several other figures who had worked either in secondary collaboration or in competition with the Kanō atelier emerged as strong individualist painters. Kaihō Yūshō (1533–1615) probably trained in the Kanō studio, but his independent style, most characteristically revealed in richly nuanced ink monochrome on gold or silver background, owed much to a careful study of Zen painting. Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539–1610) arrived in Kyōto from the Noto Peninsula region to the north on the Sea of Japan. His training was thoroughly eclectic, with experience in Buddhist polychrome themes, portraiture, and ink monochrome. Through the offices of the tea master Sen Rikyū, Tōhaku gained access to important collections of Chinese painting that had greatly influenced Muromachi aesthetics. His acknowledged masterworks are in both the full-blown but delicately nuanced polychrome style and the more subtle, contemplative ink monochrome format. The latter style is exemplified by the hauntingly depicted pine trees obscured by a mist that he painted on a pair of sixfold screens. Ultimately individualists with no long-term significant school following, Yūshō and Tōhaku nevertheless provided a brilliant sense of creative variation to the Kanō dominance.

      The subject matter favoured by the military patrons was bold and aggressive, as overtly suggested in paintings of birds of prey, lions, and tigers. Slightly more subtle but equally assertive renderings of majestic rocks or trees were also popular. Some Confucian themes, reflective of the ideology that would be favoured even more forcefully under Tokugawa rule, were beginning to appear. Yet another theme endorsed by rulers and townspeople was a style of genre painting that celebrated the new prosperity and stability, both urban and agrarian. Panoramic and carefully detailed screen paintings laid out the bustling life of Kyōto emerging from the destruction of civil-war life. The observation of prosperity and pleasure-seeking spawned a style of genre painting that developed during the Edo period into quite specialized observations of the pleasure quarters of the urban centres.

      An aberrational but richly interesting thematic interlude involved the presence of Iberian merchants, diplomats, and missionaries. These Westerners were part of the vast exploration, trade, and colonization effort that reached South America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. From the time of the foreigners' first arrival in 1543 until their expulsion in the 1630s, there was a modest amount of cultural transmission. During this time the Japanese commissioned liturgical implements from the West and acquired some training in Western painting techniques. Perhaps most memorably, it became fashionable to depict Western themes and screen panoramas of the foreigners active in various Japanese settings—walking in the streets of Kyōto or arriving at ports in galleons. Unlike paintings with Japanese or Chinese themes, which are read from right to left, a telling curiosity of these screens is that they are read from left to right, suggesting by composition that the foreigners would depart. This exposure to the West seems to have had little long-term effect on the Japanese visual arts. (Later, however, via the Dutch trading settlement at Deshima in Nagasaki Harbour, Western copperplates, Chinese adaptations of Western artworks and techniques, and other secondary expressions made Japanese artists more aware of such techniques as shading, modeling, and single-point perspective.) The Iberian presence is one striking example of the spirit of the Momoyama period. Such great cultural variety, curiosity, and experimentation was no longer tolerated when the Tokugawa clan completed the unification and centralization of political leadership.

      If the Kanō school and related interpreters advanced the themes and styles of the Muromachi period to accommodate the expansive sensibilities of the new ruling class and new social phenomena in general, yet another alignment of artistic talent offered a reexamination of the themes and expressive modes of the Heian court. The renaissance of courtly taste experimented with word and image, intermixing poetry, painting or design, lush decorative papers reminiscent of famous Heian secular and religious works, and countless narrative illustrations or allusive references to the Tales of Ise and to The Tale of Genji. It was during the late Momoyama and early Edo periods that a canonical body or stock of standardized referent classical illustrations began to coalesce.

      The courtly themes were tackled by all schools but perhaps most effectively by the creative partnership of Hon'ami Kōetsu (1558–1637) and Tawaraya Sōtatsu (fl. 1600–30). Although, strictly speaking, they created most of their greatest works in the Edo period, Sōtatsu and Kōetsu developed their aesthetic sensibilities in Kyōto during the Momoyama period, and the inspiration for their later works can be found in the great creative freedom characteristic of that time.

      Kōetsu was raised in a family of sword experts, a discipline that required extensive knowledge of lacquer, metal, and leather. It implied an eye acutely attuned to delicate nuance in discerning the working of a blade. Kōetsu expanded his interests and training to include calligraphy and ceramics. He functioned as an impresario, bringing together talented craftsmen and artists to work on projects. None was more central to and intertwined with his reputation than Sōtatsu, a painter of fans. Both men, especially Kōetsu, had excellent connections with the aristocracy but came from artisan or merchant families. Working in collaboration, with Kōetsu acting as calligrapher, they created paintings and decorative backgrounds recalling the rich opaque texturing of an earlier illuminated sutra style. While both men, in other contexts, demonstrated mastery of the ink monochrome form, their works in polychromy featured a trait that would be characteristic of their followers throughout the Edo period: their images are formed through arrangements of colour patterns rather than being defined by ink outlines and embellished with colour. Ink was used more sparingly and allusively than, for example, by the Kanō painters. The effect was softening, textured, and suggestive of textile patterning. Sōtatsu's lush screen painting, said to describe the scene at Matsushima Bay on Japan's northeast Pacific coast, is a superb statement of elemental power couched in a decorative mode. Reference to the various planes of Chinese painting—near, middle, and far distance—were largely abandoned, as exposition of the surface of a material became the foremost concern.

      Sōtatsu and Kōetsu worked in collaboration with the wealthy merchant Suminokura Soan (1571–1632), beginning in 1604, to produce images and calligraphy for a series of luxury-edition printed books featuring renderings of classical and nō drama texts. This collaboration marked the earliest and one of the most beautiful efforts at a wider dissemination of the Japanese classics to an increasingly literate audience. The energies and talents that these men and their followers infused into the Japanese visual arts were thoroughly unique. It may be suggested, however, that their initial training in art forms other than painting brought new pragmatism and perspective to the painting world.

      The tea ceremony and the need for its attendant wares continued to develop during the Momoyama period. The ceremony itself enjoyed greater popularity, but the political instability of the late Muromachi and early Momoyama periods drove an important group of potters from Seto, near Nagoya, to the Mino region, somewhat northeast of their former site. It was in this area that many new and expanding commissions for tea ware were executed. Under the supervision of Mino kiln masters, subvarieties were produced, notably Shino ware, which used a rich feldspathic glaze whose random surface bursts and crackles appealed greatly to tea connoisseurs.

      Works (Oribe ware) commissioned by the tea master Furuta Oribe (1544–1615) featured aberrant or irregular shapes, adding to the random effects of firing. In the Kyōto area raku ware was the characteristic type. This was typically a hand-shaped, low-fired, lead-glazed bowl form that had been immersed in cold water or straw immediately after being removed from the hot kiln in order to produce random, unique effects on the surface. In Kyushu, probably under the direction of Korean potters, a high-fired ceramic known as Karatsu ware was introduced in the early 1590s. The plain, unsophisticated shapes and designs of Karatsu ware made it especially popular for use in the tea ceremony.

      The natural, serendipitous features of ceramics cherished by Muromachi-period tea masters embodied aesthetic qualities central to the tea philosophy. While these qualities continued to be sought during the Momoyama period, controlled peculiarities and manufactured defects were also introduced. The polished aesthetic of the Edo period was on the horizon.

The Tokugawa (Tokugawa period), or Edo, period
      At the death of the Momoyama leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598, his five-year-old son, Hideyori, inherited nominal rule, but true power was held by Hideyoshi's counselors, among whom Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) was the most prominent. Ieyasu assumed the title of shogun in 1603, and the de facto seat of government was moved from Kyōto to his headquarters in Edo (now Tokyo). Ieyasu completed his rise to power when he defeated the remaining Toyotomi forces in 1615. These events marked the beginning of more than 250 years of national unity, a period known as either Tokugawa, after the ruling clan, or Edo, after the new political centre.

      The government system implemented by the Tokugawa rulers is called the bakuhan, a combination of bakufu (“tent government,” or military shogunate) and han (“domain of a daimyo”). The new order allowed for comparative discretionary rule within the several hundred domains, but the daimyo were required to pay periodic visits to Edo and to maintain a residence there in which family members or important colleagues remained, a gentle form of hostage holding and a major factor in the city's rapid growth.

      In order to legitimize their rule and to maintain stability, the shoguns espoused a Neo-Confucian (Neo-Confucianism) ideology that reinforced the social hierarchy placing warrior, peasant, artisan, and merchant in descending order. The early economy was based on agriculture, with rice as the measured unit of wealth. The warrior, the highest-ranking member of society, was salaried on rice and soon found his net worth fluctuating as wildly as the annual harvest yields. The merchant, on the other hand, who ranked lowest because he was understood to live off the labour of others, prospered in this time of peace and dramatic urban growth, a phenomenon that gave the lie to his theoretical value in the social order. Thus, from the inception of Tokugawa rule there was an implicit tension between the realities of a strong emerging urban culture, an inefficient agrarian economy, and a promulgated ideal of social order.

      The economic power of the merchant class and the expansion of the urban centres widened the audience for the arts from the traditional base of the nobility and the political elite. New cultural forms were generated, including the Kabuki theatre and the licensed brothel quarters. In a generally restrictive and controlled society, these entertainments served as a social safety valve offered by the shogunate to the merchant class (although participation in this world was egalitarian). Their popularity opened a whole new thematic source to the visual arts as the formats of woodblock print and painting were employed to depict the many facets of the pleasure quarters.

      The shogunate's adaptation of Chinese concepts extended beyond Neo-Confucianism. China was again officially embraced as a source for models not only of good government but also of intellectual and aesthetic pursuits. The Chinese amateur scholar-painter (Chinese: wen-jen, Japanese: bunjin) was esteemed for his learning and culture and gentle mastery of the brush in calligraphy and painting. The Japanese interpretation of this model spawned important lineages of painting and patronage.

      A final Zen Buddhist migration from China in the early and mid-17th century introduced the Ōbaku Zen sect to Japan. While not on the scale of Zen influence of previous centuries, Ōbaku monks provided the Japanese with a significant window on contemporaneous Chinese culture, particularly literature, calligraphy, and painting.

      Most direct contact with foreigners was limited, however, especially after a policy of national seclusion was instituted in 1639. The Dutch trading post of Deshima in Nagasaki Harbour was Japan's primary window on the outside world, providing a steady stream of Western visual (art) images, most often in print form and frequently once removed from Europe through a Chinese interpretation. Western themes, techniques, and certain optical technology suggested new ways of seeing to Japanese artists.

      Through the 18th century the conduit at Deshima was controlled by the whims or interests of individual administrations. Tokugawa Yoshimune (reigned 1716–45), for example, allowed a considerable influx of foreign books. This was a stimulus to the great intellectual and artistic ferment of that century. In the 19th century, however, relations with the outside world ceased to be a controlled exercise in curiosity. Although Japan's limited natural resources offered no major temptation to colonizers, Western nations increased pressure on Japan to open its ports. The transition in sea travel from sail to steam put new demands on Western trading and naval fleets. Japan's strategic location, with its potential as a port for refueling and trade, was ever more evident. During the 1850s, treaties agreed to by a weakened shogunate raised the ire of many. In the south and west the domains of Chōshū and Satsuma, which held long-festering resentment of the Tokugawa reign, led rebellions during the 1860s. They overpowered the shogunal forces and “restored” the emperor in 1868, ending Tokugawa rule.

      The feelings of nationalism that contributed to the imperial restoration had begun to develop in the 18th century, when a school of nativist ideology and learning arose. Partly in response to the shogunate's emulation of Chinese culture, this mode of thinking posited the uniqueness and inherent superiority of Japanese culture. It encouraged detailed research of classical Japanese literature, formed a philosophical base for a systematization of Shintō, and promoted direct national allegiance to the emperor rather than the shogun—especially when the shogunate seemed to fail in its duty to repel the encroaching Western powers. In the visual arts this “national learning” (kokugaku) was expressed by an increase in an existing interest in courtly and classical themes.

      The development of painting during the Edo period drew energy from innovations and changes precipitated during the Momoyama period. Thematic interests, including Confucian subjects and a continuing fascination with Japanese classical themes, were already apparent in the years preceding national consolidation. Genre themes celebrating urban life became more focused during the Edo period as depictions of the activities in the pleasure quarters. The Neo-Confucian culture of the Edo period and its related influence in visual arts harked back to Muromachi-period fascination with things Chinese. Experiments in realism, significantly influenced by exposure to Western models, produced major new painting lineages. Particularly distinctive of the period was the increase in the number of important individualist artists and of artists whose eclectic training could meet the demands of varied patronage.

      The Kanō school of painters expanded and functioned as a kind of “official” Japanese painting academy. Many painters who would later begin their own stylistic lineages or function as independent and eclectic artists received their initial training in some Kanō atelier. Kanō Sanraku (1559–1635), whose bold patterning came closest among the early Kanō painters to touching the tastes stimulated by Tawaraya Sōtatsu and Hon'ami Kōetsu with their courtly revival style, provided a link to the generative energies that launched the school to its initial position of prominence. Kanō Tanyū (1602–74) solidified the dominant position of the Kanō school and significantly directed the thematic interests of the atelier. In a sense, the Kanō artists became the official visual propagandists of the Tokugawa (Tokugawa period) government. Many of their works stressed Confucian themes of filial piety, justice, and correctly ordered society. Tanyū was not only the leading painter of the school but was also extremely influential as a connoisseur and theorist. Tanyū's notebooks containing his comments and sketches of observed paintings are a major historical source. His graceful ink and light colour rendering of Jizō Bosatsu reveals brush mastery and a thoroughly familiar, playful consideration of a Buddhist image. The youthful features of the deity are conveyed as at once fleshy and ethereal. The image is decidedly different from the gentle but stately renditions of the Kamakura period.

      Two painting lineages explored the revival of interest in courtly taste: one was a consolidation of a group descending from Sōtatsu, and the other, the Tosa school, claimed descent from the imperial painting studios of the Heian times. The interpretations offered by the collaboration of Kōetsu (Hon'ami Kōetsu) and Sōtatsu in the late Momoyama period developed into a distinctive style called rinpa, an acronym linking the second syllable of the name of Ōgata Kōrin (Ogata Kōrin) (1658–1716), the leading proponent of the style in the Edo period, and ha (pa), meaning school or group. Sōtatsu himself was active into the 1640s, and his pupils carried on his distinctive rendering of patterned images of classical themes. Like Sōtatsu, Kōrin emerged from the Kyōto trades as the scion of a family of textile designers. His paintings are notable for an intensification of the flat design quality and abstract colour patterns explored by Sōtatsu and for a use of lavish materials. His homage to the Yatsu-hashi episode from the Tales of Ise is seen in a pair of screens featuring an iris marsh traversed by eight footbridges that is described in the story. Kōrin attempted this subject, with and without reference to the bridges, on several occasions and in other media, including lacquerwork. Classical literature had imbued popular culture to the extent that this single visual reference would be easily recognized by viewers of the period, permitting Kōrin to evoke a familiar mood or emotion without having to depict a specific plot incident. Other notable exponents of the rinpa style in the later years of the Edo period were Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1829) and Suzuki Kiitsu (1796–1858).

      The Tosa school, a hereditary school of court painters, experienced a period of revival thanks to the exceptional talents and political acuity of Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–91). Mitsuoki's patronage connections to the imperial household, still residing in Kyōto, provided him with an appreciative aristocratic audience for his refined narrative evocations of Heian themes and styles. A pair of screens depicting spring-flowering cherry and autumn maple strike a melancholy chord. Attached to branches of the trees are decorated slips of paper bearing classical poems inscribed by the unseen participants in traditional court outings to celebrate the seasons. The allusion to past literary glory and to a poetry party recently dispersed suggests the mood of the court now resigned to ceremonial roles under the Tokugawa dictatorship. The Tosa atelier was active throughout the Edo period. An offshoot of the school, the Sumiyoshi (Sumiyoshi Gukei) painters Jokei (1599–1670) and his son Gukei (1631–1705), produced distinctive and sprightly renderings of classical subjects. In the first half of the 19th century, a group of painters, including Reizei Tamechika (1823–64), explored ancient painting sources and offered a revival of Yamato-e style. Some, but not all, of the painters in this circle were politically active supporters of the imperial or royalist cause.

      In addition to the Kanō, rinpa, and Tosa styles of painting, which all originated in earlier periods, several new types of painting developed during the Edo period. These can be loosely classified into two categories: the individualist, or eccentric, style and the bunjin-ga, or literati painting. The individualist painters were influenced by nontraditional sources such as Western painting and scientific studies of nature, and they frequently employed unexpected themes or techniques to create unique works reflecting their often unconventional personalities.

      A lineage that formed under the genius of Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–95) might be summarily described as lyrical realism. Yet his penchant for nature studies, whether of flora and fauna or human anatomy, and his subtle incorporation of perspective and shading techniques learned from Western examples perhaps better qualify him to be noted as the first of the great eclectic painters. In addition to nurturing a talented group of students who continued his identifiable style into several succeeding generations, Ōkyo's studio also raised the incorrigible Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–99), an individualist noted for instilling a haunting preternatural quality to his works, whether landscape, human, or animal studies. Yet another of Ōkyo's associates was Matsumura Goshun (1752–1811). Goshun's career again suggests the increasingly fluid and creative disposition of Edo-period ateliers. Originally a follower of the literati painter and poet Yosa Buson (1716–83), Goshun, confounded by his master's death and other personal setbacks, joined with Ōkyo. Goshun's quick and witty brushwork adjusted to the softer, more polished Ōkyo style but retained an overall individuality. He and his students are known as the Shijō school, for the street on which Goshun's studio was located, or, in recognition of Ōkyo's influence, as the Maruyama-Shijō school. Other notable individualists of the 18th century included Soga Shōhaku (1730–81), an essentially itinerant painter who was an eccentric interpreter of Chinese themes in figure and landscape conveyed in a frequently dark and foreboding mood. Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800), son of a prosperous Kyōto vegetable merchant, was an independent master of both ink and polychrome forms. His paintings in either mode often convey the rich, densely patterned texture of produce arrayed in a market.

      The other new style of painting, bunjin-ga, is also called Nan-ga (“southern painting”) because it developed from the so-called Chinese Southern school of painting. The Chinese connoisseur and painter Tung Ch'i-ch'ang (1555–1636), in expounding his theory of the history of Chinese painting, posited a dichotomy between Northern conservative, professional painting and the Southern heterodox, expressive, and free styles. The argument, which was highly polemical and overgeneralized, nevertheless promoted the ideal of the learned scholar-gentleman who had no pecuniary or political interests and was unintimidated by the overly polished and spiritless examples of professional painting. The idiosyncratic Southern style of painting was proposed as one of the accomplishments of the literatus amateur. This notion of the true Confucian scholar ideal had exponents in 17th-century Japan who found the Neo-Confucianism promulgated by the shogunal authorities to be suspect and politically skewed. The Japanese understanding of the literati aesthetic was significantly influenced, however, by the final wave of Zen Buddhist monks who fled to Japan after the Manchu takeover of China in 1644. Monks of the Ōbaku Zen sect did not arrive on the scale of previous Zen immigrations to Japan, but they did bring a consistent point of contact and numerous examples of contemporary Chinese art (albeit of varying quality) for interested Japanese literati aspirants and artists to study.

      While the amateur ideal was pursued by many Japanese bunjin, the most remarkable of the ink monochrome or ink and light colour works were created by artists who, although generally attempting to conform to a bunjin lifestyle, were actually professionals in that they supported themselves by producing and selling their painting, poetry, and calligraphy. Especially notable artists from this tradition include the 18th-century masters Ike Taiga (1723–76) and Buson. Some of Taiga's most compelling works treat landscape themes and the melding of certain aspects of Western realism with the personal expressiveness characteristic of the Chinese bunjin ideal. Buson is remembered as both a distinguished poet and a painter. Frequently combining haiku and tersely brushed images, Buson offered the viewer jarring, highly allusive, and complementary readings of a complex emotional matrix. Uragami Gyokudō (1745–1820) achieved movements of near abstraction with shimmering, kinetic, personalized readings of nature. Tani Bunchō (1763–1840) produced paintings of great power in the Chinese mode but in a somewhat more polished and representational style. He was a marked individualist and served the shogun by applying his talents to topographical drawings used for national defense purposes. Bunchō's student Watanabe Kazan (1793–1841) was an official representing his daimyo in Edo. Through his interest in intellectual and artistic reform, he perhaps came the closest to exemplifying classic literati ideals. His accomplishments in portraiture are especially significant and reveal his keen study of Western techniques. In a conflict with the shogunate over issues ultimately relating to Japan's posture toward the international community, Kazan was imprisoned and then took his own life.

      A movement that paralleled and occasionally intersected with the aforementioned developments in painting was that of the production of ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” which depicted the buoyant, fleeting pleasures of the common people. This specialized area of visual representation was born in the late 16th and early 17th centuries as part of a widespread interest in representing aspects of burgeoning urban life. Depictions of the brothel quarters and Kabuki theatre dominated the subject matter of ukiyo-e until the early 19th century, when landscape and bird-and-flower subjects became popular. These subjects were represented in both painting and woodblock print form.

      Woodblock printing had been a comparatively inexpensive method of reproducing image and text monopolized by the Buddhist establishment for purposes of proselytization since the 8th century. For more than 800 years no other single societal trend or movement had demonstrated a need for this relatively simple technology. Thus, in the first half of the 17th century, painters were the principal interpreters of the demimonde. The print format was used primarily for production of erotica and inexpensive illustrated novellas, reflecting the generally low regard in which print art was held. This perhaps resulted from the idea that the artist, when creating a painting, was essentially the producer and master of his own work. However, when engaged in woodblock print production, the artist was more accurately classified as the designer, who had been commissioned and was often directly supervised by the publisher, usually the impresario of a studio or other commercial enterprise.

      The simplest prints were made from ink monochrome drawings, on which the artist sometimes noted suggestions for colour. The design was transferred by a skilled carver to a cherry or boxwood block and carved in relief. A printer made impressions on paper from the inked block, and the individual prints could then be hand-coloured if desired. Printing in multiple colours required more blocks and a precise printing method so that registration would match exactly from block to block. Additional flourishes such as the use of mica, precious metals, and embossing further complicated the task. Thus, while the themes and images of the floating world varied little whether in painting or print, the production method for prints involved many more anonymous and critical talents than those of the artist-designer whose name was usually printed on the single sheet, and the mass-produced prints were considered relatively disposable despite the high level of artistry that was frequently achieved. Nevertheless, with the exponential increase in literacy in the early Edo period and with the vast new patronage for images of the floating world—a clientele and subject matter not previously serviced by any of the traditional ateliers—mass production was necessary, and new schools and new techniques responded to the market.

      In the last quarter of the 17th century, bold ink monochrome prints with limited hand-colouring began to appear. “The Insistent Lover” by Sugimura Jihei (fl. c. 1681–1703) provides an excellent example of the lush and complex mood achievable with the medium. Within a seemingly uncomplicated composition Jihei represents a tipsy brothel guest lunging for a courtesan while an attendant averts her eyes. This scene, likely played out hundreds of times each evening in the urban licensed quarters, skillfully suggests the multileveled social games, including feigned shock and artful humouring of the insistent guest, that prevailed in the floating world. This print, too, with an almost naive representational quality, is an example of the generally straightforward, exuberant mood of the times in regard to the necessary indulgences.

      From the late 17th until the mid-18th century, except for some stylistic changes and the addition of a few printed, rather than hand-applied, colours, print production remained basically unchanged. The technical capacity to produce full-colour, or polychrome, prints ( nishiki-e, “brocade pictures”) was known but so labour-intensive as to be uneconomical until the 1760s, when Suzuki Harunobu (1725?–70), whose patrons were within the shogun's circle, was commissioned to produce a so-called calendar print. Calendar manufacture was a government monopoly, but privately produced works were common. Seeking to avert any censorship, the private calendars were disguised within innocent-looking pictures. Harunobu's young woman rescuing a garment from the line as a shower bursts is an example of the technique. The ideograms for the year 1765 are part of the hanging kimono's pattern. More importantly, the work is a full-colour print. Even though it was commissioned for limited distribution, it excited general audiences to the possibilities of expanding the repertoire and appearance of woodblock prints. Harunobu's productions, through the end of the decade, elegantly suggested the new possibilities. His work so raised the level of consumer expectation that publishers began to enter full-colour production on the assumption that consumption levels would outweigh production costs. Not all prints were produced with the subtlety and care of Harunobu's, but the turn in taste toward full-colour prints, of whatever quality, was irreversible.

      The last quarter of the 18th century was the heyday of the classic ukiyo-e themes: the fashionable beauty and the actor. Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–92) and his pupils dominated the actor print genre. His innovative images clearly portrayed actors not as interchangeable bodies with masks but as distinctive personalities whose postures and colourfully made-up faces were easily recognizable to the viewer. Masters at portraying feminine beauty included Torii Kiyonaga (1752–1815) and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806). Both idealized the female form, observing it in virtually all its poses, casual and formal. Utamaro's bust portraits, while hardly meeting a Western definition of portraiture, were remarkable in the emotional moods they conveyed. A mysterious artist active under the name of Tōshūsai Sharaku produced stunning actor images from 1794 to 1795, but little else is known of him.

      At the close of the 18th century, a palpable tightening of government censorship control and perhaps a shift in public interest from the intense introspection provided by artists of the demimonde forced publishers to search for other subject matter. Landscape became a theme of increasing interest. In Edo the artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), who as a young man trained with Katsukawa Shunshō, broke with the atelier system and experimented successfully with new subjects and styles. In the 1820s and '30s, when he was already a man of some age, Hokusai created the hugely popular print series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. Andō Hiroshige (Hiroshige) (1797–1858) followed with another landscape-travelogue series, Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, which offered scenes of the towns and way stations on the central highway connecting Edo and Kyōto. Both these and other artists capitalized on public interest in scenes of distant places. These landscape prints in some way assuaged the restrictive travel codes enforced by the shogunate and allowed viewers imaginative journeys.

      Hokusai was also an important painter. His energetic rendering of the Thunder God is a fine example of the quirky and amusing quality of his figural painting. A characteristic swiftly modulating brush defines the figure, and light cast from an unseen source, perhaps lightning, allows for a play of light and shadow over the figure to model a sense of body volume. All the more remarkable is the fact that Hokusai was in his 88th year when he painted this vigorous work.

      Hiroshige painted as well, but his legacy is a vast number of prints celebrating scenes of a Japan soon to vanish. His “View from Komagata Temple near Azuma Bridge” is part of a series of 100 views of Edo. It demonstrates Hiroshige's finely honed abilities to effect atmosphere. The appearance of the cuckoo screeching in the sky alludes to classical poetry associated with late spring and early summer, as well as to unrequited love, while the tiny figures and the red flag of the cosmetics vendor suggest the transitory nature of life and beauty.

      The depiction of famous views allowed for their idealization and also for important experiments with composition. Fragmentary foreground elements were used effectively to frame a distant view, a point of view adopted by some European painters after their study of 19th-century Japanese prints. Ironically, in their return to landscape and flora and fauna subjects, Japanese print arts revived the metaphoric vehicles of personal expression so familiar to the classic Japanese and Chinese painting traditions.

      Although the time-tested themes of erotica, brothel, and theatre continued to be represented in 19th-century prints, an emerging taste for gothic and grotesque subjects found ample audiences as well. Historical themes were also popular, especially those that could be interpreted as critiques of contemporary politics. ukiyo-e prints seemed to have been transformed from a celebration of pleasure to a means of widely distributing observations on social and political events. As the century closed, the print form, while active, was subsumed by the development of the newspaper illustration. This new form served many of the same purposes as prints and thus dramatically reduced the print audience, but it did not satisfy the needs of connoisseurs.

      Ceramic and decorative arts flourished in the Edo period (Tokugawa period). While it was possible in almost all areas of the visual arts to accommodate the emergence of Japanese taste from the subdued or monochrome tastes of the Muromachi period to the burst of colour and pattern that was favoured in the Momoyama period, ceramics lagged behind. As the Edo period dawned, ceramic art also was able to participate in this development. Technological and supply limitations had previously hampered the ability of Japanese potters to produce a high-fired polychrome product. That problem was rectified in the early 17th century when the chambered climbing kiln was imported from Korea. This type of kiln was able to sustain controlled, high temperatures. Also, Korean (arts, East Asian) potters working in western Japan discovered clay with a kaolin content high enough to allow vessels to be fired to the hard, fine surface classified as porcelain. In particular, white-glazed porcelain provided an excellent surface for the application of pigments to produce polychrome design patterns. Initial interest was in the imitation of Chinese blue-and-white ware, but the palette was quickly expanded.

      The potter Sakaida Kakiemon (1596–1666), active in Arita in western Japan, was a pioneer in expanding the colour range and design patterns on the newly achieved creamy white surfaces. His works were especially admired in Europe. Also produced in the Arita region, by potters working for the Nabeshima clan, was a high-fired ware most frequently seen as footed shallow plates or dishes. The designs applied to the ware were typically bold and employed combinations of Yamato-e style painting and textile patterns. Kutani ware was produced in similar shapes, although denser designs and darker colours were used in the decoration. Kutani ware was primarily commissioned by the Maeda domain and, like Nabeshima ware, was not for public consumption or export.

      Kyōto ceramics, already noted for the low-fired raku ware, responded to the fashion for porcelain with a break from the older traditions. Nonomura Ninsei (Ninsei) (fl. 17th century) is the first identifiable Kyōto potter to use the high-fired, smooth-surfaced ware as a means to offer brilliantly coloured, painterly designs. Ninsei was far less interested than his predecessors in the inherent character of a vessel's randomly produced surface. His ceramic ware ranged beyond traditional vessels and included incense burners, candle holders, and other Buddhist liturgical implements. Kyōto artists who continued variations of the Ninsei legacy—referred to, after the place of production, as kyōyaki—included Ōgata Kōrin (Ogata Kōrin)'s brother Kenzan (Ogata Kenzan) (1663–1743) and Aoki Mokubei (1767–1833). Kenzan's designs favoured uncomplicated and bold variations of rinpa painting style, while Mokubei's work reflected interest in Chinese sources. Not surprisingly, he was a member of an important circle of literati.

Lacquerware (lacquerwork)
      Throughout the Edo period, innovations in the production and design of lacquerware met the demands of a widening and appreciative audience. Extremely time-consuming to produce, the finished lacquer product is strong and resilient if properly handled. Ensembles for the study (such as writing tables and boxes to hold ink stones and brushes), furniture, and dining ware were among the most frequent uses. Paralleling in many ways the trends in ceramics, Edo-period lacquerware shifted from the sedate and simple styles of the Muromachi period as a taste for remarkably striking and complex objects developed. A delight in trompe-l'oeil was increasingly evident.

      Lacquer was typically used for constructing inrō, the small, often multitiered and compartmentalized case that hung from a gentleman's kimono sash and held small belongings. It is perhaps in this format, especially from the late 18th century, that lacquer artists were most inspired by novelty and new fashions, such as the taste for verisimilitude. A lacquer inrō could be made to look as if it were made, for example, of aged and rotting wood or animal skin. Technically remarkable and frequently ingenious in construction and design, these and other objects were the aesthetic opposites of such early lacquer examples as Negoro ware. The later efforts seemed intent on disguising rather than revealing component materials.

Architecture and garden design
 Architectural (Tokugawa period) developments reflected the major tendencies found in other aspects of the visual arts. There were the quite differing perspectives provided by the aristocratic revival and the bombastic display favoured by the newly powerful. The mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, begun in 1636 and located in the mountainous area of Nikkō, north of Edo, features an abundance of polychrome decorative carving and exaggerated curving lines and is perhaps the quintessence of the floridly decorated, ostentatious form. But much residential architecture also began to feature elaborate decorative carvings on interior and exterior panels and joints.

      The Katsura Imperial Villa, built between 1620 and 1624 on the southwestern edge of Kyōto, is the most outstanding example of a cohesive attempt to integrate a mannered interpretation of Heian styles with the architectural innovations spurred by the development of the tea ceremony. Carefully planned (garden and landscape design) meandering paths lead to and from the central structures through gardens dotted with small pavilion structures and tea huts offering orchestrated and allusive views. Perhaps a more moderate and quite beautiful example suggesting more subdued tastes within the shogunal and daimyo ranks is Kenroku Garden and its surrounding structures, located at Kanazawa, capital of the Maeda Family domain on the Sea of Japan northeast of Kyōto. In general, the Edo garden, which underwent various refinements throughout the period, is bold and beautiful but more obviously crafted than the tea gardens of the Muromachi period. Nature's flaws have been disguised and the hand of the landscaper shows clearly.

      Sculpture did not enjoy a great infusion of creativity during the Edo period. More obviously mannered and stylized interpretations of Buddhist deities and worthies were regularly produced. There were, of course, some sculptors of exceptional talent. Shōun Genkei (1648–1710) is renowned for his production (1688–95) of a set of 500 arhats (disciples of the Buddha) at Gohyaku Rakan Temple in Edo. His inspiration came from exposure to Chinese sculpture imported by Ōbaku Zen monks at Manpuku Temple to the south of Kyōto. Another expressive and thoroughly individualistic sculptor of the Edo period was the itinerant monk Enkū (1628?–95). He produced charming and rough-featured sculptures revealing bold chisel marks. His goals were to inspire faith and to proselytize. His works are totally without artifice, and the energy and power of his efforts are clearly conveyed.

Modern period
      Japan's modern period is, for the purposes of this article, defined as beginning with the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and continuing through to the present. In the Japanese system of dating, this period encompasses the Meiji period (1868–1912), the Taishō period (1912–26), the Shōwa period (1926–89), and the Heisei period (1989– ).

      Modernity for Japan has been a process of seeking definition in its cultural and political relationships with other nations, both Asian and Western. Japan's official intentions toward the West during the Meiji period can be described as a calculated attempt to achieve Western industrial standards and to absorb Western culture at every possible level. In the mid-1870s a wide variety of Western experts, including military strategists, railroad engineers, architects, philosophers, and artists, were invited to teach in Japanese universities or to in some other way assist in Japan's process of growth and change. Also during this time Japan was directly involved in two international conflicts: a war with China (1894–95) and a war with Russia (1904–05). Victorious in both these conflicts, Japan proved its ability to gear its newly established industrial base to the achievement of foreign expansionist goals. In 1910 Japan officially annexed Korea, a process it had begun in 1905 when it assumed a protectorate status over the peninsular nation. Japan's pretext was to establish a strong buffer zone against possible Western incursion, but Korea was essentially colonized as a source of labour and natural resources.

      The Taishō period was characterized politically by a strengthening of popularly elected representative bodies, an interest in universal suffrage, and a comparatively liberal mood in the arts. In retrospect it has been sometimes viewed as a romantic, euphoric period of cultural creativity following the more conservative Meiji era and preceding the militaristic mood of the 1930s. During this same period, as the Western powers with colonial and mercantile interests in Asia were forced to focus their attention on Europe during World War I (1914–18), Japan moved in to fill the vacuum, especially in China. The 1930s were characterized by a rise in militarism and further expansion on the Asian continent. This process culminated in World War II and in Japan's defeat by Western powers in 1945. The postwar period began with the Allied—almost exclusively American—occupation of Japan and was characterized by rebuilding, rapid growth and development, and increasing internationalism.

      The development of the visual arts since 1868 has been considerably influenced by changing political climates and goals. Assuming an official posture of encyclopaedic investigation and selective assimilation of Western culture and technology in the late 19th century, the Japanese cultural mainstream was systematically infused with the classical forms of Western painting, sculpture, and architecture. In the first several decades of the Meiji period, there was an upheaval in patronage and in the status of the traditional Japanese artist. The Meiji government pursued a policy of officially separating whatever elements of Buddhism and Shintō had been joined over the centuries in Buddhism's attempt at a syncretic relationship with the indigenous religion. Buddhism was stripped of many tax privileges. There was, as well, a sometimes violent and destructive reaction to Buddhism owing to strong nativist sentiments. The cumulative effect of this official dismantling and unofficial persecution was to release a remarkable amount of Buddhist art onto the market. Temples were forced to divest in order to support themselves, and the patronage supplied to artists who created Buddhist iconography was seriously curtailed. Japanese artists also suffered because of the general trend to idealize all aspects of Western culture. Vast amounts of Japanese art, woodblock prints being the foremost example, went to Western collections.

      This trend began to be reversed in the 1880s owing in part, ironically, to the efforts of Ernest Fenollosa (Fenollosa, Ernest F.) (1853–1908), a recent Harvard graduate who arrived in Japan in 1878 as a philosophy instructor at the Tokyo Imperial University (now University of Tokyo). His avocational interest in Japanese and Chinese art became his passion. The Japanese reshuffling of cultural priorities placed him in a particularly advantageous position to acquire Japanese art—especially Buddhist art—of exceptional quality for Western collections. Working with a former student, Okakura Kakuzō (1863–1913; also known as Tenshin), Fenollosa also moved forcefully to influence the Japanese to reclaim their cultural heritage and to adapt creatively to changing tastes.

      The Japanese government sponsored the participation of Japanese artists and craftsmen in various late 19th- and early 20th-century international expositions held in Europe and America. These were of some help in advancing Western knowledge of Japanese culture. Collecting of the type endorsed by Fenollosa, as well as more popular collecting inspired by the flood of Japanese arts and crafts to Western markets, caused Westerners to take notice of a theretofore unknown visual arts tradition. This Western assessment of Japanese art was done in piecemeal fashion. Some obvious and immediate results included the influence of Japanese art on European and American painters and printmakers as well as the wider trend to Japanism. This initiation of communication between disparate visual worlds began the lengthy process of asserting the Japanese fine arts tradition within the context of world culture.

      The early 20th century was not only a time of continued assimilation of Western art forms and philosophies but also a period in which traditional Japanese forms sought and achieved a new interpretive voice. With the rise of militarism, the visual arts were largely conscripted for straightforward propagandistic purposes or allowed only in thematically banal forms. Japan's defeat in World War II produced in many Japanese intellectuals and artists a distrust of the authority of the indigenous tradition, leading them to search for meaning in artistic movements and traditions abroad. Meanwhile, the postwar Allied occupation forces (1945–52) urged structural changes to ensure that Japan's cultural properties were properly honoured, protected, and made more widely available to general audiences. Censorship of contemporary materials, particularly for political content, continued to be imposed. In general, however, the occupation opened the way for international cross-cultural experimentation and the development of an “international style” that persists to the present.

Western-style painting
      As early as 1855, preceding the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese established a bureau (later named Bansho Shirabesho, “Institute for the Study of Western Documents”) to study Western painting as part of an effort to master Western technology. Technical drawing was emphasized in the curriculum. Takahashi Yuichi (1828–94), a graduate of that bureau, was the first Japanese artist of the period to express an artistic rather than strictly technical interest in oil painting. Through self-training and in consultation with the British illustrator Charles Wirgman (1835–91), then in Japan, his level of mastery increased. His “Still Life of Salmon” (1877), one of seven known attempts by Takahashi at the subject, elevates this ordinary subject to a splendid study of form and colour.

      A school of fine arts was established in 1876, and a team of Italian artists was hired to teach Western techniques. Most influential among them was Antonio Fontanesi (1818–81). Active as an instructor in Japan for only a year, Fontanesi, a painter of the Barbizon school, established an intensely loyal following among his Japanese students. His influence is seen in the works of Asai Chū (1856–1907), who later studied in Europe. Asai's contemporary Kuroda Seiki (1866–1924) studied in France under Raphael Collin and was among the most prominent exponents of a style that was strongly influenced by Impressionism in its informality and its use of lighter, brighter colours.

      In general it can be observed that in the Meiji period there was an initial calculated strategy to study Western representational methods for the larger purpose of bringing Japan to a perceived level of modernity. However, a small but influential group of painters became involved in a cross-cultural exchange that could not be controlled by government planning. Oil paintings that vary in skill of execution from awkward to highly competent were produced during this time. Unlike the comparatively sympathetic modes of painting that Japan assimilated from China, Western painting posed conceptual as well as technical challenges. Not only did unfamiliar materials such as oil and canvas have to be mastered but also new theories of composition, shading, and perspective—and the underlying Western philosophy of nature and its representation that had led to their development over the centuries—had to be absorbed.

      The close of the Meiji period saw greater rigidification of painting schools, affiliations, and systems of official recognition through annual exhibitions. There were government-sponsored exhibitions and associations as well as protest salon or secessionist groups indicating a lively spirit of resistance to official control.

      An increasingly sophisticated understanding of European art and cultural trends marked the Taishō period. The humanistic literary journal Shirakaba (“White Birch”) was devoted to and highly influential on these subjects, and it was instrumental in introducing Japanese artists to European Impressionism and Postimpressionism. Its publication period (1910–23) essentially spanned the Taishō era. The paintings of Kishida Ryūsei (1891–1929) exemplify the extensive assimilation of sympathetic European moods into a Japanese mode. Kishida was a devoted follower of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and later of artists of the Northern Renaissance such as Albrecht Dürer and Jan van Eyck. “Reiko with a Woolen Shawl” (1921), Kishida's portrait of his six-year-old daughter, attributes a knowing maturity to the sitter, an effect achieved, in part, through a slight distortion of features to produce a gnomelike adult visage.

      The conscription of efforts during the war years enforced on the visual arts choices of severe puritanism, blithe optimism, or heroism. The work of Umehara Ryūzaburō (1888–1986) is a case in point. In the early 20th century he studied with Asai Chū and in France with Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Renoir, Pierre-Auguste). His ebullient palette and love of patterning, as seen in his famous “Tzu-chin-ch'eng Palace” (1940), convey a cheerful mood. Not revealed in the painting is its occasion: the artist is present in Peking (Beijing) as part of an occupying force in the midst of war.

      In the postwar period Japanese artists enjoyed widely increased access to Western sources and the ability to travel more freely in the West. As a result, practitioners of virtually all modern artistic movements and styles—including abstract expressionism, minimal and kinetic art, op and pop art—can be found in Japan.

Japanese-style painting
      Paralleling the intensive and systematic study of Western painting methods was a steady process of renewal occurring in the field of traditional painting. Fenollosa was particularly instrumental in redirecting and salvaging the careers of two important late 19th-century painters, Kanō Hōgai (1828–88) and Hashimoto Gahō (1835–1908). Fenollosa had particular notions about the ways these traditional Kanō-school painters could adapt their techniques in order to create a more exciting and, perhaps to Western eyes, a more marketable product. He encouraged the use of chiaroscuro, brilliant palettes, Western spatial perspective, and dramatic atmospherics, and these techniques were indeed effective in creating new interest in the previously moribund forms of traditional Kanō painting.

      A generation of painters inspired by the success of Hōgai and Gahō sought to expand the technical adaptations of these masters. Shimomura Kanzan (1873–1930), Yokoyama Taikan (1868–1958), and Hishida Shunsō (1874–1911) stand at the beginning of the nihonga (“Japanese painting”) movement, in which traditional Japanese pigments were used but with a thematic repertoire much expanded. Format was no longer limited to scroll or screen and included occasional Western framed paintings. Shimomura's portrait of Okakura Kakuzō pays homage to Okakura's role as a mentor to the movement. This is a preparatory sketch for a completed portrait unfortunately destroyed in the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. Yokoyama and Hishida sought out more international, often Asian, themes. Their nihonga used the materials of traditional Yamato-e painting but, like the later Kanō paintings, incorporated heightened dramatic and atmospheric effects.

      Maeda Seison (1885–1977), prominent in the next generation of nihonga artists, which also included Imamura Shikō (1880–1916), Yasuda Yukihiko (1884–1978), Kobayashi Kokei (1883–1957), and Hayami Gyoshū (1894–1935), employed an eclectic assortment of earlier Japanese painting techniques. At Okakura's suggestion he studied rinpa. His use of tarashikomi, a classic rinpa technique that achieves shading through pooling successive layers of partially dried pigment, clearly points out his wide-ranging adaptation of traditional techniques. Seison and others of his period were especially fond of historical subjects.

      A somewhat distinct tradition of nihonga developed in Kyōto, finding natural precedents in the lyrical realism of the Maruyama- Shijō school of painters. Takeuchi Seihō (1864–1942) was the most successful proponent of this lineage. Interestingly, his most distinguished student was Uemura Shōen (1875–1949), a woman who revived a style reminiscent of ukiyo-e beauty portraits but instead idealized women in domestic settings.

      Nihonga continued to flourish after World War II. This essentially traditional style was energized, like other Japanese art forms, by the openness of the postwar years. Traditional themes of flora, fauna, and landscape were joined by abstractions and by modern urban and industrial scenes. The resulting works, which use traditional pigments and brushes, provide a curious Japanese version of modernism.

      The literati movement seemed to proceed with the least disruption of any of the traditional lineages. Tomioka Tessai (1837–1924) stands out as perhaps the latest of the literati masters. Noted for dense, rough brushwork and occasionally jarring choices in bright pigments, his creations were animated, cheerful evocations of Sung dynasty poetry.

Woodblock prints
      The world of woodblock prints was profoundly affected by the changes ushered in during the Meiji (Meiji Restoration) period. The print medium had long served both connoisseur and general audience. With the advent of mass-circulation newspapers, however, the latter group was co-opted. Illustrators and designers produced reportorial images and cartoons for newspapers, satisfying the public demand for illustration but removing a large block of economic support from the traditional print publishers. Print artists nevertheless continued to document the remarkably varied moods of the period. For example, a type of print known as Yokohama-e, named after the Japanese port city with a large resident foreign population, offered glimpses of the customs and appearances of the recently arrived visitors. Brutal, grotesque, and dark-humoured visions by such artists as Kawanabe Gyōsai (1831–89) and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–92) suggested that assimilation with the West was a socially and psychically traumatic process. Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915), a student of Charles Wirgman as well as of Gyōsai, is best known for his prints illustrating the Sino-Japanese War and for his highly successful visions of contemporary Tokyo.

      In the early 20th century two general currents moved the print world. The shin hanga (“new print”) movement sought to revive the classic ukiyo-e prints in a contemporary and highly romanticized mode. Landscapes and women were the primary subjects. Watanabe Shōsaburō (1885–1962) was the publisher most active in this movement. His contributing artists included Kawase Hasui (1883–1957), Hashiguchi Goyō (1880–1921), Yoshida Hiroshi (1876–1950), and Itō Shinsui (1898–1972). Hashiguchi was determined to have complete control over his artistic output, and his tenure as a Watanabe artist was brief. His prints numbered only 16 and were mostly studies of Taishō women in a fashion thoroughly reminiscent, in technique and in composition, of Utamaro.

      The other woodblock print trend was sōsaku hanga, or “creative print,” a movement modeled on European approaches to print production. The artist, instead of consigning his designs to the carvers and printers employed by the publisher, performed all aspects of production. This was a philosophy of total engagement with the work. The leader of this movement was Onchi Kōshirō (1891–1955). Also prominent was Yamamoto Kanae (1882–1946). A notable feature of sōsaku hanga works was a movement toward defining shapes using colour rather than outlines, as in traditional woodblock prints.

      The print medium continues to be a particularly fertile arena of development in the Japanese visual arts. The use of the woodblock print has largely been usurped by lithography and other techniques, although there are periodic resurgences of interest in woodblock. Themes vary widely from traditional representational to abstract. The relatively inexpensive and easily portable format has made the modern Japanese print, and thus Japanese visions of modernity, widely available to international collectors.

      Sculpture in the modern period was most productive in the bronze medium. The Italian Vincenzo Ragusa, along with other foreign technical experts recruited in the late 1870s, was a major influence in instructing young Japanese artists in bronze casting, although he privately despaired of their abilities at three-dimensional conceptualization. Japanese sculptors applied the new format to nonreligious subjects, including portraits and studies of anonymous subjects in a celebration of Japanese physical types. Takamura Kōtarō (1883–1956) was particularly influenced by Auguste Rodin, as was Ogiwara Morie (1879–1910), who produced notably fine heroic figures.

      In the postwar period, Japanese sculptors and their works became more visible at international art fairs and competitions. As in other media, traditional formats fell from favour. Abstract forms have dominated the contemporary sculptural field, which has also been marked by experimentation with diverse materials. Installation art has joined the larger sculptural repertoire, and outdoor sitings—both in open natural spaces and in urban environments—have attracted much interest. Massive creations in bamboo and other works that interact with the environment are especially popular.

      In addition to the continuation of various traditional lineages, the most significant development in ceramics of the modern period was the return to folkcraft tastes. Yanagi Sōetsu (1889–1961) espoused anonymity, functionality, and simplicity as a corrective to the industrialism and self-aggrandizement characteristic of the age. In league with potters such as the British artist Bernard Leach (Leach, Bernard) (1887–1979), Hamada Shōji (1894–1978), and Kawai Kanjirō (1890–1966), Yanagi engendered a robust, charming type of ceramic which recalled the wares that appealed to tea masters of the Muromachi and Momoyama periods. Kitaōji Rosanjin (1883–1959) was the major exponent of highly decorated work in the Kutani and later kyōyaki traditions. His role was largely as designer and production manager. Long associated with a famous restaurant, he was most conscious of the choreography of a total sensory experience in which his wares were an essential element.

      Contemporary Japanese ceramics follows both traditional and abstract lines. Developments have been marked by wide experimentation in form and a general movement from traditional, functional pieces to “art” or sculptural works. The line between sculptor and ceramicist has become increasingly blurred.

      Japanese architecture created from the last quarter of the 19th century is remarkable in its rapid assimilation of Western architectural forms and the structural technology necessary to achieve results quite foreign to traditional Japanese sensibilities. Large-scale official and public buildings were no longer constructed of wood but of reinforced brick, sometimes faced with stone, in European styles. Steel-reinforced concrete was introduced in the Taishō period, allowing for larger interior spaces.

      As part of the Meiji government's general thrust to quickly import Western specialists to function both as practitioners and instructors, the two main influences notable in the field of architecture are English and German. The English architect and designer Josiah Conder (1852–1920) arrived in Japan in 1877. His eclectic tastes included adaptations of a number of European styles, and the work of his Japanese students was significant through the second decade of the 20th century. The Bank of Japan (1890–96) and Tokyo Station (1914), designed by Tatsuno Kingo (1854–1919), and the Hyōkeikan (1901–09), now an archaeological museum within the complex of buildings at the Tokyo National Museum, and the Akasaka Detached Palace (1909), both by Katayama Tōkuma (1853–1917), are but a few of the best-known examples of Japanese attempts at stately monumentality in a Western mode.

      The German architects Hermann Ende and Wilhelm Böckmann were active in Japan from the late 1880s. Their expertise in the construction of government ministry buildings was applied to the growing complex of such structures in the Kasumigaseki area of Tokyo. The now much-altered Ministry of Justice building (1895) is a major monument to their work. The Germans also trained a group of protégés, including Tsumaki Yorinaka (1859–1916). His design of the Nippon Kangyō Bank (1899; no longer extant) and Okada Shinichirō's (1883–1932) Kabuki Theatre (1924) in Tokyo are representative of attempts to combine the grand scale of Western buildings with such traditional elements of Japanese architecture as tiled hip-gabled roofs, curved Chinese gables, and curved, overhanging eaves.

      The striving for monumentality reached its most awkward form in the highly nationalistic period of the 1930s. The Tokyo National Museum (1937) by Watanabe Hitoshi and the Diet Building (1936), Tokyo, designed by Watanabe Fukuzo are examples of massive, blocky scale without grandeur.

      Frank Lloyd Wright's (Wright, Frank Lloyd) Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (1915–22; dismantled in 1967) seemed to have little lasting influence, although Wright's creations in the West revealed his indebtedness to his perceptions of the Japanese aesthetic. Similarly, the Bauhaus movement stirred interest in Japan, but Walter Gropius (Gropius, Walter) was even more thoroughly impressed and influenced by such Japanese classics as the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyōto.

      Postwar architecture, while widely eclectic and international in scope, has seen its most dramatic achievements in contemporary interpretations of traditional forms. The structures created for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by Tange Kenzō (b. 1913) evoke early agricultural and Shintō architectural forms while retaining refreshing abstraction. The residential and institutional projects of Andō Tadao (b. 1941) are marked by stark, natural materials and a careful integration of building with nature. In general, Japanese architects of the 20th century have been fully conversant in Western styles and active in developing a meaningful modern style appropriate to Japanese sites.

James T. Ulak

Music
      A study of the music of East Asia covers historical periods of changing styles from at least 2000 BC to the present time. After a general introduction, the development of the musical systems of China, Korea, and Japan will be reviewed separately in chronological order.

The nature of East Asian music
East Asian music vis-à-vis that of other major cultures
      East Asia can be viewed as one of the big four among the generally urban, literate cultural areas of the world. The other three are South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Around each of these major regional cultures one can find many satellite musical systems known as national forms. In most cases, the fundamental musical concepts of such national forms reflect the basic ideals of the cultural core. For example, the musics of Iran and Egypt are of one family, as are those of France and Sweden or of China and Japan. A possible fifth addition to the “big four” concept is the Southeast Asian musical culture characterized by the use of knobbed gongs. Its documents on music theory from the 18th to the 20th century combine South and East Asian concepts with indigenous insights. Its most distinctive aspects are its instrument types and resulting ensembles and forms.

      Using instrument type alone as a measure, it is sometimes possible to note cultural influences and mixtures of the major traditions in smaller units. For example, the physical structure and playing positions of various bowed instruments in mainland Southeast Asia can often mark clearly Chinese influence, as in Vietnam, or Muslim and Chinese forms in confluence, as in the various bowed lutes of courtly ensembles in Cambodia and Thailand. By the same token, the appearance of flat gongs (gong) in mainland Southeast Asia shows Chinese connections, while the knobbed gongs clearly stem from Southeast Asian culture proper.

Concepts of music
      If one turns to distinctions in musical style, one of the first questions to arise is “What is music?” Two basic definitions will suffice for the present discussion. The first definition is cultural: a sonic event can be called music if the people who use it call it music, regardless of one's own reaction to it. Similarly, certain events that sound musical to foreign ears are not music culturally if they are not accepted as such by native culture carriers. A good example of such a situation is found in the Middle East, where singing is never allowed in the mosque, though one may hear performances and even buy records of “readings” from the Qurʾān. Such cultural and functional problems of definition seldom arise in East Asian music, and a more neutral definition is appropriate. A sound event may be considered and studied as music if it combines the elements of pitch, rhythm, and loudness in such a way that they communicate emotionally, aesthetically, or functionally on the levels that either transcend or are unrelated to speech communication. Those who have been moved by a love song or a lament can well appreciate some of the implications of such a view of music. When listening to “exotic” music—i.e., that of a tradition outside one's own background—it is important to remember that such transcendental values are at work for the alien listener as well as for listeners familiar with the particular musical language in use.

      There are many kinds of music in the world, the three most common terms being folk, popular, and art music. Folk and popular music have their special indigenous and mixed forms in Asia (as in all the world today), but it is in the literate art traditions of Asia that historical and musical distinctions can be made most clearly. In the context of this discussion, art music is defined as a tradition having, to some degree, a conscious theoretical basis and a sense of repertoire that is played against the highest standards held by informed native listeners. The performer is often a professional, and there may be a known historical depth to the traditions. Thus, there may be art music in many nonliterate cultures such as that of the Australian Aborigines and that of the tribal courts of Africa. Here, however, the major concern is with one of the large urban, literate cultures and its three national variants. Before looking at these musical systems in detail, it is useful to compare the entire culture with those of the other major “big” three, South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Theoretical systems
      All four major literate cultures, in their ancient forms, laid a strong emphasis on the extramusical qualities of music. For example, the study of such concepts as the power of vibrations (in ancient Indian music theory) and the relationships between music and other elements in the universe (in Assyrian records as well as in the writings of medieval European scholars) can be matched in East Asia by the joint efforts of Chinese musicologists and astrologers to bring the music of the empire in tune with the universe.

      In addition, all four cultures developed mathematically and acoustically based music theories. The pitches (pitch) produced by dividing the length of a string were the basis of the three non-East Asian music theories. String acoustics were known in China as well, but, as described below, East Asian writings use the overtones of end-blown bamboo tubes to illustrate their systems. It is fascinating that, whatever their origin, the Middle Eastern and South Asian theories produced highly variable tone systems while the two ends of the old continent (i.e., the West and China) generated 12 tones based on a cycle of pitches 5 tones apart (such as C to G to D in the West). This cycle of fifths produced 12 pitches that were mathematically correct, but the 13th pitch did not match the 1st pitch. In the West this so-called “Pythagorean comma” became bothersome as Western music oriented toward vertical sounds called harmony in which the distance between pitches in chords needed to be the same in every key. In the 17th century Western acousticians developed a formula that allowed them to bypass the “natural” tone system by making all pitches equidistant. The same formula was discovered by a Chinese mathematician and musicologist, Chu Tsai-yü, in the late 16th century; but such “well-tempered” tuning was not accepted in Chinese music practice until very recently, when Western music styles combined with indigenous traditions. This is one reason why Asian music sometimes sounds “out of tune” to Western ears.

      The scientific base of music is reshaped by each culture into a system that meets its needs and tastes. There are differences in the sound, the instrumentation, and the forms of Western and Eastern music. Many will be noted in the subsequent chronological study of East Asian music. However, if the wonder of such variants is to be fully appreciated, it must be understood that music is not in fact an international language. It consists of a whole series of equally logical but sometimes very different closed systems. The word closed is used to mean that the musical facets mesh perfectly within a given system, but they often may prove difficult or impossible to transfer to another system. In this light, a given passage of Chinese music when analyzed or judged with the logic of Beethoven is chaos, but Beethoven seems equally illogical when viewed in the context of Chinese, or for that matter Indian, music theory. Such intercultural clashes can be constructed between almost any of the larger systems. In this context, one can see that Chinese music is tonally more foreign to Middle Eastern or Indian music than to Western, though historically it had closer relations with the other two. There are, of course, many other musical concepts and styles that traveled over the Silk Road between China and other parts of Asia; but these must be held aside until the discussion of the history of Chinese music.

Musical traits common to East Asian cultures
   In these primary considerations a view of some general aesthetic traditions common to much of East Asian music is also requisite. The tonal vocabulary of 12 tones generated in a cycle of fifths is the first common factor. From this tonal vocabulary various scales of five to seven notes are chosen. Specific examples are found below in each area study. As in the West, the total number of notes in an East Asian scale is often seven, but each scale tends to have what could be called a five-tone (pentatonic) core (see notations III—>, VIII—>, and IX—>). The one scale in which no half steps appear (the so-called anhemitonic pentatonic) is common all over the world, although casual listeners often mistake it as being characteristically “Oriental.” A study of the scales found in this article or a few moments spent listening to authentic East Asian recordings will reveal clearly that the five black notes on the piano do not represent all the sonic resources of Asian music. Indeed, there are a great variety of East Asian musics. Some are historically related and others are indigenous. Their three most common characteristics are linearity, transparency, and word orientation.

      Linearity means an emphasis on melodic tension and release supported by or held in further tension by rhythmic devices. This line-and-rhythm orientation and lack of interest in Western-style harmony are, in fact, major distinctions between most of the world's music and that of the West. In traditional East Asian music, as well as in most other non-Western traditions, all melodic instruments play the same basic melody. No one fills in the texture with chords. If harmonic texture is used, its function is to provide colour rather than to generate tension or release by chord progression. Heterophony (more than one version of the melody being heard at the same time) may occur to enrich the line. The sense of moving through a time continuum toward an ending, however, is basically developed through the tension produced during the wait for a pitch to resolve to a pitch of rest just one tone above or below. In Western single line (monophonic) music one feels this melodic tension when, for example, in C major the note B or D resolves to C. A Westerner may feel an additional sense of harmonic accompaniment in such an example. While such harmonic orientation is not part of traditional East Asian listening and although the scales and pitches may be different in East and West, this basic principle of melodic tension is the same.

      Transparency refers to the preference in East Asian music for chamber-music sound ideals; no matter how large an ensemble may be, the individual instruments are meant to be heard. This differs from the orchestral sound ideal, popular in 19th-century Western music, in which the intention is to merge the sounds of the individual instruments into one musical colour. A transparent texture is a logical choice for a tradition that wishes to emphasize lines; orchestral colour helps to merge various lines into single vertical sonic events called harmony.

      Word orientation refers to the fact that until the 20th century there was little abstract instrumental music, such as a sonata or a concerto, in East Asia. A piece had either a text or a title that evoked an image, such as “Moon over the River” or “Spring Sea.” Perhaps this relates to a general sensitivity to nature in East Asian culture as a whole. Whatever its source, it has produced many sonorous and pleasing results.

The music of China
      One always approaches any survey of Chinese music history with a certain sense of awe—for what can one say about the music of a varied, still active civilization whose archaeological resources go back to 3000 BC and whose own extensive written documents refer to endless different forms of music in connection with folk festivals and religious events as well as in the courts of hundreds of emperors and princes in dozens of different provinces, dynasties, and periods? If a survey is carried forward from 3000 BC, it becomes clear that the last little segment of material, from the Sung dynasty (AD 960–1279) to today, is equivalent to the entire major history of European music. For all the richness of detail in Chinese sources, it is only for this last segment that there is information about the actual music itself. Yet the historical, cultural, instrumental, and theoretical materials of earlier times are equally informative and fascinating. This mass of information will be organized into four large chronological units: (1) the formative period, from 3000 BC through the 4th century AD, (2) the international period, from the 4th through the 9th century, (3) the national period, from the 9th through the 19th century, and (4) the world music period of the 20th century.

Formative period

Ancient artifacts and writings.
      Chinese writings claim that in 2697 BC the emperor Huang-ti (Huangdi) sent a scholar, Ling Lun, to the western mountain area to cut bamboo pipes that could emit sounds matching the call of the phoenix bird, making possible the creation of music properly pitched for harmony between his reign and the universe. Even this charming symbolic birth of music dates far too late to aid in discovering the melodies and instrumental sounds accompanying the rituals and burials that occurred before the first historically verified dynasty, the Shang (mid-16th to mid-11th century BC). The beautiful sounds of music are evanescent, and before the invention of recordings they disappeared at the end of a performance. The remains of China's most ancient music are found only in those few instruments made of sturdy material. Archaeological digs have uncovered globular clay ocarinas (hsün), tuned stone chimes (ch'ing), and bronze bells (chung); and the word ku, for drum, is found incised on Shang oracle bones.

      The earliest surviving written records are from the next dynasty, the Chou (Zhou dynasty) (1111–255 BC). Within the famous Five Classics (Wujing) of that period, it is in the Li chi (Liji) (“Record of Rites”) of the 2nd century BC that one finds an extensive discussion of music. The I Ching (Yijing) (“Classic of Changes”) is a diviner's handbook built around geometric patterns, cosmology, and magic numbers that indirectly may relate to music. The Ch'un-ch'iu (Chunqiu) (“Spring and Autumn”) annals, with its records of major events, and the Shu Ching (Shujing) (“Classic of History”), with its mixture of documents and forgeries, contain many references to the use of music, particularly at court activities. There are occasional comments about the singing of peasant groups, which is an item that is rare even in the early historical materials of Europe. The Shih Ching (Shijing) (“Classic of Poetry”) is of equal interest, for it consists of the texts of 305 songs that are dated from the 10th to the 7th centuries BC. Their great variety of topics (love, ritual, political satire, etc.) reflect a viable vocal musical tradition quite understandable to modern radio or record listeners. The songs also include references to less durable musical relics such as the flutes, mouth organ (sheng), and, apparently, two forms of the zither (the ch'in and the se).

Aesthetic principles and extramusical associations
      Despite the controversial authenticity and dates of ancient Chinese written sources, a combined study of them produces tantalizing images of courtly parties, military parades, and folk festivals; but it does not provide a single note of music. Nevertheless, in keeping with the prehistoric traditions of China, the philosophies of sages, such as Confucius (K'ung-fu-tzu, 551–479 BC) and Mencius (Meng-tzu, c. 371–c. 289 BC), and the endless scientific curiosity of Chinese acousticians furnish a great deal of rather specific music theory as well as varied aesthetic principles. The straightest path to this material is found on the legendary journey, mentioned earlier, of Ling Lun in search of bamboo pipes. The charm of such a tale tends to cloud several interesting facts it contains. First, it is noteworthy that the goal of the search was to put music in tune with the universe. This extramusical need was noted earlier in the general discussion of world music history. It is upheld in theory in the “Annotations on Music” (“Yüeh-chi”) section of the Li chi with such comments as “Music is the harmony of heaven and earth while rites are the measurement of heaven and earth. Through harmony all things are made known, through measure all things are properly classified. Music comes from heaven, rites are shaped by earthly designs.” Referring back to the previously given general definition of music, it can be seen that such cosmological ideals may be not merely ancient superstitions but actually cogent insights into the cultural function of music in human societies. Confucius, as pictured in The Analects written long after his death, had a similar view of music, including a concern for the choice of music and modes proper for the moral well-being of a gentleman. It is an open question as to how much performance practice followed the admonitions and theories of the scholars; but centuries later one finds numerous pictures of the wise man standing before some natural beauties while his servant follows closely behind him carrying his seven-stringed zither (ch'in) for proper use in such a proper setting.

      Another point to be noted in the legend of the origin of music is the fact that Ling Lun went to the western border area of China to find the correct bamboo. It shall be noted as this article progresses how often cultures from Central and West Asia or tribal China influenced the growth and change of music in Imperial China. Finally, it is significant that, although the emperor in the myth was primarily concerned with locating pipes that would bring his reign into harmony with the universe, the goal was also the creation of precise, standard pitches.

Tonal system and its theoretical rationalization
 As noted earlier, harmonic pitches produced by the division of strings were known in China. They may have been used to tune sets of bells or stone chimes, but the classical writings on music discuss a 12-tone system in relation to the blowing of bamboo pipes (lü (lü pipes)). The first pipe produces a basic pitch called yellow bell (huang-chung). This concept is of special interest because it is the world's oldest information on a tone system concerned with very specific pitches as well as the intervals between them. The precise number of vibrations per second that created the yellow bell pitch is open to controversy (between middle C-sharp (C♯) and the F above) because the location of this pitch could be changed by the work of new astrologers and acousticians on behalf of a new emperor, in order that his kingdom might stay in tune with the universe. (The note C is used in notation I—> in deference to Western readers; it should not be assumed that a pitch identical to C♯ was necessarily central to ancient Chinese music). The choice of the primary pitch in China had extramusical as well as practical applications, for the length of the yellow bell pipe became the standard measure (like a metre); and the number of grains of rice that would fill it were used for a weight measure. Thus, the pipe itself was often the property not of the Imperial music department but of the office of weights and measurements.

Mathematical relationship of pitches
 The bamboo pipe is closed at the bottom by a node in the bamboo, with the result that another pitch a fifth and one octave higher could be produced on it by blowing more strongly (overblowing) as shown in notation I—>. This new pitch could be produced an octave lower by constructing a separate pipe two-thirds the size of the first one. If one then continued to construct pipes alternately four-thirds and two-thirds the length of the previous ones, an entire system of 12 notes could be generated, which is, with the exception of the means of creation, acoustically and proportionately in the same relation as is found in the Greek Pythagorean system. The English versions of the Chinese names for the 12 pitches seem quite fanciful; but they represent theoretically correct pitches, as do terms used in the Western traditional system, such as C or A-flat (A♭). The source of each name in the Chinese system is conjectural; but Chinese classical acousticians, like modern Western scientists, no doubt found value in creating a professional nomenclature that was divorced from everyday speech and potentially descriptive of the nature of the object. For example, the use of bell names may relate to the gradual preference for tuned bells over pipes in the music division of the courts. Names like “old purifier” and “equalizing rule” may refer to the pitch problems of the Pythagorean comma mentioned earlier.

 A new interpretation of Chinese theory occurred in the late 20th century with the discovery of sets of 4th- and 5th-century tuned bells (bell). Some of the bells produce two pitches and have the pitch names written at the two striking places. This information led to the development of a 12-pitch theory in which 5 pitches are generated in a cycle of fifths, and the 7 remaining pitches are located a major third above or below the first 4. If one starts from the Western C, the tones would appear as seen in notation II—>. The actual sounds produced on these ancient bells do not always match the pitch name given, but recent findings imply that it might have been possible to modulate to new pitch centres and different scales.

Scales and modes
 For both Western and Chinese traditions, the 12 pitches are merely a tonal vocabulary from which a specific ordering of a limited number of pitches can be extracted and reproduced on different pitch levels. Such limited structures are called a scale. With a set scale it is possible to emphasize different notes in such a way that they seem to be the pitch centre. Such variations of pitch centre within a scale are called modes (mode). In the Western traditional systems most scales use seven tones that can be transposed and that contain modes. For example, C major (C–D–E–F–G–A–B) can be made a Dorian mode by using D as the pitch centre without changing the pitches used (D–E–F–G–A–B–C), and the whole scale and its modes can be transposed to a higher or lower pitch level (F major, E♭ major, etc.). The Chinese system concentrates in a similar way on a seven-tone scale (heptatonic scale) but with a five-tone core (wu sheng) plus two changing (pien) tones, as shown in notation III—>.

 The notes of a scale (a set of intervals not tied to specific pitches) are often indicated in Western music with syllables such as do re mi. The Chinese equivalent terms for notes in their classical scale are given in notation III—>. As in the Western system, modes can be constructed in Chinese music, and the scale can be transposed. From these comments it can be seen that the mythical emperor Huang-ti seems to have founded a very thorough system indeed. Throughout the Ch'in (221–206 BC) and Han (206 BC– AD 220) dynasties Imperial systems were tuned and retuned to meet Imperial and heavenly needs. As noted above, theoretical sophistications and experimentations continue on to the present day. How far back they may go in time is unknown, but in the late 20th century there have been discovered stone chimes from the 2nd millennium BC that imply by their tunings that the Chinese classical tone system tradition may actually be as ancient as the legends claim. It is a pity that the music was not equally durable.

Extramusical associations
      Returning to the extramusical aspects of the Chinese system, one finds that the five fundamental tones are sometimes connected with the five directions or the five elements, while the 12 tones are connected by some writers with the months of the year, hours of the day, or phases of the moon. The 12 tones also can be found placed in two sets of 6 on Imperial panpipes (p'ai-hsiao) in keeping with the female-male (yin-yang) principle of Chinese metaphysics. Their placement is based on the generation of the pitches of each pipe by its being either four-thirds larger or two-thirds smaller than the previous one, the smaller ones being female.

Classification of instruments
      The Chinese talent for musical (musical instrument) organization was by no means limited to pitches. Another important ancient system called the eight sounds (pa yin) was used to classify the many kinds of instruments used in Imperial orchestras. This system was based upon the material used in the construction of the instruments, the eight being stone, earth (pottery), bamboo, metal, skin, silk, wood, and gourd. The sonorous stones, ocarinas, and flutes mentioned earlier are examples from the first three categories. The bells are obvious metal examples. Another ancient member of the metal category is a large bronze drum (t'ung-ku), which is of special interest because of the widespread distribution of archaeological examples of it throughout Southeast Asia. Equally intriguing are the designs and sounds of the bronze head of the drum as well as the frequent statues of frogs around the rim of the head. Han dynasty military expeditions to the south report that bronze drums among southern peoples represented the spirit of rain and water and rumbled like bullfrogs. The possession of such bronze drums or later gongs was, and still is, prestigious among tribal groups in Southeast Asia.

      Stringed instruments (stringed instrument) of ancient China belong to the silk class because their strings were never gut or metal but twisted silk. Drums are skin instruments, whereas percussive clappers are wood. One of the most enjoyable members of the wooden family is the yü (you), a model of a crouching tiger with a serrated ridge or set of slats along its back that were scratched by a bamboo whisk in a manner recalling the various scratched gourds (gourd) of Latin American bands. The Chinese category of gourd is reserved for one of the most fascinating of the ancient instruments, the sheng mouth organ. Seventeen bamboo pipes are set in a gourd or sometimes in a wooden wind chest. Each pipe has a free metal reed at the end encased in the wind chest. Blowing through a mouth tube into the wind chest and closing a hole in a pipe with a finger will cause the reed to sound, and melodies or chord structures may be played. Many variants of this instrumental principle can be found in Southeast Asia, and it is not possible to know with assurance where this wind instrument first appeared. Western imitations of it are found in the reed organ and, later, in the harmonica and the accordion.

Han dynasty: musical events and foreign influences
      The extensive work in theory and classification in ancient times implies that there must have been an equally large amount of performance practice. Modern information on all these elements of music has suffered because of the destruction of many books and musical instruments under the order of Shih Huang-ti (Shihuangdi), emperor of the Ch'in dynasty. Yet there are several survivals from the Han dynasty that do give some insight into how the musical events took place. In the court and the Confucian temples there were two basic musical divisions: banquet music (yen-yüeh) and ritual music (ya-yüeh). Dances in the Confucian rituals were divided into military (wu-wu) and civil (wen-wu) forms. The ensembles of musicians and dancers could be quite large, and ancient listings of their content were often printed in formation patterns in a manner analogous in principle to those of football marching bands in America today. Rubbings from Han tomb tiles show more informal and apparently very lively music and dance presentations at social affairs. The early Chinese character for dance (wu) implies movement by the body more than by the feet. The folk sources of many of the songs from the Shih Ching and later books show that courtly musical life was not without its gayer and more personal and secular moments. The stringed instruments, notably the seven-stringed ch'in zither, apparently were popular as vehicles for solo music.

      The Han dynasty empire expanded and at the same time built walls between its national core and western Asia. But these actions were paralleled by an increasing flow of foreign ideas and materials. Buddhism entered from India to China in the 1st century AD, whereas booty, goods, and ideas came from Central Asian Gandharan, Yüeh-chih, and Iranian cultures along the various desert trade routes via the cities of Khotan (Ho-t'ien) to the south (3rd through 5th century), Kucha (K'u-ch'e) in the centre (4th through 8th century), and Turfan (T'u-lu-p'an) to the north (5th through 9th century). Desert ruins and Buddhist caves from this period and later reveal a host of new musical ensembles and solo instruments. Two stringed instruments of particular interest are the angle harp (k'ung-hu) and the pear-shaped plucked lute (p'i-p'a). The harp can be traced back across Central Asia to the ancient bas-reliefs of Assyria. The lute also seems to have West Asian ancestors but is a more “contemporary” instrument. Variants of this instrument have continued to enter or be redesigned in China down to the present day. A delightful symbol of the long-term musical and commercial value of such a plucked lute is found on a 10th-century clay statue of a caravan Bactrian camel with two different styles of p'i-p'a tied to the saddle post on top of the rest of the cargo.

      New percussion instruments are evident in the celestial orchestras seen in Buddhist (Buddhism) iconography. One apparent accommodation between old Chinese and West Asian tradition is the fang-hsiang, a set of 16 iron slabs suspended in a wooden frame in the manner of the old sets of tuned stones. Knobless gongs (gong) related to the present-day Chinese lo seem to have entered the Chinese musical scene before the 6th century from South Asia, while the cymbals (cymbal) (po) may have come earlier from India via Central Asian groups. One of the most sonorous Buddhist additions was a bronze bell in the form of a basin (ch'ing) that, when placed rim up on a cushion and struck on the rim, produces a tone of amazing richness and duration. Among the varied new instruments pictured in heavenly ensembles, one can still find occasional “old-time” instruments such as a set of narrow wooden clappers (clapper) (ch'ung-tu) tied together on one end like ancient wooden books. The clappers were sounded by compressing them quickly between the hands. Variants of this Chou dynasty instrument are still heard in all three major East Asian countries.

      Not all the new influences in China came via religious or trade activities. During the Six Dynasties period (AD 220–589) China was rent by internal strife and border wars. The constant confrontations with the Tatars of the north caused an increased interest in the musical signals of the enemy via drums, trumpets, and double reeds. Although related instruments were equally evident to the south and west, there can be little doubt that the creation of cavalry bands with double kettledrums are direct imitations of the musical prowess of the horseback terrorists against whom the walls of China were built. With great effort and much blood, China gradually reunified under the Sui dynasty (581–618), and older courtly music and the latest musical fads were consolidated.

T'ang dynasty (Tang dynasty)

Thriving of foreign styles
      The few centuries of T'ang dynasty existence (618–907) are supersaturated with brilliant Imperial growth and cultural flourishing as well as military and natural disasters. Such a rich loam of good and bad nourished one of the most fascinating eras of music history in the world. The more formal Imperial ceremonies revitalized the ancient orchestras of bells, stone chimes, flutes, drums, and zithers, plus large bands of courtly dancers. In reality, Imperial power was based perhaps less on the Mandate of Heaven than on the “liberation” of neighbouring countries, a development of more thorough tax systems and more and more trade cities and harbours. Into all these power sources flowed foreign goods and foreign ideas. Persians, Arabs, Indians, and Malayans were found in the foreign quarters of port towns, while every trade caravan brought in masses of new faces and modes of living. Perhaps it is not surprising that an 8th-century poet, Yüan Chen (Yuan Zhen), should lament about air pollution created by western horsemen, about the ladies who studied western fashions and makeup, and about the entertainers who devoted themselves to only “western” music. (One must remember that the term western refers to the land west of the Great Wall.)

      There was hardly a tavern in the capital of Ch'ang-an (Chang'an) (now Sian, Shensi province) that could compete without the aid of a western dancing or singing girl with an accompanying set of foreign musicians. Popular tunes of the period included “South India” and “Watching the Moon in Brahman Land,” while beautiful, exotic dancing boys or girls were ever the rage. One set of girls from Sogdiana (centred in modern Uzbekistan) won the support of the emperor Hsüan-tsung (Xuanzong) (712–756) because they were costumed in crimson robes, green pants, and red deerskin boots and twirled on top of balls. Other girls from the area today called Tashkent inspired a poet of the 9th century, Po Chü-i, with their dance, which began with their emergence from artificial lotuses and ended with the pulling down of their blouses to show their shoulders, a style not unfamiliar to old Western burlesque connoisseurs. A study of the lithe bodies and flying sleeves on T'ang clay dancing figurines is an even more compelling proof of the style of the era. In such a context one can understand how eventually an additional character was added sometimes to the word for dance to indicate the movement of the legs as well as of the body.

      In addition to all the commercial musical enterprises of the T'ang dynasty period, there was another equally extensive system under government supervision. The T'ang emperor Hsüan-tsung seemed particularly keen on music and took full advantage of the various musical “tributes” or “captives” sent to him by all the nations of Asia. This plethora of sounds was further enriched by the special area in Ch'ang-an called the Pear Garden (Li-yüan), in which hundreds of additional musicians and dancers were trained and in which the emperor himself was most active. Such trainees were often female. They followed in an earlier tradition of court girls (kung-nü) whose basic duties were to entertain distinguished guests.

      The mass of different foreign musical styles in the capital was too much for the government musical bureaucracy. A distinction already had been made between court music (ya-yüeh) and common music (su-yüeh); but T'ang nomenclature added a third kind—foreign music (hu-yüeh). Eventually officials organized Imperial music into the 10 kinds of systems (shih-pu chi). Of these categories, one represented instrumentalists from Samarkand, whereas another group came from farther west in Bukhara (in modern Uzbekistan). Kashgar, at the mountain pass between the east and west, sent yet a different group. Musical ensembles also were presented to the emperor from the eastern Turkistan trade centres of Kucha and Turfan. India and two recently defeated kingdoms of Korea provided still other musicians. Chinese and Kucha music were blended by different musicians. One group was supposed to maintain the old styles of Chinese folk music, and there had to be one special group for the performance of formal Chinese court music. These 10 types by no means completed the picture, for nearly every Asian culture took its chance at musical goodwill in Ch'ang-an. Nothing from farther west appears in T'ang China, for culture hardly existed in Europe at that time. Nevertheless, one can sense in T'ang musical culture an internationalism not matched until the mass communications of the mid-20th century provided radio and phonograph owners with the delights of a similarly exotic and extensive choice.

Courtly music
      The only music that can be discussed in a survey of a repertoire so large is the more official courtly music. Ritual presentations are generally divided into two types: so-called standing music, performed without strings and apparently in the courtyard; and sitting music, for a full ensemble played inside a palace. There are lists of the names of some pieces in these categories with their authorship usually credited to the emperor or empress of the time. For example, “The Battle Line Smashing Song” was said to be by the T'ang emperor T'ai-tsung (626–649). The accompanying dance is listed for 120 performers with spears and armour. A similarly grandiose piece is the “Music of Grand Victory” credited to the next T'ang emperor, Kao-tsung (649–683). Wu-hou (d. 705) is said to have written “The Imperial Birthday Music,” in which the dancers form out the characters for “Long Live the Emperor” in the best modern marching-band tradition. Music inside the palace includes a concert version of “The Battle Line Smashing Song,” with only four dancers, “A Banquet Song,” and a piece supposedly composed by the empress Wu-hou in honour of her pet parrot, who frequently called out “Long live her majesty.” Those familiar with music in the courts of Henry VIII and Louis XIV or with the songs always ending in praise of Queen Elizabeth I may recognize the cultural context of such music.

      Later-dynasty copies of T'ang paintings show ladies entertaining the emperor with ensembles of strings, winds, and percussion; and many of the choreographic plans of the larger pieces are also available in books. According to some sources, court orchestra pieces began with a prelude in free rhythm that set the mood and mode of the piece and introduced the instruments. This was followed by a slow section in a steady beat, and the piece ended in a faster tempo. Documents also tell much about the instrumentation and the colour and design of each costume of the musicians and dancers. No orchestral scores are to be found, however. One solo piece for ch'in survives, and 28 ritual melodies for p'i-p'a were discovered in the hidden library of the Buddhist caves of Tun-huang (Cave of the Thousand Buddhas), but the grand musical traditions of T'ang remain frustratingly elusive. Major clues to their actual sounds will be found in marginal survivals of such music, which will be discussed in the Korean and Japanese sections. The original traditions waned with the decline of T'ang good fortune, and the conflicts of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–960) brought the international period to an end.

Sung and Yüan dynasties

Consolidation of earlier trends
      Despite the chaos of kingdoms in the 10th century, or perhaps because of it, cultural traditions solidified, so that by the Sung dynasty (Song dynasty) (960–1279) one can speak of a national rather than an international cultural mood. Many of the short-lived usurpers of regional governments were of “barbarian” (i.e., Turkish) origin, but their general cultural efforts were to appear Chinese rather than to import further foreign fads. But one significant foreign musical addition of the period was from the northern Mongols in the form of a two-stringed fiddle, or bowed lute—the “foreign lute” (hu-ch'in). It became an important feature of the plebian theatre and teahouse world, which grew stronger and larger as more musicians and dancers were dropped from government payrolls. With the establishment of the Sung court, Confucian ceremonies and similar “old-fashioned” musical events were revived; but Imperial contributions to music of the period were primarily in the creation of gigantic historical or encyclopaedic works. For example, the official Sung shih (1345; “Sung History”) contained 496 chapters, of which 17 deal directly with music, and musical events and people appear throughout the entire work. The Yü-hai encyclopaedia (c. 1267; “Sea of Jade”) has 200 chapters, with 10 on music. It is interesting that the pipes are discussed separately under the topic of measurements. Manuals on how to play the seven-stringed ch'in zither also survive, as well as rare music collections such as the “Songs of Whitestone, the Taoist,” based on the poems and songs of Chiang Kuei (1155–1221) and first printed in 1202. Many Sung poets continued to use the five- and seven-syllable-line shih form perfected by T'ang writers, which was believed to have been chanted to tunes strictly adhering to the word tones of the Chinese language. The singing girls (chi-kuan) of the teahouses and brothels and the general growth of urban, mercantile life inspired the creation of tz'u (ci) poems, which were free of word-tone restrictions, filled with colloquial phrases, and capable of freewheeling musical settings. A major source for music based on both the old and new forms is found in the rising world of public theatre.

Music theatre
      Chinese drama can be noted as far back as the Chou dynasty, but it was really the T'ang period Pear Garden school that quite literally set the stage for Chinese opera. Regional music-drama flourished throughout the Sung empire, but the two major forms were the southern drama (nanxi) (nan-ch'ü or nan-hsi) and the northern drama (zaju) (tsa-chü or pei-ch'ü). The tz'u poetical form was popular in both, although the southern style was held to be softer, with its emphasis on five-tone scales and flute and percussion accompaniments. The northern style is said to have preferred the seven-toned scale, to have used more strings, and in general to have been bolder in spirit. According to period writers, each of the four acts of a northern drama was set in a specific mode in which different tunes were used, interspersed with dialogue. The southern style was more lyrical.

      The Mongols under Genghis Khan and later Kublai Khan finally succeeded in invading China, and the foreign Yüan dynasty (Yuan dynasty) (1206–1368) was founded. The two styles of drama noted above continued and intermixed under Yüan drama (Yüan-ch'ü), while the basic poetical form became san-ch'ü, popular songs of even freer style. On stage there appeared standard songs for specific situations or emotions that could be used in any opera, thus making it easier to communicate a story to mass audiences who may have spoken in many different dialects. Additional appeals to the general public were made by bringing onto the stage several forms of dancing and acrobatics, events that had been, along with several forms of puppet theatre, such gay parts of Chinese city life during the Sung dynasty.

Ming and Ch'ing dynasties
      Internal Mongol struggles, natural disasters, and peasant revolts permitted the return of Chinese rule and the founding of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). It in turn gave way to Manchu invasions from the north under which the last dynasty, the Ch'ing (Qing dynasty) (1644–1911/12), was formed. Although there is much history and much blood involved in all such changes, one can view the music of these eras together under their two most active styles—theatre music and instrumental pieces.

Further development of opera

Forms of the 16th–18th centuries
      The flourishing of regional music-drama has continued throughout the centuries from the Sung dynasty until the present day. Musically they vary greatly in their instrumentation and particularly in their voice qualities. However, all tend to follow a tradition of using either standard complete pieces (lian-ch'ü) or stereotyped melodic styles (pan-ch'iang) in every opera. The complete-piece approach of Yüan drama survives today primarily in a 16th-century form called k'un-ch'ü (kunqu).

      Nurtured in a more aristocratic form of theatre, the music of k'un-ch'ü was less bombastic than that of the popular theatre. The major instruments were the horizontal flute (ti-tzu (di)) and the notched vertical flute (hsiao (xiao)). The flutes often produce a special mottled tone by the presence of one hole that is covered by thin rice paper that buzzes quietly as one plays. The sheng mouth organ and the p'i-p'a (pipa) plucked lute could also be found in k'un-ch'ü, along with a single free-reed pipe, kuan (guan). The term kuan usually stands for one of several forms of double-reed woodwinds with cylindrical bore and no bell. Survivors of its ancient forms are found in Korean and Japanese court music. Variants of the single-reed kuan are found throughout Southeast Asia, where it is equally appreciated for its mellow, clarinet-like tone. A plebian instrument found in some k'un-ch'ü is the three-stringed plucked lute (san-hsien (sanxian)) with a snakeskin soundboard. Plucked with a bone pick, it enjoys great popularity in folk music as well as theatre music, and it developed in two sizes, the shorter one prevalent in the south and the longer one in the north. The shorter form is of particular historical interest, for it was imported into the Ryukyu Islands as the jamisen and from there moved to Japan, where it evolved into a samisen.

      The vocal style of k'un-ch'ü matched the soft accompaniment and was usually performed by a male singing falsetto. Another style of opera from the same period, i-yang ch'iang, seemed more appealing to the general public and is noteworthy for its use at some point in its development of a chorus (pang-ch'iang) as well as of soloists. In addition, passages in colloquial speech were often interpolated between lines of classical poetry in order to explain them. Such lines were often sung. Still another Ming music-drama genre of considerable influence in the myriad regional forms is the clapper opera (pang-tzu ch'iang). In addition to the rhythmic importance of the clappers, the instrumental accompaniment of this form is noted for its emphasis on strings, the principal form being the moon guitar (yueqin) (yüeh-ch'in), a plucked lute with a large, round wooden body and four strings in double courses. An interesting addition to this instrument is the presence of a thin strip of metal tied at both ends inside the body to give the instrument a richer tone. Among the endless variants of style and accompaniments in Chinese regional opera, one must add the sounds of the extremely large flat gongs heard in the southwest and the yang-ch'in (western zither), particularly popular in Cantonese music. The latter is often called a butterfly harp, though it is neither a harp nor a butterfly but a hammered dulcimer derived from a Middle Eastern instrument (sanṭūr) brought into China in the 18th century. Each of the myriad types of regional opera flourishing in China developed vocal styles and orchestrations that helped make it distinctive. With informed practice, listeners can still distinguish regional vocal styles, which vary from low, sensual sounds to high and nasal falsettos. For the rest of the materials concerning theatre music, it is best to turn to the primary music-drama form since the 18th century, Peking opera (ching-hsi (jingxi) or ching-chü).

Peking opera
      Credit for the beginning of Peking opera is given to actors from Anhwei appearing in Peking in the 1790s. However, Peking opera really combines elements from many different earlier forms and, like Western grand opera, can be considered to be a 19th-century product. In addition to all the instruments mentioned above, many others may be found.

      The most common melodic instrument for opera is some form of fiddle, or bowed lute (hu-ch'in). It comes in several different forms, such as the ching-hu and erh-hu. Although the shape of the body may be different, all traditional Chinese fiddles (fiddle) exhibit certain specific structural characteristics. The small body has a skin or wooden soundboard and an open back. The two strings pass over a bridge and then are suspended above a pole to the pegs, which are inserted from the rear of the scroll (not from the sides as on a Western violin). Such a system places one string above the other rather than parallel to it (as on a banjo or a p'i-p'a). Because of this, the bow passes between the strings, playing one string by pressing down and the other by pulling up. The fingerings of tunes are done by sideways pressure, along the strings; they are too far from the pole for it to serve as a fingerboard, which, because of the vertical stringing, would be a nuisance in any case. It is this unique manner of fiddle construction that helps one determine the source of many of the bowed lutes of Southeast Asia.

      Barrel drums with tacked heads (ku) and a double reed with a conical bore and bell (so-na) are used in military scenes, along with cymbals (po) and large flat gongs. The most common percussion instruments are a small flat gong (lo (luo)), a drum (pan-ku (bangu)), and clappers (p'ai-pan). The small gong is some eight inches in diameter; the face is slightly curved except for a flat centre spot. It is designed in this manner in order that the tone and pitch of the gong will rise quickly each time it is hit. This “sliding” gong effect is characteristic of the Peking sound. The pan-ku or tan-pi ku is equally unique in construction. The skin is stretched over a set of wooden wedges strapped in a circle with only a small spot in the middle completely hollow. This allows the performer to produce a very dry, sharp sound. Such a tone is practical as well as aesthetic, for the pan-ku player is often the leader of the ensemble, and his signals are essential to the coordination of the performance. The drum player frequently plays the clapper as well, holding the clapper in his left hand while playing the drum with a narrow bamboo stick held in his right hand.

      In all East Asian music one must remember that harmony and harmonic progression are not parts of traditional music. The functions of harmony—such as underlining expression, providing sonic contrast, and creating a sense of forward motion—are handled with equal efficiency by rhythm in East Asia, although the methods and sounds are very different. In both traditions, the choices are not arbitrary, and with cultural exposure one comes to recognize the musical intention, even though it is not necessary to know precisely what chord or what rhythm pattern produces an appropriate musical effect. For example, very few listeners to Western music know that a doubly diminished chord (C–E♭–G♭–A) played tremolo means danger, although all would recognize the danger signal by ear. By the same token, a Peking opera fan hearing the large gong played alone in the rhythm

      would know that the situation is a similar moment of confusion but probably would not know that the pattern is named the scattering hammer (luan-chüeh). Pattern names are for specialists, but pattern sounds and “meanings” are for attuned listeners. Other aspects of the functions of rhythm in East Asia will emerge in the examination of other cultures. For the moment, attention will be given to the melodic side of Peking opera.

      Like any theatrical music, the tunes of Peking opera must conform to the text structure and the dramatic situation. In the latter case, one finds that a majority of Peking aria texts are based on series of couplets of 7 or 10 syllables each. Although there may be several verses set in strophic form (i.e., music repeated for each strophe, or stanza), part of the musical tension is maintained by the interjection of comments or short dialogue between the two lines of each verse. These leave the listener waiting for the completion of the line. The tune aids in this forward motion and tension by playing what could be considered an incomplete melodic cadence (point of resolution) at the end of line one, which is brought to a final resolution at the end of the second line. From a dramaturgical standpoint, the arias of Peking opera can be categorized into different types whose style is recognizable in the same way that one can tell, without language ability, the mood of a love, farewell, or vengeance aria in Italian opera.

  Peking melodies (melody) themselves tend to fall into two prototypes called hsi-p'i and erh-huang. Within each of these general types there are several well-known tunes, but the word “prototype” has been used to define them, as each opera and each situation is capable of varying the basic melody greatly. The two basic identifying factors are the mode of the melody and the rhythmic style of the accompanying percussion section. In general, serious and lyrical texts are performed to an erh-huang melody and hsi-p'i tunes appear in brighter moments, though in such a large genre there are many other possibilities. Notation IV—> contains the string introductions to examples in the two basic types. They are transposed to the pitches of notation II—> for the sake of comparison. In actual performance the fiddle may be tuned lower for erh-huang melodies. How do the tunes differ? Both emphasize the pentatonic core and have a “changing” tone B (its pitch is actually between the Western B and B♭), but their modes differ. Hsi-p'i are said to emphasize (in the context of our transposition) E and A, and erh-huang G and C. Hsi-p'i melodies are often more disjunct. Although both examples are set at a standard tempo (yüan-pan), the erh-huang is faster and its rhythm denser, as it is a male aria, while the hsi-p'i is female and slower.

      Both pieces could be played at a slower (man-pan) or faster (k'uai-pan) tempo, however, or could be accompanied by other special rhythms. Such choices often cause changes in the melody itself. In general, the choice of both tune and rhythm style is guided by the text and the character. In most arias each sentence is separated by an instrumental interlude.

      Peking opera is also characterized by colourful costumes and striking character-identifying makeup as well as acrobatic combats and dances. These conventions of Chinese opera are similar to those of 18th-century European traditions, though the sounds are certainly quite different. The need to communicate in music or in theatre requires the repeated use of aural and visual conventions if an audience is to understand and be moved by the event.

Other vocal and instrumental genres
      The emphasis here has been on opera because it is best known, but there are many other popular forms from the Ming and Ch'ing periods. One is storytelling (shuo-shu). This tradition, which is as old as humankind and is noted in China's earliest books, continues in China in a purely narrative form, in a sung style, and in a mixture of the two. Until the advent of television and government arts control, there were narrators who recounted traditional stories in nightly or weekly segments. Their idiom was like that of surviving tellers of shorter stories. The text is usually in rhyme and is spoken in rhythm. Chinese storytellers may perform unaccompanied, but generally at least a clapper rhythm is present. One string instrument, such as a three-string san-hsien or four-string p'i-p'a lute, is also common. Songs accompanied by a drum (ta-ku) are the best known. The narrator not only relates the story but usually plays the clappers and a drum as well. Since the text is the core of the genre, standard melodies are used. Additional accompaniment may be provided by a string ensemble like that of opera.

      Musically, the various shadow- and hand-puppet (puppetry) plays also are similar to the opera tradition except that, as in Southeast Asian puppetry, a manipulator must often be the singer-narrator as well.

      These genres, like many regional opera forms, are often performed on temporary street stages and are eclectically creative. Saxophones and other Western instruments may combine with the ubiquitous Chinese fiddles and percussion instruments. Topical popular tunes and well-known Western music can appear among opera melodies as the drama unfolds. Recordings mix with live music so that, for example, a battle scene may be accompanied by Chinese percussion sounds, firecrackers, and a recording of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's “The Flight of the Bumble Bee.”

      Leaving the many forms of vocal and theatrical music, it is appropriate to turn briefly to the instrumental (musical instrument). The 25-stringed se zither, with movable bridges, and the seven-stringed ch'in (qin), with permanent upper and lower bridges (like a piano), were well known for solo music in ancient times. During the last dynasty, collections of ch'in music and instruction books flourished as part of certain neo-Confucian revivals. Many musical notations were developed, perhaps the most interesting variety for the ch'in being one in which Chinese characters were artificially constructed by combining symbols for the notes with indications of fingering technique, such as up strokes, down strokes, or harmonics. Although most of the music was based on vocal pieces or evoked some scene, there were several examples of variation forms that had an important influence on Korean and Japanese forms that followed. The p'i-p'a (pipa) likewise developed an extensive repertoire of solo pieces, many of them quite virtuosic and pictorial. For example, anyone hearing a p'i-p'a battle piece needs to know very little Chinese to recognize the musical interpretations of the action. Since the mid-20th century there has been a considerable revival of solo literature for the cheng (zheng), a zither with 16 strings and movable bridges whose popularity spreads as far south as Vietnam. The strings are apparently influenced by the Middle Eastern dulcimer mentioned above (yang-ch'in), for they are metal.

   chamber music exists in many styles, functions, and locations. Some of it can be considered folk music played by farmers or working people for festivals or private entertainment, as in the American bluegrass tradition. Music of this type can still be heard at weddings or funerals in Chinese communities all over the world. During the Ming and Ch'ing periods, small ensembles of courtiers or professional musicians could be found at palaces, but the major sources for this kind of chamber music were in the world of the musically inclined businessman or trader. Because of this, certain regional forms of chamber music such as Amoy “southern pipe” and Shantung music survive in such locations as Taiwan, Manila, Singapore, and San Francisco. In this context it is noteworthy that even during Japan's isolation period from the 17th to the 19th century, Chinese vocal and chamber music, known in Japanese as minshingaku (Ming and Ch'ing music), was played in Nagasaki, the only open port in Japan. Examples of such dispersed regional music are of great value in the study of the oral history of Ming and Ch'ing music and of the distribution and development of various musical instruments. Much of the repertoire of such stylistic groups is derived from theatre music, but there are many examples that may imply the sounds of older lost traditions. There are a variety of notation systems, particularly for the solo music. The one most commonly used in tune books of the last dynasties is kung ch'e, which indicates notes in a scale as shown in notation V—>. This system is still popularly used, although mainland sources prefer the number system shown in the first line of notation VI—>. It is based on the 19th-century French chevé system (which used numerals 1–7 for the notes of the scale) and, unlike other Chinese notations, shows rhythm by the use of dots and beams borrowed from Western 8th and 16th notes. Percussion accompaniments also can be found in a similar style, as can larger ensemble scores, but both are more characteristic of 20th-century China.

Developments since 1911

Period of the Republic of China and the Sino-Japanese War
 Under the influence of missionary and modernization movements, many musical experimentations occurred in the last dynasty, but these were greatly increased by the rise of the first republic in 1911 and the establishment of communist rule in 1949. During the period of the republic and of the Japanese war, a plethora of new songs were created in “modern” style, the most famous being shown in notation VI—>. The piece, “March of the Volunteers,” was written in 1934 by Nie Er (Nieh Erh) to text by the modern Chinese playwright Tian Han (T'ien Han) as a patriotic march and was adopted as the national anthem in 1949. It is an excellent example of a mixture of new and traditional Chinese music. The first phrase implies a major mode with its use of F♯. However, after that point the entire piece is Chinese pentatonic. The first phrase also leads one to expect symmetrical four-bar phrases, but the tune quickly takes a more flexible Chinese course. Chinese and Western composers continued to try out bits of each other's traditions with only occasional success, and individual Chinese artists have become famous for their performance on Western instruments. Chinese instruments in turn have been subjected to many modernizations, such as the building of a family of erh-hu fiddles by the creation of bass and alto versions. In conjunction with this movement there was the appearance of concerti for such instruments accompanied by a mixed Western and Chinese orchestra.

Communist period
      As was noted earlier, many completely traditional forms continued, particularly in foreign Chinese communities. The special point of interest since 1949, however, is the application of Marxist (Marxism) doctrine to the musical scene of China. The first obvious area of change is found in the ever popular forms of regional and Peking opera. Although the appeal of traditional tales of emperors, princesses, or mythological characters could not be suppressed, the emphasis of all new operas was on workers, peasants, soldiers, and socialism. Thus, San-kuo chih yen-i (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) or K'ung-ch'eng chi (The Ruse of an Empty City) tend to be replaced by Qixi Baihutuan (Ch'i-hsi Pai-hu t'uan; Raid on the White Tiger Regiment) or Honghu chiwei dui (Hung Hu ch'ih-wei t'ui; Red Guards of Hung Lake). Aria topics also vary, such as “Looking Forward to the Liberation of the Working People of the World” or “Socialism Is Good.”

      As part of the encouragement of people's music, the national government emphasized regional folk music. Provincial and national research institutes were created to collect and study such music, and folk songs were incorporated into primary as well as advanced and Western music education. In general, folk music was “reconstructed” away from its former individualistic nature into collectives of choruses or folk orchestras. The topics of such regional songs also were reconstructed so that they reflected the new socialist life. The most famous new folk song from Shensi province is “Red Is the East,” while the Miao people were credited with “Sing in Praise of Chairman Mao.” During the Maoist period, more than 50 minority groups and provincial Chinese ensembles had at least one song directly in praise of Chairman Mao, while other songs dealt with local industries and accomplishments. Such songs are sometimes performed in regional style with traditional accompaniments, although they may often be found arranged Western-style for use in the public schools of the nation. This effort, in addition to the number of recordings that are available, make it possible for a Chinese citizen to become aware, perhaps for the first time in history, of the great variety of local music traditions in his large country, even though such music appears now in Marxist reconstructions. Marxist defense of this changed folk music is that music of a given period must reflect the views and aspirations of the masses (as understood by the government) and must be based on idioms of the people. Composers of concert music have produced many folk orchestra compositions along with symphony, piano, and military band music based on this basic Marxist musical principle, called Socialist Realism. When dealing with traditional instruments and vocal styles, the composers have sometimes created extremely original and interesting pieces despite the general conservatism of government aesthetics policies. Vocal and choral music are preferred because of their ability to communicate specific national goals more efficiently than, for example, The Sacred War Symphony.

      It must be remembered that music exists in a cultural context and that it has never remained static since the world began. In the late 20th century, music of all periods from every society is available to those with sufficient mass communication sources. Exchanges have been made between Western and Chinese ensembles and musicians, and audiocassettes and radio broadcasts cannot be easily silenced. Euro-American music is part of China's urban culture, and new socialist messages can be heard in Western-style popular music settings. At the same time, tentative efforts have been made to use contemporary Western idioms in Chinese concert music. It does seem unlikely that the tuning of the pipes for rulers will ever be a major concern of Chinese musicians again, but the ability of China to preserve so many historical facts, materials, and idioms along with modern changes is sufficient to keep the musical world in awe for some centuries to come.

The music of Korea
      On a map Korea looks like a finger pointing from the top of China down to the lower part of Japan. Thus, one would expect its music to reflect its “bridge” position between two such powerful traditions. The movements of foreign, particularly Chinese, armies and cultures are indeed major factors in Korea's tradition. But beneath these reflections lies a deeper core of indigenous musical styles that, at first hearing, seem most strange to the ear of listeners with preconceived notions as to what East Asian music sounds like. A possible additional factor in the growth of Korean music is the country's position as a peninsula jutting out from Manchuria and from the native ground of many Mongolian (Mongol) hordes. Archaeological sources indicate that various Mongol peoples from northern Asia did indeed occupy areas of Korea from at least 2000 BC, and Chinese writings show that their people and armies were active in Korea from the period of the Chinese Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) on. Obviously, a study of Korean music contains riches extending far beyond its geographic borders.

      The earliest references to music in Korea are found in a 3rd-century-AD Chinese history book that comments about agricultural festivals (nong-ak) with singing and dancing among the tribes of northwestern Korea. Such events are still a strong part of Korean life. Another ancient but long-lived tradition in Korea is shamanism, or communication with the unseen world by a shaman in a state of trance. This is of special interest because such a belief is characteristic not only of all northern Asian tribes but also of other peoples (such as Eskimos) who live in the northernmost regions of the world. Korea is one of the few countries south of the Arctic area that maintain strong shamanism in the face of several foreign religious adoptions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity. A few Korean shamanistic events, however, show still other possible prehistoric connections. For example, sometimes the head of an animal may be placed in the centre of a Korean ritual ground, and mythology says that the first ruler of Korea was created by the union of a god and a bear. Divine origin is part of Japan's Imperial mythology, and the head of a bear is central to the important rites of the Ainu tribal culture in northern Japan.

      Today a female Korean shaman (mudang) may use many combinations of musical instruments. The simplest and potentially most significant accompaniment is a small, flat gong with a slight rim. It brings to mind the single-headed pan drum with a wooden or bone hoop found in the shamanism of most of Central Asia and in the Arctic Circle as far away as Lapland and Hudson Bay. A drum sound itself is produced in Korea by the most popular percussion instrument, the changgo, an hourglass-shaped, two-headed drum struck by the hand on the left head and a stick on the other. In Korean shaman rituals flutes, double reeds, fiddles, and other gongs and drums may be used that at first sight may appear rather Chinese. The sound, however, creates a totally different impression.

 The music shown in notation VII—> represents a flute and gong excerpt from a shaman ensemble that also contains a drum, zither, fiddle, and oboe in a driving polyphony (combination of simultaneous voices, or parts) that seems closer to Dixieland jazz than to Chinese music. The flute tune, with its microtonal slides, its use of a fourth (c♯″-g♯′) “out of tune” with the Chinese pipes, and its rhythm, has a very un-Chinese, jazzlike sound. The style is totally traditional and is notated to show the special Korean proclivity for a 6-beat unit, which in this excerpt is particularly strong in the accompaniment of the other instruments. The dotted bar lines in the transcription imply a kind of polymetric syncopation that often gives Korean folk and popular music its special appeal. One part seems to be in 4 whereas others are in 6, so that they come together only after 12 beats. Triplets and even 5-beat forms are found as well. Thus, it is evident from a brief look at one example from one type of Korean shaman music, in addition to a discussion of other forms and characteristics, that Korean cultural materials continue to reflect fascinating mixtures and mysteries. The total style cannot be called purely Chinese or northern Asian but simply Korean. The characteristics of the first example are typical of the kind of music best known and loved by the general Korean populace. Studies in Korean music, however, have tended to concentrate on the less familiar styles of court music, which are maintained by dedicated national music institutes and Korean scholarship.

Court instrumental music (musical instrument)
      According to legend the Three Kingdoms of Koguryŏ in the north, Paekche in the southwest, and Silla in the southeast were established in the century before AD 1 along with a small Japanese-related enclave (Kaya; Japanese: Mimana). The subsequent organization of courts and the introduction of Chinese religions resulted in an ever-increasing importation of Chinese (arts, East Asian) musical materials. Indications of this can be found in such sources as paintings in an AD 357 tomb near An-ag, a colony of China at that time. A horseback band of the Chinese Han dynasty style is seen with drums and a small bell hit with a hammer. One brave rider apparently is able to play the Chinese panpipes in transit. Deeper in the tomb a zither, a lute, and a very long end-blown flute can be seen accompanying a dancer whose long nose and costume imply that Central Asian traditions may have traveled even as far as Korea by the 4th century. The Silla dynasty domination (668–935) coincided closely with the heyday of the Chinese T'ang period, and the subsequent Koryŏ (Koryŏ Dynasty) (935–1392) and Chosŏn (Yi) (Chosŏn dynasty) dynasties (1392–1910) also tended to match parallel Chinese periods. Thus, Korea's court-music traditions tended to reflect those of China.

      Being on the border of Chinese culture, Korea was able to maintain certain ancient traditions during periods of barbarian domination in China proper. Such marginal survivals are of particular importance because many have continued to the present day, thus giving extremely rare examples of music traditions long gone from the land of their origin. For example, in the Silla period, court music was divided into hyang-ak, Korean music; t'ang-ak, T'ang and Sung Chinese music; and a-ak (gagaku), Confucian ritual music. The instruments used for these ensembles were those described earlier in the discussion of Chinese music, such as sets of tuned stones (in Korean p'yŏn-gyŏng) and bells (p'yŏnjong), mouth organ (saeng), and instruments in all the other eight categories of Chinese classical traditions (e.g., those based on the materials used in their construction; see above). Unlike China, ensembles using such instruments can still be heard in the national institutes of North and South Korea and in Confucian rituals. Among the many instrumental treasures still played in Korea is the ajaeng, a zither—with seven strings and movable bridges—that is not plucked but, more remarkably, is bowed with a rosined stick of wood.

      The globular flute (hun), mentioned as one of the very earliest artifacts of Chinese music, has been played in Korean Confucian temples since the 12th century, as has a chi flute, which has a bamboo mouthpiece plugged into the mouth-hole with wax. In addition to five finger holes it has a cross-shaped hole in what on other flutes is the open lower end. The lower end of the chi can thus be closed by the little finger of the left hand. This unique flute is known to have been in Korea by at least the 11th century and, like the previous two examples, has totally disappeared from the rest of East Asia. By contrast, the p'iri cylindrical double reed aerophone (wind instrument) has many relatives in Asia, but the rich saxophone-like tone produced by its deceptively narrow tube body and large reed are not heard elsewhere. It is heard in many other forms of Korean music, from folk festivals to party music.

      Not all the instruments of Korea are Chinese imports. The taegŭm flute with six finger holes, a membrane-covered hole for a buzzing sound, and open holes near the end would seem to be a Chinese instrument, except for its spectacular length of 74 centimetres (2 feet 5 inches) and its gigantic mouth-hole. A Korean musician, Wang San-ak, is credited with the invention in the 7th century of a kŏmungo zither with six strings. Two strings on one side and one on the other have movable bridges, whereas the central three strings pass over 16 bridges. It is played by plucking the strings with a wooden stick. One of the other mysterious Korean instruments is the haegŭm two-stringed fiddle. It would seem to be an obvious relative of the Chinese equivalent, with the bow passing between the strings, except that the neck is bent toward the strings (rather than away from them, as in the rest of the world), and the pegs seem to be inserted backward, so that the strings are wrapped around the large round part of the pegs instead of the narrower end, which sticks out, unused, from the back of the neck. The kayagŭm board zither with 12 strings and movable bridges is surprising in sound to those accustomed to Chinese and Japanese zither melodies. It is held that the instrument was created in the 6th century in the Japanese-dominated Kaya area—thus the survival of one example in the 8th-century Japanese Shōsō-in treasure house. The kayagŭm is regarded as Korea's favourite native instrument, and it can be heard in all levels of Korean music and dance. The sanjo variation forms for this zither represent one of Korea's most famous purely instrumental genres.

      Much of what is known about the origin of instruments is derived from Chinese and Korean historical books and administrative documents, such as the grand list of presents sent by the Chinese Sung emperor to Korea in the year 1111. The list includes 10 sets of stone chimes and 10 bell sets, along with 5 iron equivalents and numerous other instruments. Korean musicians performed successfully at the Chinese court, and Korean monks attended the international training centres in China to learn Buddhist chant. During the reign of Sejong (1419–50), new Imperial shrine music and traditional Confucian ritual music were emphasized along with musical settings of epics written in the newly developed Korean alphabet. The grand traditions of China were preserved under the guidance of the court master of music, Pak Yŏn (1378–1458).

  Proof of the diligence and concern of these and later efforts are found in the Akhak kwebom (“Music Handbook”), first appearing in 1493. The nine volumes of this work contain pictures of all the court instruments along with their fingerings or tunings, costumes and accessories for ritual dances, and the arrangements of dance designs and orchestral seatings. The first three volumes deal with music theory and contain ample evidence of the continuation of the complete Chinese classical tradition discussed earlier. The only differences are the pronunciations given to the Chinese characters in which the terminology is written. Over the centuries the naming and interpretation of the pentatonic scales in Korea have varied greatly. Today kyemyŏnjo and p'yŏngjo are considered basic. Ujo is a variant on p'yŏngjo, usually a fourth higher. The exact pitch on which these modes are written or played varies. They are based on C in notation VIII—> for comparison with notation III—>.

      From the short theoretical discussion above it should be evident that Korean musicians maintained a balance between native and Chinese traditions. Such a balance is seen in the standard instrumentation of the three major court orchestras. By the 15th century the Chinese-style t'ang-ak and the Confucian a-ak ensembles concentrated on Chinese instruments such as bell and stone chime sets, and the texts of surviving t'ang-ak pieces such as Loyang-chun (“Spring in Loyang”) follow the Chinese tz'u poetical form. Processional military music (chui-ta) begins in the style seen in ancient drawings, with drums, gongs, and accompanying conch shell and straight trumpets, in addition to a “barbarian” oboe with a conical body. This ensemble is followed by a softer one with the more typical Korean hourglass drum (changgo) and cylindrical oboe (p'iri), the unusual Korean fiddle (haegŭm), and flutes (taegŭm). The softer ensemble can also be heard in dance music (samhyŏn), whereas chamber music (chŏng-ak) softens this group further by using a smaller oboe along with the later addition of the Chinese “western” dulcimer (yang ch'in, or, in Korean, yang-gŭm). The most famous suite of movements in this and in orchestral traditions is the Yŏngsan hoesang, which consists of 9 to 11 pieces taking some 30 minutes to play. The title is based on a former religious chant about the Buddha preaching on Mount Yŏngsan, but the pieces attached to this general name have since lost their vocal tradition. When the Korean ensemble (hyang-ak) plays pieces such as Sujech'ŏn (“Long Life as Immeasurable as the Sky”), one hears a more indigenous combination of the hourglass drum, oboes, flutes, fiddles, and the special bowed zithers (ajaeng). Although the style is still slow and “ancient,” the sounds seem less Chinese.

      The survival of so many old traditions is partly due to the preservation of notation books. Many are in the traditional Chinese forms. In the late 15th century, however, a Korean mensural system (mensural notation) (i.e., a notation showing time values) was created that, through the use of columns of 16 squares, gave a clearer indication of rhythm and tempos than do most Chinese notations. This system, usually with modifications into 6- or 12-square groups, is used today to notate the six-beat rhythms and can be read as easily as Western notation if one can read Korean.

      Vocal music is another important side of the Korean tradition. One of the longest and rarest older forms is the kagok, which consists of 26 five-line solo songs and one duet. Accompaniments and interludes are provided by a small ensemble. sijo is a classical three-line form of Korean poetry that also can be sung to the accompaniment of the hourglass drum. Narrative songs are found in the genre called kasa accompanied by a flute and drum.

      Kagok, sijo, and kasa are all types of court music. The dominant narrative form of music performed today, however, is the folk genre p'ansori. It is traditionally performed by a singer-narrator (kwangdae) and a drummer (kosu), who marks phrases with rhythmic patterns on a barrel drum (puk) and with vocal interjections (chuimsae). Spoken narration and dialogue (aniri) are balanced with songs (ch'ang), body movements, and fan gestures as hours of epic drama unfold. It may be that p'ansori emerged from ancient shamanistic entertainments of the gods before it became popular with the aristocracy. The earliest written records of it date to 1775. Of the many stories noted in later sources, five have survived both in written form and in popular folk tales. In the late 20th century, government support revived the tradition, so that p'ansori epics are available on recordings and in professional performances.

Modern music
      As in the rest of East Asia, Western music developed in Korea in the late 19th century and grew in popularity. During the period of Japanese occupation (1910–45), indigenous arts were suppressed and Western music dominated the education system. As in Japan, this dominance continues, and Korean skills in Western music performance have earned international recognition. Since World War II, the support of national arts in Korea has created many new tradition-based musics. Those in North Korea follow the Chinese pattern discussed earlier, while the South generally follows Western contemporary trends.

The music of Japan
      As has been noted, Japanese music can be considered a national tradition set in the satellite category of the general East Asian music culture. Korea served as a bridge to Japan for many Chinese musical ideas as well as exerting influence through its own forms of court music. A comment has been made as well about the presence of northern Asian tribal traditions in Japan in the form of Ainu culture surviving on Hokkaido island. It should further be pointed out that the island isolation of Japan allowed it to develop its own special characteristics without the intense influences of the Chinese giant and the Mongols so evident in other mainland cultures. Therefore, in the ensuing discussion all the “foreign” elements will be placed in the matrix of traditions and styles that are characteristically Japanese.

Music before and through the Nara period

Early evidencem.
      As in the case of the history of mainland traditions, ancient Chinese sources and modern archaeological data provide the earliest surviving insights into Japanese music. Archaeologists have discovered materials of Neolithic people in Japan and pottery remains of the so-called Jōmon culture dating back as far as the 5th millennium BC. Among the items recovered from the subsequent Yayoi (Yayoi culture) period (3rd century BC–3rd century AD), the musically most significant finds are dōtaku bronze bells. They show that the native population had adopted Chinese metallurgy. The shape of the bells and the locations of their remains indicate that they may have entered the Japanese islands with tribes migrating from northern Asia.

      The gradual domination in Japan of one group called the Yamato clan became more evident in the Tumulus period (c. AD 250–c. 500) and led to the present Imperial system. Specific evidence of its musical life is found first in certain tomb figurines ( haniwa), which were substitutes for the earlier Asian tradition of human sacrifices at the death of a leader. One haniwa has been found playing a barrel drum with a stick, while another figure is seated with a four- or five-stringed board zither across his lap. Crotal bells (pellet or jingle bells) are found on costumes, and some statues seem to be of singers. The zither is of special interest, for it is related to the Korean kayagŭm mentioned earlier as appearing in the Japanese section of Korea (Kaya) by at least the 6th century. It also may be the earliest example of the wagon, or Yamato-goto, a six-stringed zither with movable bridges found in Japanese Shintō music. The crotal bells survive in the form of the suzu bell tree, an instrument characteristic of Shintō dances only. The interpretation of another figure as a singer and the presence of a drummer are rather too general for conclusions, although a Chinese history book of the 3rd century (Wei chih, AD 297) does speak of the natives of Japan as singing and dancing during a funeral. This source also notes two actions well-known in Shintō today: a concern for purification and the use of hand claps in praying before a shrine.

      The mention of shamanism also is found in Chinese accounts and is of particular interest to those concerned with the northern Asian aspects of Japanese culture. In this context it must be remembered that the Ainu were as populous and strong as the new Japanese people at the time of the founding of the Yamato dynasty. Battles between the Japanese and Ainu are noted in 6th-century Chinese books such as the Sung shu (513) and, rather like 19th-century American Indians, Ainu were found as mercenary troops in a group of Japanese forces sent to assist the Korean Silla kingdom in the 7th century. The Chinese Sui shu history book (630) mentions tattooed people like the Ainu, as well as a five-stringed zither and a flute. Ainu culture today maintains a Jew's harp and no flutes, but it does have a tonkori zither with two to five strings. It is unlike the zither on the lap of the earlier tomb figure in both its shape and playing position, being held like a banjo and played open-stringed with both hands. The surviving shamanism of the Ainu has equivalent forms in early Shintō and in a few surviving Japanese folk “mountain women” traditions. However, the guttural vocal style and the frequent polyphonic textures of modern Ainu music today seem culturally to point north rather than south or west. Perhaps the Ainu are a living link between present-day civilization and the life pictured in ancient Chinese documents.

      As the Japanese people gradually drove the Ainu northward, they solidified their own internal structure and established stronger ties with continental culture. Records show that a Korean Silla (in Japanese, Shiragi) emperor sent 80 musicians to the funeral of a Japanese ruler in 453. Chinese Buddhism was officially introduced as a religion in Japan in the 6th century, selected converts being sent to China for proper training in the rituals (hence the music) of that faith. In 612 a Korean musician, Mimaji (in Japanese, Mimashi), is believed to have introduced masked dances and entertainments (gigaku) and southern Chinese music (kuregaku) into the Japanese court. Finally, by the 8th century Japan produced its own first written chronicles, the Koji-ki (Kojiki) (713; “Record of Ancient Matters”) and the Nihon (Nihon shoki) shoki (720; “National History”), which recount the mythological origin of music as the form of an entertainment used by the gods to tempt the sun goddess out of her hiding in a cave (see also Japanese literature). Indirect references to music appear in semi-historical accounts of early court activities in the books. In addition, the Nihon shoki contains the texts of some 200 poems, many of which seemed to have been derived from the oral musical tradition.

Predominant musical traits
      It is apparent that by the 8th century the documentary history of Japanese music had begun. Although this claim predates an equal state of Western music history by some 100 years, certain interesting parallels between the two traditions can be made. Both seem more clearly established in the same general 200-year period, a short time when compared with Chinese music studies outlined above. Both developed a musical nomenclature heavily influenced by the music of religious organizations: the Roman Catholic church in the West, Buddhism in Japan. Both traditions were equally influenced by theories of a foreign culture from over the nearest sea: Greece in Italy and China in Japan. Herein many differences arise, one of the most significant being that, in the Japanese case, the foreign tradition of China at the time of its first major influence was alive and strong and could apply practical musical information and instrumentations as well as theories, whereas the Greek tradition was long dead by the same period, when the European monks turned to it for guidance. Nevertheless, one can see that the general length and beginning of each history is comparable. Before discussing Japanese music in chronological detail, an attempt should be made to envision general characteristics, realizing that in doing so the tendency is to apply aphorisms to music that stretches over a series of styles as old and varied as the music of Europe from Gregorian chant through Claude Debussy. With that caveat, general guidelines for the appreciation of Japanese traditional music can be put forth.

Aesthetic and formal ideals
      These guidelines fall under three general concepts: (1) the sound ideal, (2) the structural ideal, and (3) the artistic ideal; but these three things are not clearly separate in any musical event.

      In general one can say that the most common sound ideal of Japanese music is to produce the maximum effect with a minimum amount of material. For example, the taiko drum of the nō drama consists of a barrel-shaped body over which are lashed two cowhide heads some 20 inches in diameter stretched over iron rings. Wooden sticks are used to hit one head. Obviously, the sound potentials of the drum are many, but they are deliberately suppressed. For example, the sticks are made of very soft wood, and the strokes are applied only to a small circle of soft deerskin in the centre of the head. The taiko, like Japanese ink paintings, accomplishes a great deal by concentrating on very carefully chosen limitations of the medium.

      Another feature of much Japanese traditional music could be called the chamber music sound ideal. No matter how large an ensemble may be, one finds that the various instruments are set in such a way that the timbre, or tone colour, of each can be heard. This can be understood in Western chamber music and contrasts with the Western orchestral sound ideal, in which the primary intention is to merge all the instrumental sounds into one glorious colour. The colour separation of Japanese music is quite evident in the large court ensemble (gagaku), as well as in drama music and actual chamber ensembles such as the sankyoku, for koto (zither), samisen (plucked lute), and the end-blown shakuhachi flute. Such textures support the strong multilinear (as opposed to harmonic) orientation of East Asian music mentioned earlier.

      The structural intents of Japanese music are as varied as those of the West, but one of special interest is the frequent application of a three-part division of a melody, a section of a piece, or an entire composition. This is in contrast with the more typical two-part division of Western music. Of course, examples of both ideals can be found in the music of both cultures; the concern here is with broad generalities. The fundamental terminology of the Japanese tripartite form is jo-ha-kyū, the introduction, the scatterings, and the rushing toward the end. A Western musician might wish to compare this with sonata allegro form and its three parts (exposition, development, recapitulation). But the Western example relates to a complete event and involves the development of certain motives or melodic units (such as first and second theme), whereas the Japanese concept may be applied to various segments or complete pieces that are generally through-composed (i.e., with new material for each segment). Japanese music reveals its logic and its forward motion not by themes but by a movement from one section to another different one until the final section is reached. Forward motion in motive Western music was often derived during the classical periods from the tension created by chord progressions. In Japanese music, such sonic events generally are not used. Nevertheless, the need for aurally recognizable patterns falling into a progression that the informed listener can anticipate is necessary in all music. In Japan such stereotyped patterns are melodic or rhythmic, not harmonic. They will be discussed in detail later; but the recognition, whether intellectual or aural, of the existence of such recurring patterns is essential to the appreciation of any music.

Word orientation
      One of the artistic ideals of Japanese music is equally clear in all of East Asia. It is the tendency for much of the music to be word-oriented, either through actual sung text or through pictorial titles to instrumental pieces. With the exception of variation pieces (danmono) for the Japanese koto, one can seldom find a purely instrumental piece in the spirit of, for example, the Western sonata or symphony. Japanese ensemble pieces, like those mentioned earlier in China and Korea, are either dance pieces, instrumental versions of songs, or descriptive. This ideal in all of East Asia was not weakened until the late 19th century, when such music was forced to compete with Western idioms.

      By the same token, the ideal of the composer (musical composition) as genius, so dear to 19th- and 20th-century Western hearts, had little place in earlier East Asian music. In Japan, as in China and Korea, the names of many composers are known, but the actual setting of their music was and still is often done by a group of fairly anonymous people. One may know who was helping out at a given time and in a given place; but in any written form of the music their names, or even the name of “the” composer, may often be missing. The process might best be called communal composition. In the Orient, particularly in Japan, the performer is often the person remembered and noted. Such an ideal is understood in the West by fans of popular music. Although this ideal has given way to the Western composer “star” system in modern Japan, it does depict an important social setting for any appreciation of the older Japanese classical traditions. In keeping with this artistic ideal, one should add that often there is not one “correct” version of a given piece. Most traditional music is organized under guild systems, and thus each guild may have its “secret” version of a well-known piece. A given guild will play its version precisely the same way in each performance, for improvisation has practically no role in any of the major genres of all East Asian music. Differences are maintained between guild versions, however, in order to identify a given group's musical repertoire as separate from all the rest.

      The separation of guild styles can be carried further to one more artistic ideal, which holds that it is not just what one plays on an instrument, it is how one plays it. For example, in the case of the taiko drum mentioned above, the manner in which a player sits, picks up the sticks, strikes the drum, and puts the sticks away will reveal the name of the guild to which he belongs and also can be used to judge his skill in performance. No Japanese instrument is merely played. One could almost say that its performance practice is choreographed. Such distinctions exist in the music of other East Asian cultures as well, although the clues to their understanding have not yet been revealed to outside listeners and viewers. This brief discussion of their existence in Japanese music will serve to enhance the appreciation of at least one Asian tradition as the discussion turns to a chronological study of its many styles.

Codification of court music
      The previously mentioned documents from the Nara period (710–784) demonstrate how very active music was in the newly established capital in Nara. The general term for court orchestra music, gagaku, is merely a Japanese pronunciation for the same characters used in China for ya-yüeh and in Korea for a-ak. As Japan absorbed more and more of the outside world, the music of the court, like that of T'ang dynasty China during the same general centuries, received an increasing variety of styles. In 702 these styles were organized under a music bureau (gagakuryō), and by the early 9th century an additional Outadokoro (Imperial Poetry Bureau) was created for handling Japanese-composed additions to the repertoire. Among foreign genres, the musical styles of the nearby Three Kingdoms of Korea have already been shown to be some of the first imports, Silla music being called in Japanese shiragigaku, Paekche music, kudaragaku, and Koguryŏ music, kōkurigaku. Music from the Three Kingdoms was sometimes called collectively sankangaku. Under all these terms were found still other Chinese and northern Asian traditions, in addition to music purported to have come from India as early as 736. Evidence of such a distant import can be found in a surviving court dance (bugaku) called “Genjōraku,” whose story about the exorcising of a snake can be traced to an ancient Indian Vedic tale. The date of 736 is also assumed for the entrance of music from Indochina, which survived for several centuries in a form of music called rinyūgaku. Although this tradition is now lost, there are extant detailed pictures of the ensemble along with other ancient instruments and a variety of dances in sources such as the 14th-century copy of the 12th-century Shinzeigakuzu scroll.

Influence of T'ang dynasty (Tang dynasty) China
      The dominant musical style of early gagaku was, naturally, from China (arts, East Asian) and was called T'ang music (tōgaku). In Japan, as in Korea, the establishment and maintenance of such a music has made it possible for modern listeners to hear foreign versions of famous pieces long forgotten in the country of their origin. For example, there are names of pieces played and dances performed in Japan that are also found in T'ang Chinese lists. Unlike in China, however, many of these works are still played in Japan, and a few of the original costumes and masks used at that time are preserved. Perhaps the most valuable treasure in Japan for such materials from the ancient traditions of all of East Asia is the Shōsō-in, a storehouse built for the household goods of the emperor Shōmu after his death in 756. In this collection (which includes a few later additions from temples) one can find some 21 percussion instruments, 12 strings, and 12 winds, in addition to dance masks, notation, and drawings. Some of the materials are Chinese or Korean imports, while others are Japanese-made. The Chinese variant of the arched harp of the ancient Middle East (in Japanese the kugo) is best preserved here. The very decorations of certain instruments can also be historical gold mines. For example, the protective cover across the face of one plucked lute (biwa) contains the picture of a performer riding a camel near a palm-treed oasis. Another such cover depicts a group of foreign (i.e., not East Asian) musicians accompanying an energetic dancer, all on the back of an elephant. Etchings along a hunting bow show scenes of dancing and music performances connected with a popular imported art of acrobatics and juggling called sangaku.

Music of the left and of the right
      Further images of Japanese musical life can be captured from the Heian period (794–1185). In the very first chapter of the 10th-century Ochikubo monogatari, one of Japan's earliest novels, the sad fate of the heroine is noted by the fact that she was never able to learn how to play the Chinese seven-stringed ch'in zither, although she did have some training in Japanese koto music. The famous 11th-century works, such as Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji (Tale of Genji, The)), are filled with romantic koto, biwa, and flutes, as well as gagaku and bugaku performances and the singing of many songs. Diaries also show that the courtiers, now moved to Kyōto, found music to be a useful and frequent adjunct to their insular courtly life. It was in this period that the many forms of official court music were organized into two basic categories. The so-called music of the left was called tōgaku and contained the Chinese- and Indian-derived pieces. The music of the right was called komagaku and contained all Korean and Manchurian examples. In both categories there were pieces that by this time may have been Japanese arrangements or original compositions. The terms left and right were derived from the Confucian-based administration system of the new capital, which divided the entire government into such categories. In bugaku they controlled the costumes of the dancers, left dances emphasizing red, right dances, green. In gagaku these two major divisions standardized the instrumentation of the ensembles. When playing dance accompaniments, stringed instruments were deleted, but the two orchestras for purely instrumental performances were complete. Each used plucked 12-stringed zithers with movable bridges called gaku-sō or by the generic term koto. The string section was completed by a four-stringed plucked lute, the gaku biwa. A small hanging gong (shōko) and a large hanging drum (tsuri daiko) were found in both. The leader of a tōgaku piece would use a barrel drum (kakko) with two lashed heads struck with sticks, while a komagaku piece would be led by an hourglass san no tsuzumi drum similar to the Korean changgo. The standard melodic instrument for both was the double-reed hichiriki, with a komabue flute being added in komagaku and a ryuteki flute in tōgaku. The Japanese shō mouth organ appears in both.

      In modern performances the shō plays a fascinating cluster of harmonies, although there is some feeling that the original Chinese interpretation of its notation was melodic, with little or no harmonic addition. Part of the performance problem, outside the impressive age of the music, is that gagaku notations came only in part books (partbook), which were often rather like Western “lead sheets”; i.e., they served as memory aids rather than detailed guides. For example, the shō notation gives only one note for every four beats of a standard piece. The modern interpretation is that each note represents the bottom of a chord, but the notes might actually have been the skeleton of a melody. The earliest surviving form of instrumental notation in Japan is a book, dated 768, of lute ( biwa) music found in the ShōĨō-in. The earliest flute part book is dated 966, and a few additional wind or string books remain from the 10th to the 13th centuries. More frequent sources can be found from the last 300 years. Scores did not exist until modern times.

      The traditional part-book notations reflect the importance of oral, rote learning and the guidance of a teacher. For example, flute and hichiriki notations in their standard forms consist of columns first marked off by dots representing major percussion time markers (usually every four beats, though there are five- and six-beat pieces). Next, one finds a column of syllables called shoga, which were used to help one memorize the instrumental part by singing it. With this system it was even possible to substitute a vocal rendition of one part in an ensemble if that instrument was missing. Finally, there is another parallel column that contains a skeleton of notes or fingerings on the instrument itself. Obviously one can comprehend fully the subtle ornamentations and nuances of any melody notated in this manner only through the guidance of a teacher. In the case of the string (stringed instrument) notation, one generally finds only the names of stereotyped patterns along with occasional notes. The percussion (percussion instrument) notations likewise consist of names for stereotyped patterns. If both the strings and percussion are played as written, they appear to be merely time markers, in accordance with the colotomic principle found in much Southeast Asian and some East Asian music (the demarcation of time intervals by the entrance of specific instruments in prescribed order, a procedure contributing to the musical structure and imparting a sense of progression).

      But, as in jazz, there must have been more to the music hidden in the oral tradition. Further clues as to the performance practice of this music in addition to its underlying music theory and its practical uses are found in several important sources. In 735 an ambassador, Kibi Makibi, brought back from China a 10-volume digest of musical matters (called in Japanese Gakusho yoroku), which implies the Chinese foundation of the art. In 1233 a court dancer, Koma Chikazane, produced another 10 volumes—the Kyōkunshō, describing Japanese gagaku matters. Of equal value is the Taigenshō, written by a gagaku musician, Toyohara Sumiaki, in 1512, when court music seemed on the verge of extinction.

Tonal system (tonality)
   By a combination of these sources—Buddhist music-theory tomes, part books, and present-day performance practice—it is possible to understand many of the basic principles upon which ancient Japanese music was founded. From what has already been said about the beginnings of Japanese court and religious music, it is not surprising to find that the complete tone system of both consists of the Chinese 12 tones shown in notation I—>, the only difference being the Japanese pronunciations of the characters for each pitch name. The scales in IX-A—>show that Japanese ancient music followed the East Asian tradition as well in the use of two seven-tone scales, each with a pentatonic core. The ryo scale (set on C for the sake of comparison) shows no great difference from the Chinese scale in III—>; but the ritsu scale seems to reveal the early presence of an indigenous Japanese tonal ideal with the placement of its half steps.

   Japanese gagaku and Buddhist music theories contain most of the classical Chinese ideas concerning transpositions and modes, but in practice the two scales shown in IX-A—>could be constructed on only three pitches each: ryo on D (ichikotsu), G (sōjō), and E (taishiki); and ritsu on E (hyōjō), A (ōshiki), and B (banshiki). Note that the pitches for such transpositions form a classic pentatonic (D–E–G–A–B). The two names for the pitch E are present in order to make a distinction between the two scales possible on that same tone. In the unaccompanied court songs and the chants of Buddhism, one can observe the use of other transpositions, for all oral traditions in the world “adjust” notated pitches to the preferences of given singers. In gagaku instrumental music, the six tonalities are observed, part books for each instrument being organized in sections by the tonalities of the compositions. A few pieces are found in more than one tonality. A transcription of part of the basic melody for such a composition, “Etenraku,” is shown in notation X-A/B—>. Although set in two ritsu tonalities (hyōjō and banshiki; X-C—>), it is obvious from this example that the piece, which is a “crossover” (watashimono), is more than merely transposed.

  Although the scale has been transposed, yet the pitch centre of the melody also has been changed (from E to C♯). This is one of the few clear examples in performance practice of the mode systems spoken of in music theory. A glance at the related folksong “Kuroda-bushi” (X-D—>; see below) and at the in scale (IX-B—>) provides a preview of an emphasis on such a different mode centuries later.

      In the poetry-oriented court life of Japan, secular vocal music would obviously be important. Many of the poems in classical collections seemed originally to have been song texts. One of the oldest secular song forms is saibara, which was first inspired by the singing of pack-train drivers. Among the new fads of Heian period vocal music (called collectively eikyoku) were rōei, songs based on Chinese poems or imitations of them, and imayō, contemporary songs in Japanese. Many gagaku melodies were given texts to become imayō songs, while others were derived from the style of hymns used by Buddhist missionaries. Little of these vocal traditions remains, but memories of their importance are preserved in nearly every novel and diary of the period. For larger surviving repertoires it is necessary to turn to religious music.

Shintō music
      The indigenous religion of Japan, Shintō, was closely connected with the legendary legitimacy of the emperor. Thus, special Shintō music was devised for use in Imperial shrines, a tradition already familiar from the discussion of China and Korea. In Japan such Shintō music is called kagura. The kind of music and ritual used exclusively in the Imperial palace grounds is called mi-kagura, that in large Shintō shrines, o-kagura, and Shintō music for local shrines, sato-kagura. The suzu bell tree, mentioned before as among the earliest known Japanese instruments, is found in all such events; and the equally ancient wagon zither can be heard in the palace rituals and sometimes in the larger shrines.

      General Shintō chanting (norito) is rather straightforward, whereas the surviving music of mi-kagura is more complex. Unison choruses of men are accompanied by the hichiriki oboe, a kagura-bue flute, the wagon zither, and the periodic rhythmic markings of a pair of long, thin shaku byōshi clappers. The music for mi-kagura ceremonies is divided into two types: one to praise the spirits or seek their aid (torimono), the other to entertain the gods (saibari) in the tradition, mentioned earlier, of the mythological amusements given before the sun goddess. Perhaps the most famous surviving dance suite from the Shintō tradition is Azuma asobi (The Entertainment of Eastern Japan), which can be seen as a courtly reflection of the agricultural base of Japan in its annual performances during the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The work is said to be an imitation of the dance of a heavenly maiden who performed on the beach of Suruga in the 6th century. Azuma asobi, along with bugaku dances, may be seen at many other Imperial, national, and shrine occasions—dim but nevertheless impressive reflections of the colourful courtly life of Japan of centuries ago.

      Mi-kagura is exclusively a male event, but Shintō female dancers (miko) are found in other shrines. Historical documents show that the Heian court, like courts in ancient China or, for that matter, all over the world, appreciated the value of female dancers and their music. In later times the Heian-originated shirabyōshi female dancer-musicians became important elements in the transfer of courtly and religious traditions into later theatrical forms. The major source of religious musical influence is found elsewhere in the Buddhist temples.

      There are many forms of Buddhist hymns, such as saimon, as well as semireligious dance songs, such as goeika, nembutsu odori, and the bon odori performed to folk festivals. But the basis of Buddhist classical music and hence the core of Buddhist influence on Japanese art music is found in the theory and practice of chanting known generically as shōmyō (shomyo). Such a tradition came originally from foreign Buddhist missionaries and next from Japanese converts studying in China. Noted sources from the many Japanese interpretations of this tradition are the Shōmyō yojinshu by Tanchi (1163–1237) of the Tendai sect and the Gyosan taikaishu (1496) of the Shingon sect. The theoretical bases of these studies are similar to the ones already discussed under the topic of gagaku. Here need be added only comments about Buddhist notation (musical notation) systems. Most early chant notations used neumes (neume), squigglelike signs that, like those of the early Christian traditions, served primarily as memory aids with which an initiate could recall the details of a given melody. The most influential system was the so-called go-in hakase, attributed to Kakui (b. 1236) of the Shingon sect. Under this method the five notes of each of three octaves of a pentatonic scale were indicated by the angle of a short line, rather like the hands on a clock. Variations of this method were of great influence in the notation of all vocal music of the period and continue to be used in Buddhist chant today.

Kamakura, Muromachi, and Tokugawa periods

Nō (Noh theatre) music
      The Kamakura period (1192–1333) marks the end of Heian court splendour and the start of a new military government located in Kamakura, far away from Kyōto. In such a context it is not surprising to find the development of long narratives of military history and the flourishing of plebian theatricals. The story of the defeat of the Heike clan (the Heike monogatari) was known in mansions, war camps, and temple grounds primarily as sung by biwa-playing bards (bard). As in the traditions of ancient Greece and Europe, these minstrels were often blind or built their style in that of the blind-priest lute tradition (moso biwa) in which mendicant monks used to recite sutras (scriptures) from house to house or at temples. More lucrative forms of entertainment grew under the circus acts that developed out of the sangaku (folk theatricals) mentioned above; its companion comic acts, sarugaku (literally, monkey or mimic music); and theatricals derived from folk rice-planting dances, dengaku. Street parades (fūryū) and Buddhist entertainments (ennen) also were part of the colourful scene. By the subsequent Muromachi period (1338–1573) the terms sarugaku-no-Nō and dengaku-no-Nō had become the dominant terms for temple and shrine pantomime and dialogue dramas, while the comic interludes of such plays were called kyōgen. Through the support of the military rulers and the efforts of individual artists such as Kan'ami (1333–84) and his son, Zeami (1363–1443), the first major form of Japanese theatre developed. It became known eventually as nō (see below Dance and theatre: The development of dance and theatre in the East Asian nations (arts, East Asian)).

      The music of nō as it is performed today consists of vocal music (yōkyoku) with an instrumental ensemble known collectively as the hayashi. The singing is done by the actors or by a unison chorus (jiutai). The four instruments of the hayashi are a flute (Nō-kan), the taiko stick drum described earlier, a small hourglass drum (ko-tsuzumi) held on the right shoulder, and a larger one (ō-tsuzumi) placed at the left hip.

Melodic (melody) principles
  The writings of Zeami, such as the Kaden-sho, contain terms reflecting the traditional tone systems and terminologies of former times. A distinction was made between the recitative section (kotoba or serifu) of a play and melodic parts (fushi). The melodies of nō can be categorized into two basic styles, the strong (tsuyogin) and the lyric (yowagin). Their differences are most evident in the placement of fundamental tones (tone) and the use of auxiliary tones around them. In the lyric style the three basic tones (jō, chū, and ge) are a fourth apart (see notation XI-C—>). The movement to and from each note is regulated in a manner comparable to the regulated approach to certain intervals in 16th-century Western counterpoint. Similar but different laws are applied to the strong style, the fundamental tones of which are much closer, the standard procedure today being that and chū are one pitch and ge is approximately a minor third below (XI-B—>). Melodies contain various formulas and ornamentations the names of which often reflect earlier traditions in Buddhist chant and court secular songs. The choice of combinations depends on the musical needs of the given dramatic text as well as the position of the music in the general form of the piece. Once more, such restrictions in an “exotic” music should seem reasonable to students of Western art music with its needs for stylistic restraints. The notation (musical notation) of nō singing (sometimes called utai) is derived from simpler Buddhist and early biwa forms that used teardrop-shaped neumes along with important pitch names to remind singers of the performance practice of a given passage. This so-called sesame-seed notation (goma-ten) remains basic to nō vocal music today, and there are many detailed books in modern Japanese to help the initiate follow the music with the aid of a teacher. Variations in notation style and in the interpretation of specific passages are maintained by the various schools of nō along with the “secret piece” tradition basic to much of Japanese traditional music since its beginnings.

Song types
       Tripartite form concept (jo-ha-kyu) in the Noh drama Yumi YawataThe musical-dramatic form of nō has as many variations as any other creative genre, such as an opera or a symphony. Table 1 (Tripartite form concept (jo-ha-kyu) in the Noh drama Yumi Yawata) shows the outline of the form of one play, Yumi Yawata (“The Bow at the Hachiman Shrine”). In it one can see the manner in which the concept of jo-ha-kyū, or tripartite form, is applied in the context of sections (dan) along with typical placements of nō musical styles within such a form. The shidai is usually an introduction, and the na-nori allows the first character to identify himself. The traveling song (michiyuki) is followed by a song emphasizing higher tones (ageuta). Songs with lower melodic emphasis (sageuta) and other styles (issei, kuri, and rongi) mix with more recitative sections (sashi, kotoba) and with entrances (deha), closings (kiri), and dances (kuse and mai).

       Within each of these sections and subsections one must remember that drama and text have their influence as well. Although the drama is not all poetic, the earlier discussion of Chinese theatre should prepare one for the fact that many lines of the text are indeed actually poems or are influenced by poetic form. Although there is great variety in the syllable lengths and combinations, the most common divisions in nō are into lines of 7 or 5 syllables. Such a 12-syllable line has been constructed in English in notation XI—> along with a 16-syllable variant so that the reader can compare certain basic principles in the settings of Japanese nō texts. The placement of a text rhythmically can be done in three major ways: o-nori, with 1 syllable per beat (XI-A—>); chū-nori, with 2 syllables per beat (XI-B—>); and hira-nori, in which 12 syllables are worked into an eight-beat frame (XI-C—>). The setting shown in XI-A—>is in the spoken (kotoba) style, XI-B—>, in the strong (tsuyogin) singing, and XI-C—>is lyric (yowagin).

 Note in XI-C—>that, although there are two sections of 7 and 5 syllables, the actual division of their presentation (4 + 3 + 5) is tripartite—i.e., in the form of jo, ha, and kyū. Lines of greater numbers of syllables in hira-nori require more beats, and 12-syllable lines themselves can be handled in many other ways. Thus, one must not take this artificial example to be representative of the only style of nō text setting any more than one can consider a given eight-beat phrase from one Mozart opera as being sufficient to show all there is to aria form. Nevertheless, the settings given in notation XI show in their syllable displacements and melodic contours that such “Oriental” music, like that of all cultures, does have a thorough internal logic. Nō music shares with Western art music the extra convenience of a complete written music theory, of which this short example demonstrates only a few elementary principles. The principles may be taken one step further by constructing a typical drum accompaniment for the hira-nori version of the texts.

Function of drum patterns
   The lower portion of XI-C—>represents one possible setting of the text by the music of the two tsuzumi drums. The music of the nō drums consists of a series of named, stereotyped patterns that are aurally perceivable and that tend to progress in given orders. The pattern supporting the vocal line in XI-C—>is called in both drum parts mitsuji, although they do not always play a pattern with the same name. The circles represent moments in which the drum is struck, and the words are drum calls (kakegoe) uttered by the drummers. These calls are as essential to the performance and recognition of a given pattern as are the drum sounds themselves. They help to give each pattern a unique aural image. Also, the manner in which the calls are performed by the player helps to signal and control the timing of each beat in a music that is often very elastic in rhythm. Note in addition that, in XI-C—>, the first call of each drummer builds up to his first actual striking of the drum, which in turn marks the divisions between the three parts—i.e., the jo, ha, and kyū phrasing of the vocal line. In actual performance the spacing of the beats in the vocal line may not be even with those of the drums, though beats 3 and 5 often match. The controlled but subtly varied relations of song to rhythmic accompaniment in nō drama are analogous to harmonization in Western music.

 This point may be taken one step further by showing (in notation XII—>) a set of named patterns for the taiko stick drum, an instrument used only in dance sections of a play. Placement of the dots shows right- and left-hand strokes; black dots indicate the softer—and light dots the louder—strokes. The few patterns (tetsuke) in the example are from a set of 59 found in a taiko instruction book. A study of them shows that they belong to families (tegumi; the kizami family in A and B and the uchi dashi group in C and D). Once more the principles of harmony in Western music come to mind; i.e., a C-major and C-minor chord are related because they share some common aural traits (the tones C and G in this case). If one looks into a lesson book of taiko music, one will find that, as in many Western harmony books, the student will be told what patterns may appear before or after each item. In Western music one learns in a similar way that certain chords may be preceded and followed by others. In both the Japanese and Western cases there is a selection of permissible choices of earlier or following events for each pattern. Thus, it would seem that the concept of prediction and anticipation is fundamental to the listener's sense of logical progression in the music of both. The major difference in this case is that the aurally perceivable, named, stereotyped pattern of Western traditional music is a vertical sonority called a chord, whereas in nō music it is a horizontal time unit called a tetsuke.

Role of the flute
 The music of the nō flute (nō-kan) has many stereotyped patterns, but it functions in rather different ways from the drums of the hayashi. Although it seems originally to have related to the vocal line, today it does not play the singer's melodies. The nō flute looks like the ryuteki flute of gagaku; but a short cylinder has been inserted inside its tube so that the upper holes of the flute overblow a seventh (as A–G) rather than the octave, as with all other flutes. This unique characteristic of the flute seems to reflect the tonal principles of nō mentioned earlier, whose basic notes outline a seventh (A–D–G in notation XI-C—>). The flute may give a specific pitch to set the tonality of a vocal entrance, but its normal functions today are to signal sections of the form and to play one of the dozen standard dance pieces used in various nō dramas. The dance pieces are set in sections (dan). Each piece is learned by rote or by a notation consisting of flute mnemonics placed in a frame of eight squares representing beats in a manner rather like the Korean notation mentioned earlier. The flute's seven holes are fingered by the middle joint of the fingers instead of the tips, producing an impressively fluid melody that would not fit into the graphic notation system of traditional Western music. At the same time, it does not compete with the nō vocal line by being too melodically clear. Indeed, a discussion of the nō flute seems to be a particularly appropriate finale in this brief survey of nō music (nō-gaku); for it shows that the form of each musical item—whether performance practice, pitch relations, structure, or notation—follows the needs of its functions. The music of nō drama seems on first hearing to be one of the most puzzling of East Asia's exotic sounds, but a study of its principles can make it become as reasonable and as beautiful as a Bach cantata.

koto music

Schools and genres
      The 13-stringed zither with movable bridges called the koto has been mentioned as one of the basic instruments of the court ensembles as well as a common cultural accoutrement for court ladies. The development of independent solo and chamber music genres for this instrument becomes more evident as one moves into the Muromachi period. The earliest surviving school of solo koto music is Tsukushi-goto. It was first noted on the island of Kyushu in the late 16th century where, over the centuries, court refugees and exiles gathered during upheavals in Kyōto. Earlier Chinese influences also are claimed as part of its creation, though historical facts are obscure. Tsukushi-goto repertoire is said to begin with variants of imayō court songs. Sets of songs were accompanied by the koto and sometimes by the three-stringed plucked samisen (shamisen in Tokyo dialect). The sets were called kumiuta, a term applied to much of the chamber music that followed. The 16th-century priest Kenjun is credited with the creation of the school and its first compositions. The tradition became more secular when it appeared in Edo. There, a 17th-century blind musician named Johide, claimed as a student of Hosui, a student of Kenjun, developed his own version of such music. He added compositions in more popular idioms and scales, named himself Yatsuhashi Kengyō, and founded the Yatsuhashi school of koto. The title Yatsuhashi was adopted later by another apparently unrelated school to the far south in the Ryukyu Islands.

      Additional schools of popular, or “vulgar,” koto (zokuso) reflected the mercantile life of the new Tokugawa (Tokugawa period) (also called Edo) period (1603–1867). In 1695 another third-generation extension of the Kenjun's koto tradition was Ikuta Kengyō, who began his Ikuta school. The term kengyō had been one of the basic ranks of musicians under the guild system and so is frequently found in professional names, but the name Ikuta remained as one of the primary sources of koto music until the creation of still another school by Yamada Kengyō (1757–1817). In present-day Japan the Ikuta and Yamada schools remain popular, whereas the earlier traditions have faded considerably. Both schools have provided famous composers; and there are several pieces from their schools, as well as a few earlier works, that are now shared by the guilds as part of the classical repertoire of the koto. The slightly longer and narrower shape of the Ikuta koto produces a tone easily distinguishable from that of the Yamada school.

      Koto music is known in general as sōkyoku. In the koto solo instrumental music (shirabemono), the most important type is the danmono, a variation piece in several sections (dan), each normally of 104-beat length. The term for koto chamber music, sankyoku, means music for three. The standard instrumentation today consists of a koto player who also sings, along with performers on a three-stringed plucked samisen lute and an end-blown shakuhachi flute. In earlier times a bowed variant of the samisen called the kokyū was used more often than the flute. The basic genre of chamber music is called jiuta and combines the earlier kumiuta tradition of accompanied song with instrumental music by alternating sections with singing (uta) and instrumental interludes (tegoto). After the 19th century a second embellishing koto part (danawase) often was added to the instrumental interludes. Innovations carried out during the 20th century will be covered later in this article.

Tuning (tuning and temperament)s and notation (musical notation)
      Each school of koto music from the courtly tradition to the present time involves changes in the structure of the instruments as well as changes in playing method and notation. The ancient court koto (gaku-so) is similar to the modern koto and is played with picks (tsume) on the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand or with bare fingers, although, unlike the Ikuta and Yamada styles, the left hand is not used to alter the tone by pressing the string on the other side of the movable bridges. Its notation consists primarily of the names of basic patterns in addition to occasional melodic fragments and the text. The survival of such music is dependent on a continuing viable rote tradition; thus, most of the tradition is lost.

   The tunings of the 13 strings of the court koto were derived from the modes of the ryo and ritsu scales of the earlier periods. The tunings used in the Edo koto traditions, however, reveal new, apparently indigenous, tonal systems. These concepts were eventually categorized under the two scales called yo and in, shown in notation XIII-A—>. The tunings in XIII-B—>and XIII-C—>reflect the new kinds of pentatonism of the period with their use of half steps. The hira-joshi tuning appears in such famous early works as Rokudan (Six Dans) ascribed to Yatsuhashi Kengyō, the “founder” of the modern koto styles. In all, there are some 13 standard tunings for the koto and many variants. Like all the other popular music in Japan from the 17th century on, these koto tunings are based either on the older tradition preserved in part in the yo form or on the more “modern” in scale. One can note in the 19th century occasional pieces deliberately written in the previous gagaku mode style as well as the use of the Holland tuning (oranda-choshi), the Western major scale derived from the Dutch business area on Deshima in Nagasaki. Nevertheless, the yo-in system remains the fundamental tonal source for new Japanese music from the 17th century on, exceptions being revived court music, new nō plays, and the work of avant-garde composers after World War II.

      The earliest printed notations of koto, samisen, and flute pieces from the Tokugawa period are found in the Shichiku shōshinshū(1664), the Shichiku taizen (1685), and the Matsu no ha (1703). Although many sections of such collections contain only the texts of songs, one can find certain pieces that parallel the line of words with numbers representing strings on the koto or finger positions on the samisen, names of stereotyped koto patterns, or mnemonics for the particular instrument with which the piece is learned. In the late 18th century both the koto and the samisen traditions developed more visually accurate notations. The koto version (first seen in the Sōkyoku taisho, 1779) used various-size dots to indicate rhythm. In the early 19th century, string numbers were placed in columns of squares representing rhythm, as in the system mentioned earlier in Korea. The numbers and squares eventually were combined with the 2/4 bar-line concept of the West; so that the notations of both schools today, although separate systems, maintain a balance of traditional and Western ideas. Their modern compositions attempt to do the same as well; but before they can be treated, attention must be given to the traditions connected with the other major instruments of the Tokugawa period.

Schools of shakuhachi flute music
      The shakuhachi end-blown flute is a variant of the Chinese hsiao, and examples of it can be found in the famous 8th-century Shōsō-in treasure house mentioned earlier. During the Muromachi period (1338–1573) a smaller Japanese version called the hitoyogiri became popular as a solo instrument, but the best-known form of the shakuhachi is the one developed in the Tokugawa period. The instrument was used by komusō, priests who begged or sometimes spied while wandering through the streets playing the flute incognito, their heads covered by a special wicker basket hat. With the changes in contemporary Japanese society, many former warriors no longer carried their swords, whereas young merchants carried more money. One curious side effect of such changes was the occasional appearance of a shakuhachi tucked in the back of one's belt for use as a musical device or as a club.

      The major schools of shakuhachi music today come from guilds, the Meian and Kinko, whose origins derive from two sects of an earlier Fukeshu guild of komusō priests. In the Meiji (Meiji Restoration) era (1868–1912) the monopoly rights of the various music guilds of the previous period were abolished; and a Tozan school was founded for teaching the music to amateur musicians, a custom soon adopted by the other guilds.

      The instruments of all schools may vary in size and the number of finger holes for the purpose of pitch as well as differences in timbre ideals. The standard shakuhachi has four finger holes along the front and one thumb hole behind. A bell is formed by the bamboo root stems at the end of the flute. The mouthpiece is cut obliquely outward, and a small piece of bone or ivory is inserted at the blowing edge in order to help produce the great subtle variety of tones typical of shakuhachi music. The basic repertoires of the music are divided into three general types. Original pieces (honkyoku) are those claimed to be composed by the founders or early teachers of a given school, whereas outside pieces (gaikyoku) are taken from other genres or other schools of shakuhachi music. New pieces (shinkyoku) continually appear and are kept in that category. Shakuhachi notation varies with each school; however, all are based on mnemonics with which the music is taught. Given the exceptional subtlety of tone changes and ornamentation in all traditional shakuhachi music, such a notation system seems quite logical. The beautiful introverted sounds of shakuhachi music seem closer to Buddhist chant than to other instrumental forms and are best learned by the ear and heart rather than by the eye and brain.

samisen music
      The three-stringed plucked lute of Japan is known as the shamisen in the Tokyo area or as the samisen in the Kansai district around Kyōto. It seems to have arrived in Japan as an import of the sanshin, or jamisen, from the Ryukyu Islands in the mid-16th century. The Ryukyu form of the instrument, with its oval body and snakeskin, is obviously derived in turn from the Chinese san-hsien. Such an origin is reinforced by collections of early Ryukyu music, which use a so-called kukunshi notation similar to the Chinese symbols shown in notation V. The Japanese samisen underwent considerable physical change, its body being rectangular and the skins coming from a cat or dog. Apparently under the influence of contemporary biwa lute traditions, the plectrum of the instrument was changed from the talonlike pick of the Ryukyus to a wooden or ivory bachi with a thin striking edge. In addition, the lowest string was kept off the small metal upper bridge near the pegbox so that it produced a buzzing sound (sawari) distinctly reminiscent of the tone of a biwa. The three basic tunings of the Japanese instrument are hon-chōshi (b–e′–b′; b represents the B below middle C, b′ the B above); ni agari (b–f♯′–b′); ανδ san sagari (b–e′–a′). These tunings have remained standard to the present day, although there are occasional variants.

 Greater variety is found in the many genres of samisen music. The earliest types seem to have been played by old biwa entertainers around saka, a city then called Naniwa; hence the name of the new genre was naniwa-bushi. Samisen was used for folk music and party songs, but, in keeping with the biwa origin of the first performers, narrative music was of prime importance. Such music became known as jōruri, the term being derived from the title of a famous story of the princess Lapis Lazuli (Jōrurihime monogatari). As different guilds of samisen evolved, it was possible in modern times to divide them into two basic styles: narrative traditions (katarimono) and basically lyrical musics (utaimono). Table 2—> is an outline of the development of these two styles in terms of genre names. Sekkyō was an earlier form of Buddhist ballad drama for the general populace and thus is placed at the beginning of the narrative style, for sekkyō-bushi was eventually done with samisen accompaniment. The term jiuta has already been mentioned as one of the early chamber music forms and thus starts the lyrical list.

 Turning to the narrative list first, one finds a mass of names, most of which after naniwa and jōruri are derived from the professional name of the musician who began the style. Except for the terms ogie and utazawa, the names for the lyrical styles are more descriptive. It has already been noted that kumiuta means a set of songs. The terms hauta and kouta stand for short lyrical pieces such as would be heard in a teahouse or at a banquet. nagauta means a long song and represents the major genre in this category, which will be described presently. Each of the styles listed in Table 2—> uses a samisen of different size with different weight bridges and design of plectrums. The voice quality of the singers is quite different as well. For example, a professional shinnai singer would find the performance of gidayū as difficult as would a French opera specialist attempting to sing Wagner.

      The most famous and perhaps most demanding of the narrative styles is gidayū, named after Takemoto Gidayū (1651–1714), who worked with Chikamatsu Monzaemon in the founding of the most popular puppet-theatre tradition (known as bunraku) of Ōsaka. The gidayū samisen and its plectrum are the largest of the samisen family, and the singer-narrator is required to speak all the roles of the play, as well as to sing all the meditations and commentaries on the action. The part is so melodramatic and vocally taxing that the performers are often changed halfway through a scene. There is little notated in the books (maruhon) of the tradition except the words and the names of certain appropriate stereotyped samisen responses. The samisen player must know the entire drama by heart in order to respond correctly to the interpretations of the text by the singer. The two musicians sit on a platform to the stage left of the theatre and through the intensity and skill of their performance help bring life and pathos into the wooden characters who move with frighteningly realistic gestures in the hands of three puppeteers. The power of gidayū is such that it can be heard in concert versions as well. In the 19th century a school of female performers (onna-jōruri) carried on the concert tradition with equal ability.

Kabuki theatre
 The nagauta form of lyric music, like most of the other narrative forms, began with a close relation to the kabuki popular theatre of the Tokugawa period. The first kabuki performances used instruments (hayashi) from the nō drama. Because kabuki was related to the flourishing demimonde of the major cities, however, the music of the party houses and brothels was soon added to the theatre. By the mid-17th century the names of nagauta singers and samisen players were listed on posters along with the cast. In the same manner, the names of musicians in many of the other genres listed in Table 2—> were adopted to denote parts of a play. Although nearly all the music listed can be heard in concert forms today, the major genres still included in kabuki productions are gidayū, tokiwazu, and kiyomoto from the narrative styles, and nagauta from the lyrical. Rather than being discussed individually, they will be viewed in the total theatrical context and later brief reference will be made to their concert forms.

Onstage music
      Kabuki as theatre is discussed below in the section Dance and theatre: The development of dance and theatre in the East Asian nations. (arts, East Asian) Its musical events can be divided into onstage activities (debayashi) and offstage groups (geza). In plays derived from puppet dramas, the gidayū musicians, called here the chobo, are placed on their traditional platform offstage left or behind a curtained alcove above the stage-left exit. If other genres are used, the performers are placed about the stage according to the scenery needs of the play. There are some plays in which several different kinds of onstage music are required, a situation called kake-ai. The most common dance scene today, however, is one in which the onstage group consists of nagauta musicians and the nō hayashi. The samisen and singers are placed on a riser at the back of the stage, and the hayashi sit before them on floor level—thus, their other name of the shitakata, meaning “the ones below.”

      There are as many different types of dances that require different kinds of music as there are in Chinese or Western opera. In a general view, perhaps the most intriguing side of this variety is the relation of the older drum and flute parts to the vocal and samisen melodies of the Tokugawa period. In totally kabuki-style pieces, the tsuzumi drums play a style called chirikara after the mnemonics with which the part is learned. The patterns of this style follow closely the rhythm of the samisen part. If the nō flute is used as well, it is restricted to cadence signals; if a simple bamboo flute (takebue or shinobue) is substituted, it plays an ornamented (ashirai) version of the tune. There are many sections, however, in which the drum patterns and nō flute melodies discussed earlier are combined with samisen melodies. In a classical repertoire of hundreds of set pieces, there are many different combinations, but to many listeners these situations seem rather puzzling at first hearing, with apparently two kinds of music going on at the same time. If the situation is from a play derived from a former nō drama and uses the full hayashi, one notes first that the flute is not in the same tonality as the samisen nor is it playing the same tune. The drums in turn do not seem to relate rhythmically to the melody, as they do in the chirikara style. The drums and flute are, in fact, playing named stereotyped patterns normally of eight-beat length as in the nō. The essential difference between them and the samisen melody is that they do not seem aurally to have the same first beat. A given samisen melody will often make room through silence for an important vocal call in the drum patterns, but the deliberate lack of coordination of beat “one” creates a vital rhythmic tension that makes the music drive forward until it is resolved at a common cadence. Each part is internally rigid and progressive, but its conflict with the other parts forces the music (and the listener) to move the musical event through a time continuum toward a mutual completion.

      The nō flute music is frequently related to the taiko stick-drum rhythm, so that they can be considered as a common unit rather than separate parts. There are situations in which the tsuzumi play chirikara patterns in support of the samisen melody, while the taiko and nō flute play either nō patterns or later kabuki-named drum patterns “out of synchronization” with the other music. At such moments one can see that in kabuki dance music, as in Western Classical music, there are three kinds of musical needs. In the West they are melody, rhythm, and harmony. In this music they are melody, rhythm, and a third unit of one drum and a flute that functions like harmony although its sound is totally different. If this third Japanese feature is called the dynamism unit, then it can be said that nagauta dynamism and Western traditional harmony both serve to colour the line, to create tension that drives the music onward, and to help standardize the formal design of the piece by clarifying cadences or by creating the need for them. All this brings back the earlier point that music is not an international language. The equally logical but different aspect of this music is certainly most obvious and striking.

      The formal aspects of kabuki music are as varied as the plays with which music is connected. In dance pieces derived from nō plays, many of the sectional terms of the nō mentioned above are found. The classical kabuki dance form itself often consists of sections divided into the traditional tripartite arrangement as shown below:

      (1) deha or jo

      oki michiyuki

      (2) chūha or ha

      kudoki, monogatari, odori ji

      (3) iriha or kyū

      chirashi, dangire.

      Generally speaking, the oki represents all kinds of introductory instrumental sections (aigata, or in this case maebiki) or vocal parts (maeuta) before the entrance of the dancer. The michiyuki usually incorporates the percussion section as the dancer enters. The term kudoki is found in the early history of samisen music as a form of romantic music and is used here for the most lyrical section, in which the percussion is seldom heard. The monogatari (story) relates to the specific plot of the dance, and the odori ji is the main dance section, rather like the kuse or mai of the previous nō (Noh theatre) form. During this section, the bamboo flute may appear for contrast and, in nō style, the taiko drum may be important. The chirashi contains more active music, and the final cadence occurs during the dangire. There are endless variations and extensions of this form, but the many specific instrumentational and stylistic traits found in each of these sections help the listener to become aware of the logical and necessary progression of a given piece through a moment of time to its proper ending.

      Most early collections (shōhon) of onstage music consisted of the text and samisen mnemonics (kuchi-jamisen, mouth samisen) of instrumental interludes (ai-no-te). In the 18th century some of the lyrical forms began to use syllables to represent fingering positions on the instrument, a system called the iroha-fu. In 1762 a set of circles with various extra markings along with the string number were combined in a book called the Ongyoku chikaragusa to create a more accurate if complicated system. Further rhythmic refinements were created in the 1828 Genkyoku taishinsho, but it was not until the modern period that Arabic numbers in the French chevé style (apparently learned in Germany by Tanaka Shōhei) were combined with Western rhythmic and measured devices to create notations that could be sight-read without the aid of a teacher. Three variations on this technique form the basis of most modern samisen notations, although occasional pieces can be found in Western notation as well. Thus, it is possible to purchase large repertoires of nagauta, kouta, or kiyomoto music for performance or study alone. Motivating such notational changes was the increased interest during the mid-19th century in samisen music composed for concert performance (ozashiki) rather than as dance accompaniment. Such a tradition is common practice for all the samisen genres today.

Offstage music
      Returning to the theatre, one finds rather different music offstage. This geza, or kagebayashi (shadow hayashi), music is normally placed in a small room on stage right with a view of the drama through a bamboo curtain. The music consists of special samisen and vocal pieces and a great variety of percussion signals. For example, a huge ō-daiko barrel drum with two tacked heads signals the beginning of a program, in keeping with the sounds given by the same drum from a tower over the entrance of very early kabuki theatres. Other drums, bells, gongs, and clappers are used to reinforce stage action, and special offstage songs may set the mood or location of a scene, particularly in those scenes in which onstage musicians do not appear. For example, the singing of the offstage song “Eight Miles to Hakone” will tell an audience that the scene is set along the old Tōkaidō (the ancient road between Tokyo and Kyōto), whereas the sound of waves (nami-no-oto) beat on the ō-daiko drum indicates that the scene is on the road near the sea. A type of offstage song called meriyasu may be used to reflect the silent thoughts of the stage character, while the call and response of occasional beats offstage of two ko-tsuzumi drums will place a scene in a mountain area with its echoes. As in Western musical theatre and films, many of the sounds are naturalistic, whereas others are traditional means of evoking desired responses from an audience.

      Theatregoers in both traditions are often unaware consciously of the means used for such reactions even though familiarity has made their dramatic value very real indeed. The specific musical devices used in a given kabuki play are under the control of a headman, hayashi gashira, who works with the first samisenist, the actors, and the director to produce the desired results. Thus, the musical contents of a given play may change with different productions. In Kabuki the combination of offstage and onstage music creates a total atmosphere that has few parallels in other world theatres. Perhaps it comes as close as anything to the composer Richard Wagner's ideal of the all-embracing art form (Gesamtkunstwerk).

      During the late 19th century the biwa-accompanied narratives enjoyed a revival. The blind-priest biwa (moso biwa) tradition had originally been divided into two schools named after the provinces in Kyushu from which they came, Chikuzen and Satsuma. The tradition declined greatly over the years. When the Imperial restoration began in the Meiji period, many members of the new administration were from those provinces. Thus new schools of narrative biwa music arose under those two names, influenced at this time by several samisen narrative traditions. The topics of the new biwa pieces were often military and appropriate to the modernization period. The 19th century also was one of Japan's periodic revivals of interest in things Chinese, reduced somewhat with the advent of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95. Another late Tokugawa period style was shigin, the singing of Chinese poems in an intense solo style quite unrelated to the Heian rōei tradition of Chinese-based songs. Shigin was later accompanied by shakuhachi, and during the increased military spirit of the Meiji period it was combined with a posturing sword dance, tsurugi-mai. It also appeared in biwa concerts and could still be heard on rare occasions after World War II.

  Courtly writings have left little information about the music of the peasants in any detail, but some folk songs and theatricals of the Tokugawa period remain for modern study. The rice-planting, harvesting, and other work songs that survive may retain ancient melodies and may also be evidence of the indigenous origins of the yo-in scale systems to which most such music belongs. In this context, the first phrase of the folk song “Kuroda-bushi” is shown in notation X-D—>as it is said to have been derived originally from a Heian period imayō based on the gagaku piece shown in X-A—>. Most folk songs are, of course, regionally functional but historically vague and subject to the normal changes of any oral tradition. Viewing as a whole both the performance practice and voice qualities of Japanese folk music, one finds a great variety of styles. Such richness may reflect the long periods of Japanese feudalism, which fostered many different musical dialects.

      The many processionals and pantomimes of folk theatricals are accompanied by flutes and percussion, the generic term for such ensembles being hayashi. During the Tokugawa period the Shintō shrines of Edo (Tokyo) developed festival ensembles (matsuri bayashi) for the various major districts of the city. Most of these combine a bamboo flute with two folk-style taiko stick drums, an ō-daiko barrel drum, and a small hand gong called the kane, or atarigane. When such groups are playing general festival music, they all use a suite of five pieces: yatai, shoden, kamakura, shichome, and another yatai. However, their versions of each piece can be very different. When dance or pantomime is involved, the sato-kagura music mentioned earlier is used. The kagura-bue flute is often replaced by the nō flute. It combines with an ō-daiko and a diabyoshi barrel drum. The patterns on the heads of the latter contain East Asian male-female designs. One head is struck with thin bamboo sticks, the drum sitting to the side so that the player can better see the dancer. Lion dance (shishi mai) ensembles often use a trio consisting of a bamboo flutist, a gong player, and a drummer who plays a taiko and a small odeko barrel drum. Cymbals (chappa) and samisen may appear in other folk pantomimes or dances. The most common folk dances are the summer bon odori, traditionally performed in circles around a high platform (yagura) where the musicians or tape machines are located.

      Given the oral base of all folk music, many songs are lost with the demise of another old farmer or worker. Scholarly and commercial interest in national music remains strong, however. Folk song preservation societies (minyo hozon kai) exist whose functions are to preserve “correct” performances of a single folk song. Such specificity seems unique to Japan. Regional and international folk-based Japanese ensembles flourish, and the summer dances can be seen in Japanese communities from Tokyo to Detroit.

The Meiji (Meiji Restoration) period and subsequent music

Sources of Western influence
      The period of Japanese history after 1868 is often thought of primarily in terms of its Westernization. The three major sources of Western music in Japan were the church, the schools, and the military.

Religious and military music
      Christian (Christianity) music had, in fact, been introduced into Japan as early as the mid-16th century with the arrival of Portuguese merchants and Roman Catholic priests. With this importation came Catholic music and Western musical instruments, the most lasting of which was the double-reed shawm, which survives today as the tuneful accessory of itinerant noodle sellers. The bowed rebeca lute may have combined with the Chinese hu-ch'in in the creation of the bowed kokyū of 17th-century Japan. However, the suppression of Christianity in that century destroyed the bamboo organs, choirs of mass singers, and most of the other direct Western musical imitations until the Meiji restoration. The official doctrine of new religious freedom in 1872 brought large numbers of Protestant missionaries into action, and collections of hymns with Japanese text were printed by 1878. Interdenominational editions were necessary by the 1890s. Since that time, standard Catholic and Protestant musical activities can be found and, with the international growth of Tokyo, one can even add the sounds of synagogues and a mosque. But the growth of musical acculturation in Meiji Japan is better seen in its other foreign imports.

  band music, as part of a military table of organization, had already been tried in Dutch style at a military school in Nagasaki during the early 19th century. After Matthew C. Perry's arrival in 1853, every foreign delegation to Japan did its best to impress the natives with marching bands (Perry added a minstrel show). Thus, the various Japanese regional and national military leaders were quick to add such organizations to their modernized armies. The emperor was equally aware of the Western musical values displayed by the first foreign missions and ordered that the gagaku musicians be trained in band music as well. A navy band from the Satsuma clan gave the first Japanese public performance of this new music at the opening of the railroad in 1872, and in 1876 gagaku musicians made their debut as band musicians on the occasion of the emperor's birthday. The training of the many new ensembles was in the hands of English, French, and German bandmasters, and new music was created by them or by their Japanese students to match the spirit of Meiji modernism. The most famous case is the national anthem, “Kimi ga yo,” which was one of the few successful early attempts at combining Western and Japanese traditions. A British bandmaster, William Fenton, teaching the Japanese navy band, worked together with gagaku musicians through several unsuccessful versions; and the search continued through his German successor, Franz Eckert. A court musician, Hayashi Hiromori (1831–96), is credited with the melody shown in notation XIV—>, which was given its premiere in 1880 and has remained the national anthem since that time. Hayashi first wrote it in traditional gagaku notation; and Eckert “corrected” it with Western harmonization, noting that it fit in both a gagaku mode (ichikotsu) and one from the Western church tradition (Dorian). As Japan's military prowess grew, standard Western-style marches and patriotic pieces dominated the repertoire. They also influenced popular music with such genres as rappa-bushi (literally, “bugle songs”) as well as music in the schools.

Music education
      Public-school music in Japan was organized by a member of a Meiji educational search team, Izawa Shūji (1851–1917), and a Boston music teacher, Luther Whiting Mason (1828–96). Mason was brought to Japan in 1880 to help form a music curriculum for public schools and start a teacher-training program. Although there was much talk of combining the best of East and West, the results of the sincere efforts of an American late-Victorian and a Japanese bureaucrat were less than glorious. The first children's songbook, the Shōgaku shōkashū (1881), contained either Western pieces with Japanese words or songs newly composed by Mason.

      The primary sources of Western tunes were those pieces from Boston schoolbooks that appeared to be pentatonic. Through this method songs like “The Bluebells of Scotland” spoke of beauty (“Utsukushiki”), “Auld Lang Syne” concerned fireflies, and Stephen Foster became the major composer of songs known to educated Japanese children. The newly composed songs with their artificial tunes and moralistic words quickly faded away and eventually were replaced by more popular children's school songs based on military music (gunka) from the Sino- and Russo-Japanese wars. The teacher-training school became the Tokyo School of Music by 1890 and included instruction in koto and, because of the lack of proper violins, the bowed kokyu. The music department of the modern Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music is still located at the spot of the original school in Ueno Park, Tokyo, with a bust of Beethoven beside the entrance. Koto, samisen, nō music, and Japanese music history are now found there, along with extensive offerings in Western music. However, until the late 20th century, music education was totally Western in orientation. Japanese music was presented in middle-school music appreciation courses only some 10 years after the end of World War II. The teaching of Western-style singing and the use of choruses have become fundamental to a proper education in Japan, with the results that youth and workers' choruses of the 20th century are cut off from original Japanese music. It was only with the rise all over the world in the mid-20th century of searches for cultural or ethnic identities that the Western nature of Japanese music education has been bypassed by some youth. Such a move should be quite clear to followers of Euro-American folk- and minority-group music revivals. In Japan, 20th-century activists, right or left, have attracted youth by the use of the public-school choral tradition in new textual contexts. Behind the robust volume of such functional, harmonized tunes lies the equally viable if quieter sounds of older, traditional music.

Traditional styles
      The pre-Meiji period of 19th-century Japanese traditional music, known generically as hōgaku vis-à-vis Western music (yōgaku), was generally strong. It has been noted that certain styles of samisen music had been able to create concert repertoires disconnected from dance or party accompaniment. Koto teachers and composers also flourished; and biwa music began to return along with court music, paralleling the restoration of Imperial power. The most devastating effect of the restoration was the canceling of monopoly privileges previously held by the various guilds, including those in the music fields. This temporary economic-social setback was overcome by the admission of students from all classes of people and, at the same time, by a concerted effort on the part of more imaginative musicians to make some compromise between their old traditions and the new sounds flowing in from the West. In general, the evaluation of Western music by Japanese traditionalists showed that it differed from hōgaku in the following ways: it used other tone systems; it was thicker in texture, with more high and low notes going on at the same time; part of this thickness was sets of chords; it was generally considered better if it were faster and louder and the instruments were played more fancifully; it used more instruments at a time; it used different kinds of metres; and it had other forms, often organized by the concept of first and secondary themes. A survey of late 19th-century and early 20th-century musical experiments in Japan shows that every one of these characteristics was tried out, particularly in koto and samisen music.

      Perhaps the most obvious and successful composer in the new traditional music (shin hōgaku) following World War I was Miyagi Michio (1894–1956), a blind koto teacher in the Ikuta school. In 1921 he composed a piece “Ochiba no odori” (“Dance of the Falling Leaves”), which used two koto, samisen, and a 17-stringed bass koto of his invention. Later works by Miyagi combine orchestras of traditional instruments, sometimes with strikingly successful results, although concerti for koto by some composers, with their mass koto and shakuhachi accompaniments, rather negate the entire sound ideal of the original idioms. The 1929 duet for shakuhachi and koto, “Haru no umi” (“Spring Sea”), has proven Baroque-like in its performance practice, for it is often heard played by the violin, with koto or piano accompaniment. Its style equals the French composer Claude Debussy in his most “orientale” moments. The Japanese traditionalist's view of Western music described above continued to be employed after World War II with such works as multimovement pieces using mixed orchestras in other contemporary idioms, including electronic manipulations. Such trends are best seen in the context of Western-style Japanese composers.

Composers in Western styles
 Although graduates of the Tokyo School of Music and modernized court musicians were involved in many of the first concerts and compositions in Western classical music, the major Japanese forces in this direction came from young men who studied in Europe. The most famous surviving composition of this era is Kojo no tsuki (The Ruined Castle), written in 1901 by Taki Rentarō after his training in Germany. The first line, shown in notation XV—>, reveals, with its use of E or E♯, a conflict between the Western minor and the Japanese in scales. In its piano-accompanied version it recalls the style of Franz Schubert, but as sung in the streets it sounds Japanese. Yamada Kōsaku was training in Germany when the Meiji era ended (1912) and returned to Japan with a new name, Koscak, and a strong interest in the founding of opera companies and symphony orchestras, as well as in the teaching of Western music. His opera, Kurobune (1940; The Black Ships), deals with the opening of Japan to the West and reflects his knowledge of Wagnerian style. Attempts at nationalistic operas can be represented better by the work Yuzuru (1952; Twilight Crane) by Ikuma Dan. The plot is a Japanese folktale, and, although the musical style is a mixture of the music of Maurice Ravel and the late works of Giacomo Puccini, one finds as well deliberate uses of folk songs and idioms. Shimizu Osamu is perhaps more successful nationalistically in his choral settings of Japanese and Ainu music, in which the style of vocal production and chordal references seems to be a more honest abstraction of Japanese ideals. Mamiya Michio combined traditional timbres with 12-tone compositional technique in a koto quartet. Mayuzumi Toshirō has produced many clever eclectic results in such works as his Nirvana Symphony (1958); Buddhist sutra texts mix with a combination of choral writing in the style of Igor Stravinsky, orchestral tone clusters, and sweeping vocal lines derived from Japanese Buddhist chant style.

      It has often been felt that no true combination of Japanese and Western music would be possible until there was some composer who was equally knowledgeable in both Western and Japanese traditional styles. Such a musical, aesthetic barricade seemed unbroken until the last third of the 20th century, when international music styles made culturally transcendental eclecticism a viable medium for those composers with enough talent and insight to control the infinite idioms available to them. In Japan, Takemitsu Toru seems a likely candidate for such an accolade. His music is totally contemporary and never directly “orientale,” yet some of his senses of timing, texture, and structure are characteristically Japanese.

      In modern Japan all styles of music are available, from the traditional to the most avant-garde. Fully professional performances of kabuki music are matched by complete Beethoven symphonic series. Huge choruses singing polemics of every type and mass bands of children bowing violins in the widely imitated method of instruction developed by Shinichi Suzuki compete for audiences with intimate recitals of Heike biwa music and hundreds of other events. Research in Japanese traditional music has flourished among native scholars as well as among an increasing number of foreign devotees; and national, private, and academic organizations have been founded for the collection, study, and publication of material dealing with all aspects of Japanese musical life.

      From the outline of Japanese musical culture given above, it should be evident that old traditions can still be heard along with the newer ones. For the most part, the older forms probably do not sound the same today as they did in their heyday. Such changes in traditions are inevitable, however, and are common to music in most other world cultures, including the Western. For example, present-day gagaku performances are undoubtedly different from those of 1,000 years ago, but Mozart symphonies as well do not sound the same as they did in the 18th century. Now modern technology has made it possible to “freeze” a given performance of some musical event through a recording. Each musician in each generation may choose as he desires to add fresh flavour to such earlier items or leave them “pure.” Part of the charm and fascination of Japanese music is that it still offers so many stylistic listening and studying choices to anyone curious or energetic enough to want to know them better. A major point of this entire discussion is that none of the various styles of East Asian music is any more mystical or incomprehensible than is Bach or Beethoven. Each tradition is simply different. All of them are also logical and—perhaps of greater importance—they are beautiful to those who learn their special forms of musical language.

William P. Malm

      From ancient times dance and theatre have played a vital role in China, Korea, and Japan. Many performances of plays and dances were closely tied to religious beliefs and customs. In China, records from about 1000 BC describe magnificently costumed male and female shamans who sang and danced to musical accompaniment, drawing the heavenly spirits down to earth through their performance. Impersonation of other characters through makeup and costume was occurring at least by the 4th century Bc. Many masked dances in Korea have a religious function. Performances invoking Buddha's (Buddhism) protection are especially popular and numerous in Japan and Korea. Throughout East Asia the descendants of magico-religious performances can be seen in a variety of guises. Whether designed to pray for longevity or for a rich harvest or to ward off disease and evil, the rituals of impersonation of supernatural beings through masks and costumes and the repetition of rhythmic music and patterns of movement perform the function of linking man to the spiritual world beyond. Hence, from the earliest times in East Asia, dance, music, and dramatic mimesis have been naturally fused through their religious function.

      In East Asia the easy intermingling of dance and theatre, with music (musical performance) as a necessary and inseparable accompanying art, also derives from aesthetic and philosophic principles (see above). In the West, by contrast, concert music, spoken drama, and ballet have evolved as separate performing arts. Confucian (Confucianism) philosophy holds that a harmonious condition in society can be produced by the proper actions of man, including the playing of music and the performance of dances that are appropriate and conducive to moderation. Throughout China's history, poems were written to be sung; songs were danced. Dancing, while it might occasionally be pure dance without meaning, more often was used to enact a story in the theatre. Zeami (1363–1443), the most influential performer and theoretician of nō (Noh theatre) drama in Japan, described his art as a totality, encompassing mimesis, dance, dialogue, narration, music, staging, and the reactions of the audience as well. Without arbitrary divisions separating the arts, there has developed in East Asia exceptionally complex artistic forms that produce on their audience an impact of extraordinary richness and subtlety.

      Dance may be dramatic or nondramatic; in all traditional theatre forms, some elements of dance will be found. Puppets, masks, highly stylized makeup, and costuming are common adjuncts of both dance and theatre. Dialogue drama (without music) is rare but does exist. The major dance and theatre forms performed today in East Asia can be loosely classed as unmasked dances (folk and art dances in each country), masked dances (Korean masked dances and bugaku and folk dances in Japan), masked dance theatre (nō in Japan and sandae in Korea), danced processionals (gyōdō in Japan), dance opera (Peking and other forms of Chinese opera), puppet theatre (kkoktukaksi in Korea and bunraku in Japan), shadow theatre (in China only), dialogue plays with traditional music and dance (kabuki in Japan), dialogue plays with dance (kyōgen in Japan), and modern, realistic dialogue plays introduced from the West into China, Korea, and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Characteristics of East Asian dance and theatre
Common traditions
      As previously noted, China, Korea, and Japan have been historically close for centuries, thus accounting for their numerous common artistic traditions. From pre-Christian times until the 8th and 9th century AD, the great trade routes crossed from the Middle East through Central Asia (Central Asian arts) into China. Hinduism, Buddhism, some knowledge of ancient Greek, and much knowledge of Indian arts entered into China, and thence in time into Korea and Japan. Perhaps before Christ, the Central Asian art of manipulating hand puppets (puppetry) was carried to China. For more than 700 years, until 668, in the kingdom of Koguryŏ (Koguryŏ style), embracing northern Korea and Manchuria, court music and dances from Central Asia, from Han China, from Manchuria, and from Korea, called chisŏ and kajisŏ, were performed. Many of the dances were masked; all were stately as befit serious court art. They were taken to the Japanese court in Nara about the 7th century. Called bugaku in Japan, they have been preserved for 12 centuries and can still be seen performed at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, though they have long since died out in China and Korea. In Koguryŏ's neighbouring kingdom of Paekche, a form of Buddhist masked dance play was performed at court, and, in the 7th century, it too was taken to the Japanese court at Nara by a Korean performer, Mimaji, who had learned the dances while staying at the southern Chinese court of Wu-hou. Called kiak in Korea and gigaku in Japan, the Aryan features of some of its masks clearly indicate Indian (or Central Asian) influence. Such complicated genealogies are common in East Asian performing arts.

      Very likely by the 7th century, gypsylike puppeteers, who originally had been nomads from Central Asia and had taken up abode in northern Korea, migrated to Japan. The men continued to be both herdsmen and puppet manipulators in their new homeland, while the women performed dances and sang as popular entertainers. (There may have been a native puppet tradition in Japan as well.) In time the art of puppet manipulation joined with that of epic storytelling to produce the famous Bunraku puppet theatre. Musical accompaniment for bunraku and for other popular plays in Japan, such as kabuki, was provided primarily by the samisen, a three-stringed lute, borrowed from China by way of Okinawa. The lion dance, originally from China, is performed in a score of versions in Korea and Japan as well as in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Bali. Certain myths (myth) are dramatized in common as well. The story of the angel or nymph who flies down to earth and arouses the love of a mortal man is known in many parts of the world. It is dramatized in Southeast Asia (especially in Myanmar [Burma] and Thailand, as the play Manora), in Chinese opera, and in both nō and kabuki theatre in Japan (as Hagoromo [The Feather Robe]). The legend of the one-horned wizard who traps the dragon gods of rain and causes a searing drought originated in India and was later transmitted by the Chinese to Japan, where it is dramatized in nō (Ikkaku sennin [“The One-Horned Wizard”]) and in kabuki (Narukami [Saint Narukami and the God Fudō]).

      The direction of artistic exchange was reversed in the 19th century. As part of Japanese national policy following the Meiji Restoration (1868), artists studied Western performing arts. In the early decades of the 20th century, Chinese and Korean actors, dancers, and playwrights studying in Japan took back to their countries Western theory and practice in ballet, modern dance, and theatre. Most influential was the Western dramatic theory of realism. It diametrically opposed the traditional intermingling of music and dance with drama, and it eschewed the stylization and symbolism that lay at the heart of East Asian performing arts for more than 2,000 years. A conflict between traditional and Western performing arts came into being that continues to the present.

      As has been noted, dance and theatre are accompanied by music (musical performance) in all except the most unusual cases. Music may be instrumental or vocal. The music is especially composed for each bunraku puppet play in Japan and for most dance plays and court dances. Fixed melodies accompany most folk performances. In Chinese opera and in Japanese Kabuki, melodies appropriate to scene, action, character, or mood being portrayed are selected from a standard musical repertoire of several hundred tunes. The knowledgeable spectator easily identifies scenes by the music that accompanies them (a similar system is found in Southeast Asian theatre). The close linking of music with dance and theatre can be seen in the Korean drum dance, in which the dancer also is a musician who plays the drum, and in a number of Japanese kabuki and puppet plays that show characters expressing hidden feelings by playing a musical instrument. Equally important, the performer demonstrates to the audience his skill in yet another refined accomplishment.

      The performing arts of India are closely linked to sculpture and painting by the unusual phenomenon that bodily positions in all these arts are regulated by similar, indeed almost identical, codes. The code of hand gestures, for example, for the dancer (dance notation) and the actor set forth in the Nāṭya-śāstra (“Treatise on the Dramatic Arts”; dated variously from the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD and later), a treatise on dramaturgy, is identical with that for Buddhist temple sculpture, or painting. Although these hand positions (mudrā) from India also are seen in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese statues of the Buddha, they have never been adopted by performing artists (as, by way of contrast, they were by dancers and actors in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Java, and Bali).

      In three notable instances, however, the performing arts in China and in Japan can be seen to be closely related to the visual arts. During the Sung dynasty (960–1279) in China, Northern and Southern schools of painting evolved that were totally different in style; the former used bold outline and brilliantly contrasting colours of deep green, blue, and gold, while the latter emphasized delicate, monochrome ink painting of misty landscapes. Northern and Southern schools of opera at the time reflected the same contrasting characteristics: the former dynamic, vigorous, and filled with action, the latter emphasizing wistful emotions and soft, gentle singing. Zen Buddhism was a common source of inspiration in the 15th and 16th centuries in Japan for nō dance drama, for the tea ceremony, for ink painting, and for the art of rock-and-sand gardens. Spareness of form, discipline, and suggestion rather than explicit statement are Zen attributes found in these and other arts cultivated by the military ruling class (samurai) of the time. In 18th-century Japan, a lively and faddish urban culture produced both ukiyo-e woodblock prints and kabuki. In fact, ukiyo-e artists, such as Tōshūsai Sharaku, established their fame by portraying famous kabuki actors as their subjects. Eroticism, verve, brilliant colouring, and an intense interest in the passing moment characterize equally both kabuki theatre and ukiyo-e visual art.

      Although dances were often performed to sung poems and plays either were written in verse form or contained references to classic poems, the performing arts traditionally are seen as distinct from literature in East Asia. A century and a half passed in kabuki before the first complete play script (dramatic literature) was preserved, and in China, where a tradition of written literature goes back to 1400 BC, no play text was considered worth committing to paper until the late Sung, about the 13th century. With few exceptions, playwrights have rarely been accorded the same status as writers of poetry, novels, or criticism. As a result, the performing arts in East Asia succeeded by and large in escaping the stultifying grip that literature came to hold on Indian Sanskrit drama and, some would say, still holds, at least in part, on drama in the West.

      The general outlines of artistic borrowings among East Asian countries can be traced from historical records. But borrowing tells only half of the story. No matter how strong the initial outside influence, in time, assimilation of the foreign art took place. Older native performing traditions reasserted themselves, and new creativity altered the borrowed elements. This can be seen even in bugaku dances in Japan; although they are believed to preserve ancient Chinese and Korean forms to a very remarkable extent, native Japanese qualities are also present. Local styles predominate even more in the popular arts. Japanese bunraku puppet plays and kabuki theatre show almost no observable signs of foreign influence. In spite of certain general cultural similarities, then, the dance and theatre of China, Korea, or Japan exhibit definite local characteristics not shared by the arts of their neighbouring countries.

      In China singing became highly developed, and the most important theatre performances are built around song (hence the term Chinese opera). Dance as a separate art has a weak tradition there and, at least in the 20th century, is tied very closely to the theatre. The shadow (shadow play) theatre, known from Morocco through Egypt and Greece and in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia, is found in East Asia only in China. In Korea there are scores of court and folk dances and danced plays, but no sophisticated dramatic forms evolved until the 20th century. Masked dances especially are characteristic of Korea. In Japan, from an early tradition of imported pure dance and from folk dance, complex theatrical forms evolved that include dance drama, epic narrative performed as a puppet play, and dialogue dramas either accompanied or unaccompanied by music.

      The aesthetic (aesthetics) principles that govern dance and theatre in East Asia are radically different from those of the West. Dancers in the West attempt to be free from the pull of the Earth, trying to leap and soar in the air. Dancers in China, Korea, or Japan stand firmly on the dance floor, often scarcely raising their feet in the air; they move in relatively slow and often geometric patterns. Arm and hand movements are important and varied, while in Western dance the hands are little used. Whether movement is dance or not, it is always stylized. Speech is stylized as well, whether it is dialogue or narration, chanted or sung. The intent may be to portray archetypes, human or mythological, especially in shadow and puppet theatre and in masked dances and plays. There is great emphasis on form, both for its ritual value and because audiences are trained to recognize the beauty implicit in form. There may be a purposeful contradiction between artistic ends and means: children were moved as human puppets in China, and adults acted before lighted screens to make a living shadow play; in Japan, puppets execute realistic daily actions, while live kabuki actors refrain from duplicating daily life. The East Asian audience is prepared to respond in quick succession to a sequence of different stimuli—physical characterization, human speech, song, narrative commentary, visual composition, formal movement patterns—over long periods of time, for 8 hours in nō or up to 12 hours in kabuki. This differs from the West, where the spectator expects to be exposed to a clearly focused theatrical image for only two or three hours. The East Asian experience is more diverse, more extended, more conventional than the Western experience in the theatre.

      A further important characteristic of dance and theatre in China, Korea, and Japan is that performing arts developed very largely within an oral tradition. By and large the performers themselves created the forms; only gradually did specialists in choreography, musical composition, or writing take their places in performing groups. Even after forms reached maturity, traditions of dance, acting, and music were passed on orally to the next generation. Play scripts came to be written in full only at a late date.

Social conditions
      It is notable that, although some dance and theatre forms were highly regarded in China, Korea, and Japan, performers were usually looked down upon. Wandering performers especially were despised in the agrarian societies, where attachment to the land was valued and Confucian teaching, strong throughout East Asia, stressed veneration of one's parents, which included tending their graves and making offerings for their welfare in the spirit world. The place of drama or of dance in these societies depended in part upon their audiences, whether they were court nobles, villagers, or town merchants.

      Chinese emperors, Korean kings, and Japanese emperors and military rulers (shoguns) all supported performers at their courts. During the T'ang dynasty, the 8th-century Chinese emperor Hsüan-tsung (also called Ming-huang) established schools in the palace city of Ch'ang-an (Sian) for music, dancing, and acting. The latter school was called the Pear Garden (Li-yüan); ever since, actors in China have been called “children of the pear garden” (li-yüan tzu-ti). More than a thousand young people from all ranks of society drew government salaries while studying and performing at lavish state banquets and for official ceremonies. Acting or dancing might be a permanent job (at least until old age made one less attractive) at the Chinese court, but in Korea performers at the court held other positions in the government and were mobilized from around the country only for rehearsal and performance. In Japan, dancers and musicians have been attached to the Imperial household from the 7th century until the present time. First gigaku and then bugaku dances were official performing arts, while shrine dances (kagura) were also partly under Imperial patronage. The military rulers of Japan incorporated into their retinues nō actors and musicians beginning in the 15th century, and, in time, provincial lords also began to follow this practice.

      Court support resulted in high artistic levels in all countries. Performers were relieved of financial problems and could devote themselves, often full-time through their entire lives, to their art. Audiences were educated and for the most part discerning. The importance attached to official performances undoubtedly spurred artists to extend themselves to their utmost. In time, however, such forms as Japanese nō and bugaku and Chinese k'un-ch'ü opera became so rarefied that they could be appreciated only by a small elite group.

      At the Chinese and Korean courts, young female dancers were part of the ruler's personal retinue (often his concubines); they were not allowed to mix with men of the court, so that some court arts were performed solely by men and others solely by women. This custom and the consequent artistic practice of male and female impersonation is also found in court theatre of Cambodia and Thailand. In Japan, women seldom performed at court, and the major dance and theatre forms have been the province of male performers. Since it was unusual for rulers or courtiers themselves to take part in performance (they often did in Java, Bali, and Thailand), the court artist was usually a middle-level civil servant.

      Folk (folk dance) performers, on the other hand, are local villagers who, like the sandae masked dancers of Korea or the young women who perform festive ayakomai dances in Japan, are amateurs who do not live by their art. The midsummer Bon dance for spirits of the dead or early spring rice-planting dances in many areas of Japan or various auspicious dances held at the New Year in Korea and China were performed only once a year, and hence a high level of artistry was not usually achieved. Because many folk performances were held as part of religiously sanctioned rituals (Korean mask plays ensuring harvest, dances and dance plays of many varieties in Japan dedicated to local Shintō deities), performers achieved considerable status in the local community by their participation in these essential communal rites.

      Performers of popular dance and theatre in East Asia live—as do commercial artists everywhere—by their ability to draw audiences who are willing to pay money for a seat in a public theatre. The shadow and puppet performers of China, Peking opera actors and musicians, and kabuki and bunraku puppet performers in Japan are popular artists. Neither a part of village culture nor patronized by the court, they have always been held suspect by their rulers. Kabuki, in particular, was faced with repressive government action throughout most of its history. Popular theatre grew in importance in China and in Japan concurrently with the growth of large urban centres and a moneyed, mercantile economy, in the 17th–19th centuries. (An important urban popular theatre did not develop in Korea.) Today troupes perform nightly through the year, when it is possible, and consequently, in popular theatre, large repertories of standard plays are created (some 350 in kabuki and more than 200 in Chinese opera). Popular theatre forms in China and Japan are intensely theatrical, though they lack literary qualities which would recommend them to the intelligentsia. Indeed, kabuki in Japan and Peking opera in China have had little official status until the mid-20th century in spite of their immense audience popularity and their obvious excellence as performing arts. Traveling troupes that perform shadow or puppet plays, do acrobatics and juggling, dance and sing, and perform versions of court or popular entertainments have long been a feature of Chinese and Korean village and provincial town life. Artistically the forms are related to folk performing arts; socially the performers are considered outcasts, wandering entertainers of no status who belong to the popular tradition of performing arts.

The development of dance and theatre in the East Asian nations

Formative period
      Singing and dancing were performed at the Chinese court as early as the Chou dynasty (Zhou dynasty) (c. 1111–255 BC). An anecdote describes a case of realistic acting in 402 BC, when the chief jester of the court impersonated mannerisms of a recently deceased prime minister so faithfully that the emperor was convinced the minister had been restored to life. Drama was not yet developed, but large-scale masques (masque) (a short allegorical performance with masked players) in which dancing maidens and young boys dressed as gods and as various animals were popular. Sword-swallowing, fire-eating, juggling, acrobatics, ropewalking, tumbling, and similar stage tricks had come from the nomads of Central Asia by the 2nd century BC and were called the “hundred entertainments.” During the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) palace singers acted out warriors' stories, the forerunners of military plays in later Chinese opera, and by the time of the Three Kingdoms (AD 220–280) clay puppets were used to enact plays. These evolved into glove-and-stick puppets in later years.

T'ang (Tang dynasty) period
      The emperor Hsüan-tsung showed interest in the performing arts, stimulating many advances in stage arts during the T'ang dynasty (618–907). More than a thousand pupils were enrolled in music, dance, and acting schools. Spectacular masked court dances and masked Buddhist dance processions that soon were learned by Korean and Japanese performers were part of court life. Three types of play are recorded as having been popular. Tai-mien (“Mask”) was about Prince Lan Ling, who covered his gentle face with a horrifying mask to frighten his enemies when he went into battle. Some suggest the colourful painted faces of warriors in today's Chinese opera derive from this play. T'a-yao niang (“Stepping and Swaying Woman”) was a farcical domestic play in which a sobbing wife bitterly complained about her brutal husband, who then appeared and, singing and dancing, abused his wife even more. The embezzling rascal hero of Ts'an-chün (“The Military Counselor”) became a stock character in later plays. Thus, by T'ang times, three basic types of drama were known: military play, domestic play, and satire of officialdom; and establishment of role types had begun.

      The variety play (zaju) (tsa-chü) was created by writers and performers in North China during the Northern Sung dynasty (960–1127). None of the scripts has survived, but something of their nature can be deduced from the 280 titles which remain and from court records. A play consisted of three parts: a low-comedy prologue, the main play in one or two scenes (consisting of extended sequences of songs, dancing, and perhaps dialogue), and a musical epilogue. Two, three, or four variety plays would be included in a program along with a sampling from the “hundred entertainments.” In the following Southern Sung dynasty (1127–1279), northern writers continued composing plays of this general type under the name professional scripts (yüan-pen). None of the 691 professional scripts of which the titles are known has survived. Concurrently a new form of drama, southern drama (nanxi) (nan-hsi), emerged in the area around Hang-chou in southern China. Originally the creation of folk authors, it soon became an appealing and polished dramatic form. A southern drama tells a sustained story in colloquial language; flexible verses (ch'ü) were set to popular music, making both music and poetry accessible to the ordinary spectator. Professional playwrights belonging to Hang-chou's writing societies (shu-hui) wrote large numbers of southern dramas for local troupes. Of these, 113 titles and 3 play texts remain, preserved in an imperial collection of the 15th century. Chang Hsieh chuang-yüan (“Top Graduate Chang Hsieh”) is probably the oldest of the three texts. It dramatizes the story of a young student who aspires to success, earns a degree and position, but callously turns his back on the girl who faithfully loves him.

      Professional theatre districts became established during the Sung dynasty. Major cities contained several districts (17 or more in Hang-chou), with as many as 50 playhouses in a district. Plays performed by puppets and mechanical dolls were extremely popular.

      A legend attributes the origin of shadow (shadow play) theatre in China to an incident said to have occurred about 100 BC: a priest, claiming to have brought to life the emperor's deceased wife, cast a woman's shadow on a white screen with a lamp. Others suggest the shadow play dates only from the Sung period. In any case it was widely performed in Sung times in the theatre districts. Puppets were made of translucent leather and coloured with transparent dye so they cast (like some Indian puppets) coloured shadows on the screen. In this respect they were unlike Javanese shadow puppets, which, though brilliantly coloured, are opaque and cast a largely colourless shadow. Shadow plays are still performed in China. Singers, dancers, actors, acrobats, and other performers were all employed at the professional theatres of the districts. Troupes were as small as possible for economic reasons, containing as few as five or six performers. They would tour the countryside if they had no work in the large cities, thus spreading urban styles of performing arts throughout the vast region of China.

Yüan (Yuan dynasty) period
      Scholars turned to writing drama in the Yüan period (1206–1368) when they were removed from their positions in the government by China's new Mongol rulers, descendants of Genghis Khan. They developed the earlier northern style of tsa-chü (zaju) into a four-act dramatic form, in which songs (in the same mode in one act) alternated with dialogue. Singing was restricted to a single character in each play. Melodies were those of the Peking region. The beauty of poetic lyrics was highly valued, while plot incidents were of lesser importance. About 200 plays survive, from the thousands of romances, religious plays, histories, and domestic, bandit, and lawsuit plays that were composed. Hsi-hsiang chi (The Romance of the Western Chamber), by Wang Shih-fu, is a 13th-century adaptation of an epic romance of the 12th century. The student Chang and his beautiful sweetheart Ying Ying are models of the tender and melancholy young lovers who figure prominently in Chinese drama. Loyalty is the theme of the history play Chao-shih ku-erh (The Orphan of Chao), written in the second half of the 13th century. In it the hero sacrifices his son to save the life of young Chao so that Chao can later avenge the death of his family (a situation developed into a major dramatic type in 18th-century popular Japanese drama). Hui-lan chi (The Chalk Circle), demonstrating the cleverness of a famous judge, Pao, is known in the West, having been adapted (1948) by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The class of bandit dramas are mostly based on the novel Shui-hu chuan (The Water Margin) and its 108 bandit heroes, who live by their wits doing constant battle against corrupt and avaricious officials. The life of the common man is portrayed with considerable reality in Yüan drama, though within a highly formalized artistic frame. The lasting worth of Yüan plays is attested to by the fact that they have been adapted constantly to new musical styles over the years so that Yüan masterpieces make up a large part of the traditional opera repertory.

      Plays of the Yüan period were widely popular with the people. When under the native Chinese Ming rulers (1368–1644) Mongol influence was eradicated, drama was, for a time, forbidden. Revived in the south, it increasingly became a literary form for a scholarly elite. A renowned Ming play is P'i-p'a chi (“Lute Song”), written in 42 affecting scenes, by the scholar Kao Ming in the 14th century. Its heroine, Chao Wu-niang, sets a perfect example of Confucian filial piety and marital fidelity, caring for her husband's parents until their tragic death and then playing the lute to eke out a living as she patiently searches for her husband.

      In the mid-16th century, a musician, Wei Liang-fu, of Su-chou, devoted 10 years to creating a new style of music called k'un-ch'ü (kunqu), based on southern folk and popular melodies. At first it was used in short plays. Liang Ch'en-yü (Liang Chenyu), poet of the 16th century, adapted it to full-length opera in time, and it quickly spread to all parts of China, where it held the stage until the advent of Peking opera, two centuries later. Important k'un-ch'ü dramatists were T'ang Hsien-tsu (d. 1616), famed for the delicate sensitivity of his poetry, Shen Ching (d. 1610), who excelled in versification, and the creator of effective theatrical pieces, Li Yü (1611–1685). A large-scale performance of k'un-ch'ü for the Ch'ing emperor Ch'ien-lung in 1784 marked its high point in Chinese culture. K'un-ch'ü had begun as a genuinely popular opera form; it was welcomed by audiences in Peking in the 1600s, but within decades it had become a theatre of the literati, its poetic forms too esoteric and its music too refined for the common audience. In 1853 Su-chou was captured by the Taiping rebels, and thereafter k'un-ch'ü was without a strong base of support and declined rapidly.

Ch'ing (Qing dynasty) (Manchu) period
 Ching-hsi (jingxi) or ching-chü (Peking opera) came into being over a period of several decades at the end of the 18th century, during the Ch'ing dynasty (1644–1911/12). In the wake of the Taiping Rebellion, k'un-ch'ü troupes resident in Peking returned to their homes in the south. Their places in Peking's theatres were quickly taken by opera troupes from the surrounding provinces, especially Anhwei, Hupeh, Kansu, and Shansi. Anhwei opera had been performed on the occasion of the emperor Ch'ien-lung's birthday in 1790. Peking opera was born of an amalgamation of elements from several sources: rhythmic beating of clappers to mark time for movements (from Shansi and Kansu), singing in the two modes of hsi-p'i and erh-huang (from Anhwei), and increased use of acrobatics in fighting scenes. Undoubtedly, court support for Peking opera from Tz'u-hsi (1835–1908), the Empress Dowager, contributed to its rise, but it was also very widely patronized by local audiences. It became the custom to rehearse in public teahouses, and in time these became regular performances providing troupes with much of their financial support.

      Essentially, ching-hsi was a continuation of northern-style drama, while k'un-ch'ü marked the culmination of southern-style drama. Musically they are very different: the former uses loud clappers and cymbals for scenes of action and the penetrating sound of fiddles accompanies singing; in the latter the flute is the major instrument, and strings and cymbals are absent. A limited number of melodies are repeated many times in Peking opera (set to different lyrics), while in k'un-ch'ü the melodic range is much wider. Peking opera lyrics are in colloquial language (they are often criticized as lacking in literary merit). Overall, the newer opera form is highly theatrical and vigorous, while the older form is restrained, gentle, and elegant. Some Peking operas are Yüan plays or k'un-ch'ü operas adapted to the new northern musical system. Many plays first staged as Peking opera are dramatizations of the war novel San-kuo chih yen-i (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), written in the 14th century by Lo Kuan-chung. Mei Lanfang, the most famous performer of ching-hsi female roles in the 20th century, introduced a number of these highly active military plays into the repertoire. K'un-ch'ü dramas told a long and involved story in great detail, often in 40 or 50 consecutive scenes. It became the custom in Peking opera to perform a bill of a number of acts or scenes from several plays, like a Western concert program.

      Concurrent with the national forms of drama mentioned before, local opera is found in every area of China (the different forms have been estimated at 300). These operas are performed according to local musical styles and in regional languages. General characteristics of most forms of Chinese opera are similar, however. Action occurs on a stage bare of scenery except for a backdrop and sidepieces. A table and several chairs indicate a throne, wall, mountain, or other location. (More elaborate scenery is used in Canton and Shanghai, influenced by Western drama and motion pictures.) Actors enter through a door right and exit through a door left. Costumes, headgear, and makeup identify standard character types. Actors play a single role type as a rule: male (sheng), female (tan), painted-face warrior (ching), or clown (ch'ou). Each role type can be subdivided into several role subtypes. Actors undergo seven years of training as children, during which time their appropriate role type is determined. Singing is essential for sheng and tan roles; minor actors and actors of clown roles must be skilled in acrobatics that enliven battle scenes. Singing is accompanied by a large number of conventionalized movements and gestures. For example, the long “flowing water” sleeves that are attached to the costumes of dignified characters can be manipulated in 107 movements. Pantomime is highly developed, and several scenes have become famous for being enacted without dialogue: in Pai-she chuan (The White Snake) a boatman rows his lovely daughter across a swirling river; in San cha kou (“Where Three Roads Meet”) two men duel in the dark; in Shi yu chuo (“Picking Up the Jade Bracelet”) a maiden threads an imaginary needle and sews. Symbolism is highly developed. Walking in a circle indicates a journey. Circling the stage while holding a horizontal whip suggests riding a horse. Riding in a carriage is represented by a stage assistant holding flags painted with a wheel design on either side of the actor. Four banners indicate an army. A black flag whisked across the stage means a storm, a light blue one a breeze or the ocean. Chinese opera is one of the most conventionalized forms of theatre in the world. It has been suggested that the poverty of troupes and the need to travel with few properties and little scenery led to the development of many of these conventions.

      Confucian (Confucianism) morality underlies traditional Chinese drama. Duty to parents and husband and loyalty to one's master and elder brother or sister were virtues inculcated in play after play. Spiritualism and magic powers, derived from Taoism, are themes of some dramas, but by and large Chinese drama is ethical rather than religious in direction. Plays were intended to uphold virtuous conduct and to point out the dire consequences of evil. The Western tragic view, which holds that man cannot understand or control the unseen forces of the universe, has no place in Chinese drama; the typical play concludes on a note of poetic justice with virtue rewarded and evil punished, thus showing the proper way of human conduct in a social world.

20th century
      With the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, court support for Peking opera by the Manchu dynasty ended. Troupes, however, continued to perform for private patrons and in public at teahouses and in theatres. Following the liberal ideals of the time, attempts were made to write in colloquial language (rather than in classical Chinese, as previously), and old plays considered undemocratic were dropped from the repertoire. A school for Peking opera acting, modeled on Western pedagogical methods, was established in 1930, actresses being admitted for the first time in three centuries. The basic style of opera remained unchanged, however.

      Western spoken drama (hua-chü (huaju)) was first introduced by Chinese students who had studied in Japan and there learned of Western plays. In 1907 a Chinese adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin was successfully staged in Shanghai by students, marking the beginning of a proliferation of amateur study groups devoted to reading and staging Western plays. Originally aimed at only a small group of Western-educated intelligentsia, spoken drama's appeal was broadened to the middle class by the China Traveling Dramatic Troupe, which toured many cities from its home in Shanghai. In 1936 it performed Leiyu (Lei-yü; Thunderstorm), a four-act tragedy by Cao Yu. An extremely successful playwright in the Western style, by 1941 Cao had written six important plays, including Beijingren (1940; Pei-ching jen; “Peking Man”); heavily influenced by Eugene O'Neill and Henrik Ibsen, he portrayed dissolute members of the old gentry class and new rising entrepreneur class.

      Nationalism, the upheaval of World War II, and changes of government in China, Korea, and Japan between 1945 and 1949 are reflected in contemporary theatre and dance in East Asia. In China an estimated 60,000 performers were mobilized into some 2,500 propaganda troupes during the Sino-Japanese War beginning in 1937 under the direction of the well-known playwright Tian Han. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Chinese in the army were exposed to modern forms of drama for the first time, and, equally significant, artists discovered regional folk legends, songs, and dances, which they then incorporated into their work. For example, Baimao nü (Pai-mao nü; The White-Haired Girl) was developed from northern Chinese yang-ko folk dances into both a ballet and an opera. The heroine, an escaped concubine of a cruel landlord, symbolized all victims of feudal governments and oppressive social systems.

      At Yen-an in 1942 Mao Zedong enunciated one of the basic principles of communist (communism) art: art should have the dual function of serving the masses and of being artistically superior. In the years since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, theatre activities have swung between these goals, depending on the current ideological line of the government. Initially, the traditional opera repertoire was purged of feudal, superstitious, or otherwise ideologically incorrect material. Government policy encouraged realistic spoken drama (hua-chü); but, in spite of successes such as Lao She's naturalistic Chaguan (1957; Ch'a-kuan; “Teahouse”), audiences have not responded to this “foreign” form of drama. From 1964, when Jiang Qing, Mao's wife, guided the composition of the first modern revolutionary operas, in which contemporary soldiers and workers were the heroes, until 1977, traditional operas were completely banned. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–76), many traditional theatre artists were denounced or imprisoned. Famous modern drama figures such as Wu Han, author of Hai Rui baguan (1960; Hai Jui pa-kuan; Hai Jui Dismissed from Office), were persecuted and their plays banned. With the fall of the Gang of Four in 1976, the traditional repertoire was reinstated once more and Jiang's “model” revolutionary operas no longer staged. During the decade-long open-door policy (1979–89), theatre contacts with the West were tentatively resumed after 40 years abeyance: Arthur Miller was invited to direct Death of a Salesman in 1983, and the Shanghai Kun-ch'ü Opera Company toured in Europe with its opera version of Macbeth in 1987. The influence of Western plays is seen in the social satire Chia-ju wo shih chen-ti (1979; “If I Were Real”) by Sha Yexin and Gao Xingian's Artaudian Ye ren (“Wild Man”), initially banned, then produced in 1985.

      Government policies strongly affect the economics of Chinese theatre as well as dramatic themes and forms. After the establishment of the People's Republic, professional theatre troupes received full government subsidy. Following economic liberalization policies of 1986–87, however, troupes were required to earn increasing revenues from box-office income. At the same time, urban audience attendance declined (in part because of competition from films and television), with the result that some troupes disbanded and others were reduced in size. Government-supported theatre academies in Peking, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and regional capitals play an essential role in training young theatre artists in traditional as well as modern genres. Foreign theatre exchanges of the 1980s were welcomed by many theatre artists who wished to bring new ideas into Chinese theatre, in particular to appeal to youthful audiences who were abandoning theatre for film and television; these exchanges again were halted in 1989 in the wake of the government's suppression of the Chinese student democracy movement at Tiananmen Square.

      The Nationalist government has supported Peking opera on Taiwan since establishing the headquarters of the Republic of China on that island. Troupes of the air force and the army are active, and the Foo Hsing Opera School receives government support. Local opera (kotsai-hsi), sung in the Taiwanese dialect, is extremely popular in commercial theatres, and many itinerant Taiwanese troupes tour glove-puppet plays (po-the-hi) to towns and villages.

      In addition to folk dances, the main traditional forms that developed in Korea are ritual court dances, masked (mask) dances, and puppet plays. Of these, masked dances and masked-dance plays have perhaps the oldest and richest traditions. Archaeological evidence suggests that masks were used at least by the 3rd century AD to impersonate animal spirits and thereby placate them. Various kinds of masks—demon masks, medicine masks, spirit masks—were worn by shamans as they danced to draw into themselves the spirit being addressed, in order to cure an illness or otherwise affect daily life. Magical properties continued to be associated with masks even after performances ceased to have religious or magical functions and became merely entertainment.

      Lack of records makes it impossible to describe accurately dances and dance plays of Korea prior to the period of the Three Kingdoms (c. 57 BC–AD 668). Chinese, Japanese, and Korean accounts beginning in the 7th century give some indication of court arts in the Three Kingdoms of Koguryŏ (Koguryŏ style), Paekche, and Silla (Shinla). In Koguryŏ, encompassing what is now Manchuria and northern Korea, Central Asian music and dances were combined with local styles of music and dance. Twelve of 24 pieces in the repertoire were mask dances. So highly regarded were the arts of Koguryŏ that they made up a separate Korean component of the Nine Departments of Musical Art and Dance at the T'ang court in China (25 musical and dance items were identified as Korean), and from the 7th century they were introduced into Japan, where they became the basis of bugaku (court masked dance; see ). The strongly Buddhist state of Paekche in the southwest had been in contact with both China and Japan from early in the Christian era. Typical of Paekche was a Buddhist masked-dance processional (kiak), originating in southern China and taken to Japan in 612 by a resident of Paekche, Mimaji. No Korean account of kiak survives, but Japanese accounts make clear that it was performed as a Buddhist ceremonial for evangelical purposes.

Great Silla period
      The third kingdom, Silla, absorbed Koguryŏ and Paekche in the 7th century, and during the Great or Unified Silla period (668–935) the folk and court performing arts of all parts of Korea intermingled. Several major types of masked dance are mentioned in Silla records. The spirit of a noble youth who died to save his father's throne was memorialized in a masked sword dance (before this time, palace dancing girls had performed sword dances, but always unmasked). Masked dances called “The Five Displays” are mentioned in a Silla poetic composition of the 9th century. They included acrobatics, ball juggling, farcical pantomime, shamanistic masked dances, and the lion dance. The similarity of several to Japanese bugaku dances has been noted. Others believe “The Five Displays” derive from the “hundred entertainments” of China. Finally, an important dance play honouring Ozoyong, the son of the Dragon God of the Eastern Sea, dates from this period. Ozoyong showed such generosity toward the spirit of plagues that henceforth the spirit promised never to enter a household where a portrait of Ozoyong was hung. Originally derived from animistic beliefs, the dance was modified by Buddhism and was developed in the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) into a spectacular dance play performed by a cast of 5 masked dancers and 16 unmasked dancing girls and accompanied by an ensemble of 37 musicians.

Koryŏ (Koryŏ Dynasty) period
      The two major court festivals at which performances were held during the Koryŏ period (935–1392) were Buddha's birthday, or the Feast of Lanterns, in the second lunar month, and the midwinter ceremony honouring spirits of local gods. Dances and masked plays from Silla times were carefully preserved and performed on these occasions in a specially decorated and candlelit ceremonial room. New masked plays memorializing loyal warriors who had died in battle were added from the 10th century. Buddha was offered gifts of wine and food, and performance was dedicated to maintaining a reign of peace and harmony. From the time of King Munjong (1046–83), T'ang style dances and sung dramas were performed on other occasions; modified by Korean forms, they became part of Korean court dance in centuries following.

      Folk dances and plays undoubtedly go back many centuries before this; in the Koryŏ period, professional troupes also became part of urban life. The practice of court performers holding civil-service jobs in the major cities and in provincial towns probably accounts for the fact that knowledge of court performing arts began to reach beyond the confines of the court during this time. Popular troupes began the process of secularizing religious masked dances (such as the narye, which formerly was performed to exorcise evil). They performed acrobatics and shows of skill and at least by the 12th century were staging satiric dialogue plays that held officialdom up to ridicule. (The development of social satire is found in many Asian drama forms: the Vidusaka jester in Sanskrit drama, the god-clown-servants of Indonesian wayang shadow plays, and the servants of kyōgen comedies in Japan are major roles in these forms.)

Chosŏn (Chosŏn dynasty) and modern periods
      Buddhism was rejected as a state religion by the Chosŏn (Yi) dynasty (1392–1910), with the result that court entertainments were no longer scheduled according to Buddhist days of worship but at any time court entertainment was required. A Chinese envoy to the Chosŏn court in 1488 described court performances that included the Ozoyong dragon-god dance play, children's dancing, acrobats, ropewalking, and displays of animal puppets. Following invasions by the Japanese (1592) and by the Manchu (1636), court support declined. Former palace performers formed professional troupes, in the process adapting court forms to popular tastes. These performers included all the miscellaneous stage arts in their repertoire and created from the various court dances and masked plays a type of folk masked play usually termed sandae togam gug. A prominent feature was the satiric treatment of depraved Buddhist monks and of grasping officials (naturally, favourite themes for a popular audience). Satiric plays were occasionally performed at court as well, but the banishment in 1504 of an actor for ridiculing the institution of kingship in a court play suggests that satire was not welcomed. P'ansori, a sung narrative accompanied by virtuoso drumming, was created by professional performers during the Chosŏn period. Either a man or a woman could be the solo singer-dancer, often a shaman. The current repertoire of six long stories was codified in the 19th century by the performer Shin Jae-hyo.

      In addition to professional groups, villagers in different areas of the country formed folk groups to perform their own local versions of the sandae masked play and dances. Today the sandae masked play is performed by villagers in Yangju, Kyŏnggi province, and in South Kyŏngsang province in South Korea and in Pongsan, Hwanghaedo province, North Korea. Performers are males. Masks cover either the whole head or the face and are made from paper or gourds or, occasionally, are carved from wood. They are boldly painted to represent the stock characters of the play: monks, shaman, noblemen, young dancing girl, and others. There may be 20 or 30 masks used; often they are burned and made anew each year to ensure their ritual purity. Performance encompasses singing, dancing, pantomime, and dialogue. The stories enacted vary with the village, but common scenes include offerings to the gods, criticism of venial Buddhist priests, exposure of corruption by gentry and officials, flirtation, and a funeral service that brings absolution. Performances may be given as a rainmaking rite.

      The origin of puppet plays in Korea has not been determined; however, in the Koryŏ period puppet plays were widely performed and very popular among the people. Several types of puppet play developed in Korea. The folk puppet play Kkoktukaksi, named after the wife of the main character, is still performed in the summer months in South Korea by farmers in troupes of six or seven players and musicians. Twelve or 15 puppets make a set (compared with more than 100 in Indonesian or Japanese puppet theatre); they are simply made glove-and-stick figures that can be manipulated by a single puppeteer. One play, with variations, is performed. It consists of eight relatively independent scenes that satirize a figure of the gentry who is the major character. Scenes satirizing depraved monks and insulting the gentry, a domestic triangle, and Buddhist prayers for the dead appear to be adapted from masked plays.

      Gu gug (literally “old plays”) became popular about the middle of the 19th century. They were dramatic songs, danced to gestures and simple group movements. Troupes played throughout the countryside and in the National Theatre, built in Seoul by the government in 1902. Until the 1930s, variety programs of gu gug and female court dances were popular entertainments at commercial theatres in the city. Sentimental melodramas, called “new school,” or shimpa, plays (the same name as in Japan), were performed by a dozen troupes that formed and disbanded between 1908 and about 1930. The new school movement was begun by the novelist Yi Injik. Other major figures had learned the style while studying in Japan. In 1931 the actor Hong Haesŏng and others organized the first drama and cinema exhibition in Korea; later that year its organizers formed the Society for the Study of Dramatic Art, which studied and staged translations of modern European plays. It was active until 1939, when it was suppressed by the Japanese colonial government. Nonetheless, by 1940 about 100 amateur groups were using realistic “new drama” (singgug) as a means of social and political protest.

Since World War II
      In Korea after 1940 all dramatic groups were obliged to belong to the Japanese-organized Dramatic Association of Korea. Many groups survived the war with Japan by touring small towns and villages. Performances lagged immediately after World War II because of unsettled conditions. A new National Theatre was established in Seoul just before the Korean War began; national support included subsidies for performances. In both North and South Korea virtually all theatres were destroyed by the war. Excellent theatres were constructed in the 1970s and '80s, however, and performances are numerous in both political areas.

      In South Korea the National Theatre supports large-scale musical dramas, folk dance, and traditional music through performance and troupe subsidies. Among semiprofessional little theatre groups the Drama Center, Jayu (Free), Minye (Folk), Silhom (Experimental), and Kagyŏ (Bridge) theatre troupes are well established. Social problems and the integration of traditional and modern ways are common themes in contemporary plays. Western-style opera, ballet, and modern-dance troupes also perform.

      Plays in North Korea are required to represent socialist construction, be nationalistic, and offer the masses pleasure, following the precepts of “self-reliance” (juche) of President Kim Il-sung (1912–94). A small number of “model” works emphasizing music or dance within grandiose spectacles (“Song of Glory” has a cast of 5,000) make up the repertoire of major theatres.

      Among the most varied and technically complex theatre arts in Asia are those of Japan. While dance remained predominant over drama in Korea and singing is perhaps the most important single element of Chinese performance, in Japan music and dance gradually evolved into highly developed dramatic and theatrical forms, the most important of which are nō dance drama, popular kabuki theatre, and bunraku puppet drama.

Formative period
      From prehistoric times, dances have served as an intermediary between man and the gods in Japan. Kagura dances dedicated to native deities and performed at the Imperial court or in villages before local Shintō shrines are in essence a symbolic reenactment of the propitiatory dance that lured the sun goddess Amaterasu from the cave in ancient myth. Although kagura dance has been influenced by later more sophisticated dance forms, it is still performed much as it was 1,500 years ago, to religious chants accompanied by drums, brass gongs, and flutes. At the same time, villagers had their rice-planting dances, performed either at New Year's as a prayer for good planting or during the planting season in early summer. These lively dances were later, in the 14th century, brought to the cities and performed as court entertainment and called dengaku (“field music”).

7th to 16th centuries
      A massive influx into Japan of Chinese and Korean arts and culture occurred between the 6th and the 10th centuries. It has been noted that a Korean performer, Mimaji (Mimashi in Japanese), brought the Buddhist gigaku processional dance play to the Japanese court in 612. Mimashi established an official school to train Japanese dancers and musicians in gigaku (gigaku mask). Other Korean and Chinese performers from Paekche and Koguryŏ were invited in following years. Gigaku masks cover the entire head (as do Korean folk masks today). Carved of wood and painted with lacquer, the 223 masks that remain (most in the Shōsō Temple in Nara) date back as early as the 7th century. They are superb examples of the art of mask making, strong-featured and beautifully conceived. From a description of a 13th-century performance, gigaku apparently consisted of a succession of scenes enacted as characters passed by. Masks characterized an Aryan-featured dignitary called Baramon (or Brahman, indicating Indian origin), a fierce wrestler, a Buddhist monk, a princess of the state of Wu in China, a bully, a wistful old man, and others. Some scenes were serious, others were earthy slapstick.

      Bugaku court dances introduced from Korea also were patronized by the court. They supplanted gigaku as official court entertainment, and gigaku disappeared as a performing art by the 12th century. It was the custom to have performers of bugaku enter from dressing rooms to the right and the left of the raised platform stage: “right” dances, costumed in orange or red, were those from India, Central Asia, or China proper; “left” dances, costumed in blue-green, were those from Korea and Manchuria. Bugaku is usually performed by groups of four, six, or eight male dancers who move in deliberate, stately steps, repeating movements in the four cardinal directions. Musical accompaniment is by drums, bells, flute, lute, and shō (panpipe). A composition consists of three sections: introduction, development, or “scattering,” and speeding up (jo-ha-kyū). Japanese performers and courtiers created new compositions within the old style in the 10th and 11th centuries. Still, bugaku represents a remarkable preservation of ancient Chinese, Indian, and Korean music and dance that have long since disappeared in their countries of origin. Bugaku has been performed by musicians attached to the Imperial court and to major Shintō shrines from the 7th century without break to the present day.

      Juggling, acrobatics, ropedancing, buffoonery, and puppetry—the “hundred entertainments” of China and called sangaku, “variety arts,” in Japan—became widely popular as well. During the Heian period (794–1185) professional troupes, ostensibly attached to temples and shrines to draw crowds for festival days, combined these lively stage arts, now called sarugaku (literally, monkey or mimic music), with dancing to drums from dengaku and began to perform short plays consisting of alternate sections of dialogue, mimicry, singing, and dancing. Sometime in the 14th century a sarugaku actor from Nara named Kan'ami incorporated in his plays a chanted dance (kuse-mai or kōwaka-mai), for the first time creating the possibility of dramatic dance that could carry forward a story. This fusion of dance, drama, and song, which soon came to be known as sarugaku-no-nō (Noh theatre), or simply nō, marked a revolutionary advance in Japanese theatrical art. Kan'ami's son, Zeami, refined the style of performance, composed 50 or more of the finest nō plays in the repertoire, and wrote fundamental treatises on the art of acting and dramaturgy.

      When Zeami was 11, the military ruler of Japan, the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, saw him perform, became enamoured of the boy's beauty, and took him into his residence in Kyōto as a companion. For most of his life, Zeami benefited from the patronage and the refined audiences that stemmed from this circumstance. The sarugaku troupe that Kan'ami and, later, Zeami headed was one of four in Nara; the others soon adopted the changes in performing style and the plays created by father and son.

      The borrowings of nō from other arts are many. The exquisite masks for which nō theatre is famous have a quality of serenity, a neutrality of expression that places them in a rank perhaps unmatched in the world. Yet, historically there is no doubt that they are derived from earlier bugaku and gigaku masks and hence are related, if distantly, to the masks of Korea, China, and India. One evidence of the special development of nō masks is that they are smaller than previous masks; they cover only the face proper. From bugaku music, Zeami took the three-part structure of the nō drama. A normal nō program consists of five plays, which are grouped into three dramatic units: the introduction, the development, and the conclusion. The first play, a “god” play, constitutes the introduction; the second drama, or “warrior” play, is the introduction of the development section; the third, or “woman,” play is the development of the development; the fourth, or “living person,” play is the conclusion of the development; and the fifth, or “demon,” play is the conclusion. Drums and flute were taken over from earlier musical forms, and nō chanting grew out of Buddhist prayer chants. The songs' poetic meter of alternating phrases of seven and five syllables had come from China six centuries earlier and was the standard Japanese poetic form. On the other hand, the nō stage represents an advance on the simple square platform of bugaku. A sharply peaked roof over the stage is supported by four pillars—to help the performer orient himself as he looks out through tiny eye holes in the mask—and a long ramp, hashigakari, emphasizes the entrance of major characters.

      Typical of a number of nō plays that are dramatizations of Chinese history and legends is the 15th-century Yōkihi, by Komparu Zenchiku, based on the 9th-century narrative poem Ch'ang hen ko (“The Song of Everlasting Sorrow”) by Po Chü-i. The original describes Emperor Hsüan-tsung's love for his concubine Yang Kuei-fei (Yōkihi in Japanese). The nō play emphasizes the Buddhist sentiment of the evanescence of mortal life and the inevitability of pain and sadness. Every nō play contains Chinese poems, quoted verbatim or paraphrased so as to appeal to the educated spectator. It was a first principle of dramatic writing, said Zeami, to base a play on a well-known incident in which the central character was familiar to the audience. Zeami's plays emphasized the quality of restrained beauty (yūgen), a concept derived in part from Zen Buddhism. Later plays, especially those by Kanze Kojirō Nobumitsu (1435–1516), such as Momijigari (The Maple Viewing) and Ataka (The Ataka Barrier), emphasize action and spectacle (fūryū).

      On the usual nō program, each play was followed by a kyōgen farce comedy, performed not by the chief (shite) or supporting (waki) actors of nō but by kyōgen actors who also acted the roles of villagers or fishermen in nō plays. The antecedents of kyōgen cannot be described with certainty, but it is probable that kyōgen's short sketches of master-servant quarrels, husband-wife arguments, animal fables, and scenes of rustic life derive from early sangaku entertainments. A few kyōgen plays are accompanied by the drums and flute of nō. The ritual play Okina, performed as an auspicious prayer for longevity at the beginning of a nō-kyōgen program, is in both repertoires, and some suggest that the kyōgen version is the older. The style of kyōgen music (koutai) is distinct from that of nō music; it is derived directly from popular songs. Kyōgen plays with music are, however, a rarity. The usual play is a straight dialogue drama, making it perhaps the oldest developed form of nonmusical play in East Asia. Dialogue is composed in colloquial language of the 15th century, in short phrases suitable for comedy. Movement is highly stylized, again for comic effect. Masks may be worn for the roles of animals and demons, but most roles are played unmasked. Kyōgen texts do not seem to have been committed to writing until the 16th century, suggesting that actors traditionally ad-libbed their parts. Today kyōgen actors commit lines to memory.

      Nō and kyōgen were dance and theatre forms that had come to express the gravity and decorum of a rigidly formal samurai ruling class by the end of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1574–1600). Artistically severe and highly disciplined, nō was imbued with the sternly pessimistic philosophy of Buddhism. In content, nō plays taught the folly of worldly power and position, that time destroys all living things. The heroes of play after play pray for the divine intercession of Amida (Amitābha) in order that they, tormented ghosts of dead warriors and court ladies, may break free of earthly attachments and achieve Buddhist salvation. In contrast to this, commoners of the cities in the late 16th century began to perform their own dances and plays that were up-to-date, lively, exciting, and at times morally licentious. They were intended to appeal to literate townsmen, well-to-do wives of merchants, workers, and the fops, wits, and dandies of the burgeoning cities.

      During the Tokugawa period (1603–1867) nō was assiduously cultivated by samurai as a refined accomplishment. Commoners were forbidden by law to study nō and were excluded from performances except on special “subscription” occasions, when any person, high or low in rank, could see nō performed outdoors in a large enclosure. Nō became the exclusive theatre art of the warrior class, while bugaku continued as the chief performing art of the Imperial court.

      The earliest important urban entertainments of the commoner in Japan were secularized forms of Buddhist dance plays (ennen) and folk dances (yayako odori and kaka odori) that came to be called fūryū (“drifting on the wind”) dances. They were enormously popular.

      In 1603 several kinds of urban dances were arranged by a young woman named Okuni into a new dance, called Kabuki. Other troupes of female prostitute-performers adopted the sensuous and popular style of Okuni's kabuki dance. A scroll of the period shows Okuni as a young, fashionably dressed samurai, indolently leaning on a sword, dallying with a teahouse girl. Around her neck hangs a Christian crucifix, not as a religious article but as an exotic decoration recently introduced by “southern barbarian” Portuguese merchants. Other pictures of the time show young women playing the three-stringed samisen as they recline sensuously on tiger skins, dancing girls circling about them. Audiences of monks, warriors, young lovers, and townsmen gaze raptly at this appealing and even bizarre sight. The original sensuous appeal of women's kabuki continued long after women were banned from the stage in 1629. From about Okuni's time until 1652, troupes of boy prostitutes performed graceful kabuki dances to samisen music to attract customers. The appearance of professional women and boy performers in kabuki was a phenomenon of urban society. In the past, men alone had performed gigaku, bugaku, nō, and kyōgen. Court nobles and samurai lords had always been able to take mistresses in any number they wished; now the commoner and townsman could, with his new wealth, purchase the favour of a newly risen class of women whose role was to cater to their desires. In the same way, taking young boys as sexual companions, which was common practice among the Buddhist clergy and the warrior class (e.g., Zeami's relationship with the shogun Yoshimitsu), became a feature of Japanese urban life.

      In 1653, when the authorities required kabuki to be performed by adult males, kabuki began to develop as a serious art. During the Genroku (Genroku period) era (1688–1703), most of kabuki's essential characteristics were established. Large, commercial theatre buildings holding several thousand spectators were constructed in the three major cities—Edo (Tokyo), Kyōto, and Ōsaka. The stage, which previously had been simply a copy of the nō stage, became wider and deeper and was equipped with a draw curtain to separate acts; and in the early 1700s a ramp (hanamichi) was constructed from the rear of the auditorium to the stage for actors' entrances and exits. The idea of the rampway came from the nō hashigakari, but, in typical kabuki fashion, it was transformed into an infinitely more theatrical device. From the puppet theatre, kabuki borrowed the use of fairly elaborate scenery, the revolving stage (100 years before its use in Europe), traps, and lifts. To the old nō drums and flute were added the new samisen, a large drum, a dozen bells, cymbals, gongs, and two types of wooden clappers, making the resulting music flexible and varied.

      Nō and kyōgen plays were often performed as kabuki in the early decades. A print from about 1670 shows kabuki actors performing Sumidagawa (The Sumida River), with costumes and properties modeled closely on the nō original. But it was not considered proper for “beggars of the riverbed,” as kabuki actors were called, to stage the art which had become the exclusive privilege of the warrior class. By Genroku times, new kabuki dramatic styles had emerged. The actor Sakata Tōjūİō (1647–1709) developed a relatively realistic, gentle style of acting (wagoto) for erotic love stories in Kyōto, while in Edo, a stylized, bravura style of acting (aragoto) was created at almost the same time by the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō ě (1660–1704) for bombastic fighting plays. In the play Sukeroku yukari no Edo zakura (Sukeroku: Flower of Edo) written by Tsuuchi Jihei II in 1713, the two styles are blended most successfully. The hero, Sukeroku, is a swaggering young dandy and lover acted largely in the Edo style, while Sukeroku's brother, Shimbei, is a meek, gently comic foil in the Kyōto style. Genroku-period kabuki plays are lusty and active and contain much verbal and physical humour.

      Kabuki theatres were required to be built in special entertainment quarters (near licensed quarters for prostitution), along with puppet theatres. Puppets, imported from Korea centuries earlier, were fused with epic storytelling and the resulting narrated play accompanied by samisen music sometime before 1600. The earliest tales were about the princess Jōruri (hence, jōruri as another name for puppet plays). This and other legends were in the nature of Buddhist miracle stories, the obligatory scene being one in which Buddha sacrifices himself or otherwise brings to life one of the main characters. Simple doll puppets, held overhead by one man, animated these blood-and-thunder kojōruri (“old jōruri”) puppet plays.

      A new style of puppet play was created in 1686 by the writer Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1725) and the chanter Takemoto Gidayū at the Takemoto Puppet Theatre in saka, the city which became the home of puppet theatre in Japan. The chanter is responsible not only for narrating the play but for providing the voices of all the puppet characters as well; Gidayū's expressive delivery style remains influential to this day. Chikamatsu went on to become Japan's most famous playwright. Although he is best known for his puppet plays, he wrote kabuki plays as well, most of them for Sakata Tōjūrō. From Tōjūrō, Chikamatsu learned the soft style of kabuki performance and the situation that is so unique to early kabuki, in which a comic lover visits a courtesan in the licensed quarter and quarrels with her. Between Sonezaki shinjū (Love Suicides at Sonezaki), written in 1703, and Shinjū ten no Amijima (Love Suicides at Amijima), written in 1721 three years before his death, Chikamatsu composed for the puppet theatre a dozen domestic tragedies handling the theme of lovers' suicide. As early as 1678, kabuki plays were dramatizing current city scandals, lovers' suicides, murders, and tragic deaths. One of the most characteristic features of kabuki was its contemporaneous dramatic subject matter; puppet drama was much changed when Chikamatsu brought this quality from kabuki into his puppet plays.

      The puppet theatre underwent significant physical change when the puppet operators, samisen player, and chanter were made fully visible to the audience in 1705. In the 1720s and '30s puppet (puppetry) plays gradually became more dramatic and less narrative under the influence of kabuki. A revolutionary three-man puppet was created in which mouth, eyes, eyebrows, and fingers could move, encouraging writers to compose dramatic plays calling for complex emotional expression. A theatre manager and writer, Takeda Izumo II (1691–1756), collaborated with several other authors on all-day history plays, the so-called “Three Great Masterpieces” of puppet drama: Sugawara denju tenarai kagami (1746; The Secret of Sugawara's Calligraphy), Yoshitsune sembonzakura (1747; Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), and Kanadehon Chūshingura (1748; Chūshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers). The latter is the best-loved and most often performed drama ever written in Japan; it typifies mature puppet drama. It is based on actual events that occurred from 1701 to 1703: 46 retainers avenged the death of their lord by killing his enemy and were then sentenced to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide by disembowelment. (A 47th conspirator was not involved in the actual killing.) The major scenes of the suicides of the lord Hangan and his retainer Kampei are intensely emotional scenes of self-sacrifice. Such scenes normally occur as the final section of the third act in a five-act history play and are called sewa (“family”) scenes because, although the figures are samurai, tearful family separation is the emphasis of the scene. Ichinotani futaba gunki (1751; Chronicle of the Battle of Ichinotani) contains a migawari (“child substitution”) scene, typical of puppet history plays, which is, if anything, even more tear-provoking: in response to the wishes of his lord Yoshitsune, General Kumagai slays his own son, so that the son's head may be substituted for that of a prince who has been condemned to die. Although the puppet plays' emotionalism and lack of humour were foreign to kabuki, the serious dramas were so popular with audiences that they were adopted, with changes, to kabuki. Today the best puppet plays are equally a part of the kabuki and puppet theatre repertoires.

      During the 19th century the most important kabuki dramas were written in Edo, by Tsuruya Namboku IV and Kawatake Mokuami. They wrote all the standard types of kabuki play—sewamono (domestic), jidaimono (history), and shosagoto (dance plays)—in large numbers; each wrote between 150 and 200 plays in his professional career. They spent their lives in the kabuki theatre as writers. Although neither was formally educated, their plays reflect with great discernment the desperate social conditions that prevailed as the feudal system in Japan neared its collapse. Thieves, whores, murderers, pimps, and ruthless masterless samurai are major figures in a new type of play, kizewamono, or gangster play, which Namboku created and Mokuami developed. They wrote for the talents of star actors: Namboku wrote for the finest onnagata (female impersonator) of his time, Iwai Hanshirō V, and Mokuami wrote for Ichikawa Danjūrō IX and a remarkable actor of gangster roles, Ichikawa Kodanji IV. Each was a master of kabuki art, and between them they added new dimensions to kabuki's stylized form. Namboku created rhythmic dialogue composed in phrases of seven and five syllables; Mokuami used puppet-style music to heighten the pathos of certain scenes and wrote elaborately conceived major speeches which required exceptional elocutionary skill on the part of the actor.

      Nō, puppet theatre, and kabuki were affected in differing degrees by the abolition of feudalism in 1867. At a stroke, the samurai class was eliminated and nō lost its base of economic support. Important actors retired to the country to eke out a living as menial workers. For several years nō was not performed at all, except that Umewaka Minoru, a minor actor, gave public performances in his home and elsewhere between 1868 and 1876. In 1881 a public stage was built in Shiba Park, Tokyo, for performances sponsored by the newly formed Nō Society and by its successor, the Nō Association. The most influential supporter of nō during the Meiji period (1868–1912) was the aristocrat Iwakura Tomomi. The study of nō came to be a highly regarded activity among the middle classes, and in time each of the five nō schools (Kanze, HōĨḤō, Komparu, Kongō, and Kita) became financially stable, sponsoring its own performances and building its own theatres in the major cities.

      The end of feudal society forced nō to seek and cultivate a new audience; the popular audience of kabuki and the puppet theatre, however, continued with little change during the Meiji period. Kabuki audiences remained large and loyal, but audiences for puppet plays continued to decline as they had for the previous hundred years. There was a brief revival of interest in Ōsaka puppet drama in the 1870s under the impetus of the theatre manager Daizō, the fourth Bunrakuken (Bunraku), who called his theatre Bunraku-za (from the name of a troupe organized by Uemura Bunrakuken early in the century). The popular term for puppet drama, bunraku, dates from this time. Learning to chant puppet texts became a vogue during the late Meiji period. In 1909 the Shōchiku theatrical combine supported performances at the Bunraku Puppet Theatre in Ōsaka, and by 1914 this was the only commercial puppet house remaining.

      As they always had, kabuki writers and actors of the Meiji period tried to place current events on the stage. Thus, the actor Onoe Kikugorō V began acting in a series of contemporary plays, dressed in daily kimono or Western clothes and with his hair cut Western fashion (the origin of zangirimono, or the so-called “cropped-hair plays”), in the late 19th century. Western influence also was seen in theatre construction, with the first European-style theatre built for kabuki in Tokyo in 1878. Released from previous government restrictions, kabuki artists created dance dramas from the nō play The Maple Viewing and others, in which the elevated tone of the nō original was purposely retained. Kabuki attendance was more than a million spectators yearly. But, in spite of prosperity and seeming adaptation to new conditions, by the early decades of the 20th century, new artistic creation in kabuki reached an impasse, and thereafter kabuki became restricted almost as much as bunraku and nō to a classic repertoire of plays.

      Scholars and artists, learning of Western drama, organized successive groups designed to reform kabuki—that is, to eliminate excessive stylization and to press for a more realistic manner of performance. The actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX acted in historically accurate (and reportedly dull) katsureki geki (“living history” plays) written by the journalist Fukuchi Ōchi. Three shin kabuki (“new kabuki” plays) written by the scholar Tsubouchi Shōyō were influenced by Shakespeare, whose plays Tsubouchi was then translating. In 1908 a young actor, Ichikawa Sadanji II, returned from a year's study and observation in Europe. These and other influences produced few long-lasting changes in kabuki, but they did set the stage for the creation of new kinds of drama that would depart radically from traditional forms.

      The first plays in Japan consciously based on Western models were those arranged and acted in by Kawakami Otojirō. Kawakami's first plays were political and nationalistic in intent. After he and his wife Sada Yakko had performed in Europe and America (1899 and 1902), they introduced to Japan adaptations of Shakespeare, Maurice Maeterlinck, and Victorien Sardou. These shimpa, or “new school,” plays, however, were little more than crude melodramas. Yakko and other actresses performing in shimpa marked the first time women had appeared on the professional stage since Okuni's time. One shimpa troupe continues to perform today, in a style that retains turn-of-the-century sentiment and mannerisms.

      In 1906 the Literary Society was established by Tsubouchi Shōyō to train young actors in Western realistic acting, thus beginning the serious study of Western drama. The first modern play (shingeki) to be staged in Japan in the Western realistic manner was Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, directed by Osanai Kaoru in 1909 at his Free Theatre, which was modeled on the “free theatres” of Europe. Much to the detriment of shingeki's development, major European playwrights—George Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Gerhart Hauptmann, Maeterlinck—were chosen for production over aspiring Japanese authors by all the important early troupes: the Art Theatre (1913–19) founded by a Tsubouchi disciple, Shimamura Hōgetsu; the Stage Association; and the Tsukiji Little Theatre (1924–28). The members of shingeki troupes were earnest amateurs, strongly motivated by artistic and social ideals to create a theatre that reflected life in 20th-century Japan. The only early shingeki troupe to survive World War II was the Literary Theatre (1937).

Since World War II
      Following Japan's surrender in 1945, kabuki and bunraku plays that the American occupation forces considered feudal, such as Kanjinchō (The Subscription List) and Chūshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, were banned briefly. Since then, nō and kabuki have greatly prospered, while bunraku has become increasingly subsidized. Modern drama authors and performers, many of whom had been jailed or persecuted by Japanese authorities during World War II for liberal and leftist beliefs, were encouraged by the occupation forces. Important shingeki troupes founded in the immediate postwar years include the Actors' Theatre (1944), directed by Senda Koreya, an expert on the works of Bertolt Brecht; The People's Theatre, devoted to progressive social and political issues; and Theatre Four Seasons (1953), which specialized first in French drama and later in American musicals. The full range of Japanese modern life was examined in such shingeki plays as Kinoshita Junji's nostalgic folk drama Yūzuru (1949; Twilight Crane); Mishima Yukio's psychological study of cruelty Sado koshaku fujin (1965; Madame de Sade); Tanaka Chikao's Maria no kubi (1959; The Head of Mary), about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; the Social Realist play Kazanbaichi (1938; Land of Volcanic Ash) by Kubo Sakae; and Inoue Hisashi's comic tribute to popular theatre, Keshō (1983; “Makeup”).

      Shingeki's orthodox realism, its increasing commercialism, and its impotence during the struggle to block the 1960 passage of the United States–Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security alienated younger theatre artists. In the 1960s, for both political and artistic reasons, director-authors Suzuki Tadashi, Terayama Shūji, Kara Jūrō, and Ohta Shōgo formed their own acting companies in order to create unique new theatrical works incorporating stylized acting, song, dance, and brilliant stage effects. They believed that it was necessary to turn back to traditional Japanese culture and arts in order to move forward toward a Japanese theatre unfettered by Western models. Social disjuncture and alienation are common themes of the absurdist plays Tomodachi (1967; Friends), by Abe Kōbō, Betsuyaku Minoru's Zo (1962; The Elephant), and Satoh Makoto's Atashi no Beatles (1967; My Beatles).

      The most extreme rejection of both Western mimesis and traditional Japanese aesthetics is seen in butō (or ankoku butō, “dance of darkness”), a postmodern movement begun by Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo in the 1960s in which formal dance technique is eschewed and primal sexuality and the grotesque are explored. The butō troupes Sankaijuku, Dairakudakan, and Byakko-sha, as well as individual dancers such as Tanaka Min, often tour Europe and the United States.

      In some ways the effects of modernization on the performing arts in 20th-century Japan have been great. In the 1950s the country's motion-picture industry was the second largest in the world, only to be displaced by television, which saturated every corner of Japan by the end of the 1960s. Yet attendance for live theatre did not decline; on the contrary, in the general affluence of Japanese society of the 1970s and '80s, attendance continued to grow at almost every type of performance. Overall in Tokyo, some 3,000 live theatre productions are staged annually, and a boom in theatre building has added scores of elegant new playing spaces for both traditional and avant-garde performance. Nō and kabuki dance are avidly studied by thousands of amateurs; three new national theatres (built 1966–85) house subsidized productions of nō, kabuki, and bunraku; lavish theatre and dance festivals annually host local and foreign troupes; and international tours regularly introduce Japanese plays and dances to foreign audiences. Live theatre of all types flourishes in Japan, each form appealing to its own sector of the overall audience.

James R. Brandon

Additional Reading

Visual arts
General works include Terukazu Akiyama et al., Arts of China, 3 vol., trans. from Japanese (1968–70); Percival David (ed. and trans.), Chinese Connoisseurship: The Ko Ku Yao Lun, the Essential Criteria of Antiquities (1971); Laurence Sickman and Alexander Soper, The Art and Architecture of China, 3rd ed. (1968, reissued 1991); Dietrich Seckel, The Art of Buddhism, rev. ed. (1968; originally published in German, 1962); Osvald Sirén, A History of Early Chinese Art, 4 vol. (1929–30, reprinted 4 vol. in 2, 1970); Michael Sullivan, The Arts of China, 3rd ed. (1984); and Craig Clunas, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (1991).Archaeology and Neolithic and Bronze Age arts are considered in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections (1987); Kwang-chih Chang, The Archaeology of Ancient China, 4th ed., rev. and enlarged (1986); Wen Fong (ed.), The Great Bronze Age of China (1980); Bernhard Karlgren, A Catalogue of the Chinese Bronzes in the Alfred F. Pillsbury Collection (1952); Thomas Lawton, Chinese Art of the Warring States Period (1983); Li Chi (Chi Li), Anyang (1977); Max Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China (1968); J.A. Pope et al., The Freer Chinese Bronzes, 2 vol. (1967); Jessica Rawson, Ancient China: Art and Archaeology (1980), and Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 2 vol. (1990); William Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, 2nd ed. (1977); Charles D. Weber, Chinese Pictorial Bronze Vessels of the Late Chou Period (1968); and George W. Weber, Jr., The Ornaments of Late Chou Bronzes (1973).Descriptions of architecture and gardens are found in Andrew Boyd, Chinese Architecture and Town Planning, 1500 B.C.–A.D. 1911 (1962); John Hay, Kernels of Energy, Bones of Earth: The Rock in Chinese Art (1985); Ji Cheng (Ch'eng Chi), The Craft of Gardens, trans. from Chinese (1988); Maggie Keswick, The Chinese Garden (1978, reissued 1986); Ronald G. Knapp, The Chinese House: Craft, Symbol, and the Folk Tradition (1990); Liang Ssu-ch'eng (Ssu-ch'eng Liang), A Pictorial History of Chinese Architecture, ed. by Wilma Fairbank (1984); Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 4, Physics and Physical Technology, part 3, Civil Engineering and Nautics (1971), pp. 58–144, on building technology; Johannes Prip-Møller, Chinese Buddhist Monasteries, 2nd ed. (1967); Osvald Sirén, The Walls and Gates of Peking (1924), The Imperial Palaces of Peking, 3 vol. (1926, reprinted 1976), and Gardens of China (1949); Rolf A. Stein, The World in Miniature: Container Gardens and Dwellings in Far Eastern Religious Thought (1990; originally published in French, 1987); Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, Chinese Imperial City Planning (1990), and Chinese Traditional Architecture (1984); Robert Thorp, “Architectural Principles in Early Imperial China: Structural Problems and Their Solution,” The Art Bulletin, 68:360–378 (September 1986); and Paul Wheatley, The Pivot of the Four Quarters: A Preliminary Enquiry into the Origins and Character of the Ancient Chinese City (1971).Ceramics are dealt with in Cécile Beurdeley and Michel Beurdeley, A Connoisseur's Guide to Chinese Ceramics (1974; originally published in French, 1974); Stephen W. Bushell (ed. and trans.), Description of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: Being a Translation of the T'ao Shuo (1910, reissued 1977); Margaret Medley, The Chinese Potter: A Practical History of Chinese Ceramics, 3rd ed. (1989); Suzanne Kotz (ed.), Imperial Taste: Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Foundation (1989); W.B.R. Neave-Hill, Chinese Ceramics (1975); Mary Tregear, Song Ceramics (1982); Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, rev. and enlarged ed. (1989); and William Watson, Tang and Liao Ceramics (1984).Among the numerous works on painting and calligraphy, the following may be recommended: William Reynolds Beal Acker (ed. and trans.), Some T'ang and Pre-T'ang Texts on Chinese Painting, 2 vol. in 3 (1954–74), and a reprint of vol. 1 (1979); Richard M. Barnhart, Peach Blossom Spring: Gardens and Flowers in Chinese Painting (1983); Mario Bussagli, Painting of Central Asia (1963); Susan Bush, The Chinese Literati on Painting: Su Shi (1037–1101) to Tung Ch'i-ch'ang (1555–1636) (1971); Susan Bush and Christian Murck (eds.), Theories of the Arts in China (1983); Susan Bush and Hsio-yen Shih (compilers and eds.), Early Chinese Texts on Painting (1985); James Cahill, Chinese Painting (1960, reissued 1985), “Confucian Elements in the Theory of Painting,” in Arthur F. Wright (ed.), The Confucian Persuasion (1960, reissued 1983), pp. 115–140, Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yüan Dynasty, 1279–1368 (1976), Parting at the Shore: Chinese Painting of the Early and Middle Ming Dynasty, 1368–1580 (1978), The Distant Mountains: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Dynasty, 1570–1644 (1982), and The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Painting (1982); Victoria Contag and Wang Chi-ch'ien, Seals of Chinese Painters and Collectors of the Ming and Ch'ing Periods, rev. ed. (1966); Tseng Yu-ho Ecke (Yu-ho Tseng), Chinese Calligraphy (1971); Wen C. Fong, Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century (1992); Marilyn Fu and Shen Fu, Studies in Connoisseurship, 3rd ed. (1973), paintings from the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties; Shen Fu, Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy (1977); Roger Goepper, The Essence of Chinese Painting (1963); R.H. van Gulik, Chinese Pictorial Art as Viewed by the Connoisseur (1958, reprinted 1981); Herbert Härtel et al., Along the Ancient Silk Routes (1982), on Central Asian art; Wai-kam Ho et al., Eight Dynasties of Chinese Painting (1980); Lothar Ledderose, Mi Fu and the Classical Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy (1979), “Some Observations on the Imperial Art Collection in China,” Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, 43:33–46 (1978–79), “Some Taoist Elements in the Six Dynasties Calligraphy,” T'oung Pao, 70(4–5):246–278 (1984), and “Subject Matter in Early Chinese Painting Criticism,” Oriental Art, new series, 19(1):69–83 (Spring 1973); Sherman E. Lee and Wai-kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yüan Dynasty, 1279–1368 (1968); Chu-tsing Li, The Autumn Colors on the Ch'iao and Hua Mountains: A Landscape by Chao Meng-fu (1965); Chu-tsing Li (ed.), Artists and Patrons: Some Social and Economic Aspects of Chinese Painting (1989); Max Loehr, The Great Painters of China (1980); Kiyohiko Munakata (ed. and trans.), Ching Hao's Pi-fa-chi: A Note on the Art of the Brush (1974), and Sacred Mountains in Chinese Art (1991); Alfreda Murck and Wen C. Fong (eds.), Words and Images: Chinese Poetry, Calligraphy, and Painting (1991); Christian F. Murck (ed.), Artists and Traditions: Uses of the Past in Chinese Culture (1976); Yūjirō Nakata (ed.), Chinese Calligraphy, trans. from Japanese and adapted by Jeffrey Hunter (1983); Shodō Zenshū, 28 vol. (1954–68), a collection of calligraphy; Jerome Silbergeld, "Chinese Concepts of Old Age and Their Role in Chinese Painting, Painting Theory, and Criticism,” Art Journal, 46(2):103–114 (Summer 1987), “Chinese Painting Studies in the West: A State-of-the-Field Article,” Journal of Asian Studies, 46(4):849–897 (1987), and Chinese Painting Style (1982); Osvald Sirén, The Chinese on the Art of Painting: Translations and Comments (1936, reissued 1969), and Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles, 7 vol. (1956–58, reissued 1974); Alexander Soper (trans. and ed.), Experiences in Paintings (1951), an 11th-century history; Michael Sullivan, The Birth of Landscape Painting in China, 2 vol. (1962–80), and Chinese Landscape Painting: The Sui and T'ang Dynasties (1980); Fritz van Briessen, The Way of the Brush: Painting Techniques of China and Japan (1962, reissued 1978); Marsha Weidner (ed.), Flowering in the Shadows: Women in the History of Chinese and Japanese Painting (1990); Roderick Whitfield, The Art of Central Asia, vol. 1–2, Paintings from Dunhuang (1982–83); and Yu Feian (Fei-an Yü), Chinese Painting Colors: Studies on Their Preparation and Application in Traditional and Modern Times, trans. from Chinese by James Silbergeld and Amy McNair (1988).Decorative arts are presented in Nancy Zeng Berliner, Chinese Folk Art: The Small Skills of Carving Insects (1986); Schuyler V.R. Cammann, China's Dragon Robes (1952); Jessica Rawson and John Ayers, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages (1975); Osvald Sirén, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century, 4 vol. (1925, reprinted 1970); John E. Vollmer, In the Presence of the Dragon Throne: Ch'ing Dynasty Costume (1644–1911) in the Royal Ontario Museum (1977); Zhou Zun (Hsün Chou) and Gao Chunming (Ch'un-ming Kao), 5000 Years of Chinese Costumes (1987; originally published in Chinese, 1984); and Wang Shixiang (Shih-hsiang Wang), Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties (1986; originally published in Chinese, 1985).Analyses of 20th-century arts include Joan Lebold Cohen, The New Chinese Painting, 1949–1986 (1987); Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, Later Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, 1800–1950, 3 vol. (1987); Ellen Johnston Laing, The Winking Owl: Art in the People's Republic of China (1988); Chu-tsing Li, Trends in Modern Chinese Painting (1979); Jerome Silbergeld and Gong Jisui (Jisui Gong), Contradictions: Artistic Life, the Socialist State, and the Chinese Painter Li Huasheng (1993); and Michael Sullivan, Chinese Art in the Twentieth Century (1959), and The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art, 2nd ed. (1989).Jerome Silbergeld

Survey studies include Andreas Eckardt, A History of Korean Art (1929; originally published in German, 1929); Chewŏn Kim and Won-yong Kim (eds.), Korean Arts, 3 vol. (1956–63); Chewŏn Kim and Won-yong Kim, Treasures of Korean Art (1966); Evelyn McCune, The Arts of Korea (1962); The Arts of Korea, 6 vol. (1979), on prehistoric art, painting, Buddhist art, ceramics, handicrafts, and architecture; Chewŏn Kim and Lena Kim Lee (I-na Kim), Arts of Korea (1974); Yi Ki-baek (Ki-baek Yi), 5,000 Years of Korean Arts (1976); Kim Won-yong (Won-yong Kim), Art and Archaeology of Ancient Korea (1986); and Kim Won-yong (Won-yong Kim) et al., Korean Art Treasures (1986), a survey of the history of Korean art by Korean experts. Three useful exhibition catalogs are National Gallery of Art (U.S.), Masterpieces of Korean Art (1957); Arts Council of Great Britain, An Exhibition of National Art Treasures of Korea (1961); and Roderick Whitfield (ed.), Treasures from Korea: Art Through 5000 Years (1984), with excellent introductions. Studies of ceramics include Robert P. Griffing, Jr., The Art of the Korean Potter (1968), with an excellent introduction; G.St.G.M. Gompertz, Korean Celadon, and Other Wares of the Koryŏ Period (1963); W.B. Honey, Corean Pottery (1947, reissued 1955); and Chewŏn Kim and G.St.G.M. Gompertz (eds.), The Ceramic Art of Korea (1961).Won-Yong Kim

The growing body of English-language literature on Japanese art consists of both adapted translations of significant Japanese works and original English-language studies. In addition to general surveys and monographs, exhibition catalogs play a unique role in providing a forum for important scholarly essays and for documentation on specific works of art.The most comprehensive single-volume survey of Japanese art is Penelope Mason, History of Japanese Art (1993); while an abbreviated but serviceable introduction is found in Joan Stanley-Baker, Japanese Art (1984). Robert Treat Paine and Alexander Soper, The Art and Architecture of Japan, 3rd ed. (1974), is especially helpful in relating early Japanese Buddhist developments to continental sources. Two multivolume series are noteworthy: The Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art, 31 vol. (1971–80), a translation and adaptation of the Japanese original, featuring both site-specific and thematic studies by various specialists; and Japanese Arts Library (1977– ), translations and adaptations of selected volumes of Nihon no Bijutsu, a monthly Japanese scholarly journal. Laurance P. Roberts, A Dictionary of Japanese Artists (1976, reissued 1990), is a nearly exhaustive compendium of Japanese artists dating from the 7th to the early 20th century, with brief biographies, listings of known alternate names in Japanese characters with English transliterations, and locations of important known works. Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, 9 vol. (1983), provides an excellent selection of general and specific articles on Japanese art with cross-references to important related articles on history, literature, and other relevant topics. Sherman E. Lee, A History of Far Eastern Art, 5th ed. edited by Naomi Noble Richard (1994), is especially helpful in providing a larger context within which to understand Japanese art. The development of visual expression in Japan from Paleolithic times to the 7th century is admirably summarized and related to Chinese and Korean material by Gina L. Barnes, China, Korea, and Japan: The Rise of Civilization in East Asia (1993). Other works of note treating the pre-Buddhist period include Richard J. Pearson et al., Ancient Japan (1992); Japan, Bunkachō and Japan Society (New York, N.Y.), The Rise of a Great Tradition: Japanese Archaeological Ceramics of the Jōmon Through Heian Periods (10,500 BC–AD 1185) (1990); and J.e. Kidder, Jr., Japan Before Buddhism, rev. ed. (1966).The assimilation and adaptation of continental sculptural, painting, and decorative arts traditions through the vehicle of Buddhism occurred in three great movements, the first from the 6th through the 8th century, the second from the 10th through 12th century, and the third from the 13th through 15th century. Works that treat in whole or in part the complexity of the first two periods of Buddhist assimilation include Kurata Bunsaku (Bunsaku Kurata), Hōryū-ji: Temple of the Exalted Law, trans. from Japanese (1981); Jirō Sugiyama, Classic Buddhist Sculpture, trans. from Japanese and adapted by Samuel Crowell Morse (1982); Yutaka Mino et al., The Great Eastern Temple: Treasures of Japanese Buddhist Art from Tōdai-ji (1986); Nishikawa Kyōtarō (Kyōtarō Nishikawa) and Emily J. Sano, The Great Age of Japanese Buddhist Sculpture, AD 600–1300 (1982); Jōji Okazaki, Pure Land Buddhist Painting, trans. from Japanese and adapted by Elizabeth Ten Grotenhuis , (1977); and Hisatoyo Ishida, Esoteric Buddhist Painting (1987; originally published in Japanese, 1969). The visual expression of native religious sentiment and its relation to Buddhism is summarized in Haruki Kageyama, The Arts of Shinto, trans. from Japanese and adapted by Christine Guth (1973).John M. Rosenfield, Japanese Arts of the Heian Period, 794–1183 (1967); and Yoshiaki Shimizu and John M. Rosenfield, Masters of Japanese Calligraphy: 8th–19th Century, ed. by Naomi Noble Richard, (1984), are especially helpful in discussing the development of the court aesthetic.From the 13th century, the ascension of the Kamakura military government, the arrival of Zen from China, and the proliferation of populist Buddhist sects constitute important elements of the third movement of assimilation. John M. Rosenfield and Elizabeth Ten Grotenhuis, Journey of the Three Jewels (1979); Miyeko Murase, Emaki: Narrative Scrolls from Japan (1983); Victor Harris and Ken Matsushima, Kamakura: The Renaissance of Japanese Sculpture, 1186–1333 (1991); Hiroshi Kanazawa, Japanese Ink Painting: Early Zen Masterpieces (1979; originally published in Japanese, 1972); and Jan Fontein and Money Hickman, Zen Painting and Calligraphy (1970), all provide excellent surveys of the period from varying perspectives.The establishment of the Ashikaga shogunate and its subsequent arbitration of cultural life in Kyōto from the 15th century is well summarized in Jay A. Levenson (ed.), Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration (1991). Yoshiaki Shimizu (ed.), Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture, 1185–1868 (1988), is informative of daimyo and shogunal patronage in this and other periods. Watanabe Akiyoshi (Akiyoshi Watanabe), Kanazawa Hiroshi (Hiroshi Kanazawa), and Paul Varley (H. Paul Varley), Of Water and Ink (1986), is an excellent treatment of the ink monochrome painting style of this period. Although the following works treat a broader chronological period, their discussions of Muromachi developments are useful: Louise Allison Cort, Shigaraki: Potter's Valley (1979); Johanna Becker, Karatsu Ware (1986); and Tsugio Mikami, The Art of Japanese Ceramics (1972; originally published in Japanese, 1968).The quarter century of political stabilization prior to the shift of power to Edo is called the Momoyama period; its vibrant aesthetic, including elements inspired by interaction with the West, is treated in Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) and Japan, Bunkachō, Momoyama: Japanese Art in the Age of Grandeur (1975); Tsugiyoshi Doi, Momoyama Decorative Painting (1977; originally published in Japanese, 1964); Tsuneo Takeda, Kano Eitoku (1977; originally published in Japanese, 1974); and Hayashiya Seizō (seizō Hayashiya), Chanoyu: Japanese Tea Ceremony (1979). Motoo Hinago, Japanese Castles, trans. from Japanese and adapted by William H. Coaldrake (1986); and Fumio Hashimoto (ed.), Architecture in the Shoin Style, trans. and adapted by H. Mack Horton (1981; originally published in Japanese, 1972), discuss important architectural developments and their influence on artistic expression. Garden design, which developed as a significant expression from the mid-Muromachi period, is substantively discussed in Mitchell Bring and Josse Wayembergh, Japanese Gardens: Design and Meaning (1981); and Irmtraud Schaarschmidt-Richter and Osamu Mori, Japanese Gardens, trans. by Janet Seligman (1979; originally published in German, 1979).The complexity of artistic developments during the nearly 300 years of the Edo period is at least sampled in the following works. William Watson (ed.), The Great Japan Exhibition: Art of the Edo Period, 1600–1868 (1981), provides a broad overview of the period. The revival of the Heian aesthetic and the emergence of a distinctive decorative painting tradition are best treated in Carolyn Wheelwright (ed.), Word in Flower: The Visualization of Classical Literature in Seventeenth-Century Japan (1989); Howard A. Link, Exquisite Visions: Rimpa Paintings from Japan (1980); Richard Wilson, The Art of Ogata Kenzan (1991); and Hiroshi Mizuo, Edo Painting: Sotatsu and Korin (1972; originally published in Japanese, 1965). The trends in Chinese-inspired literati painting are summarized in James Cahill, Scholar Painters of Japan (1972); Yoshiho Yonezawa and Chu Yoshizawa, Japanese Painting in the Literati Style, trans. and adapted by Betty Iverson Monroe (1974; originally published in Japanese, 1966); and Calvin L. French, The Poet-Painters: Buson and His Followers (1974). Other styles of painting are discussed in St. Louis Art Museum and Seattle Art Museum,, Ōkyo and the Maruyama-Shijō School of Japanese Painting (1980); and Stephen Addiss, The Art of Zen (1989). Miyajima Shin'ichi (Shin'ichi Miyajima) and Satō Yasuhiro (Yasuhiro Satō), Japanese Ink Painting, ed. by George Kuwayama (1985), while addressing a broad theme, is especially informative on Edo period “eccentric” painters. Treating a chronology extending beyond Edo but discussing many works from the period are Miyeko Murase, Masterpieces of Japanese Screen Painting: The American Collections (1990); and Elise Grilli, The Art of the Japanese Screen (1970).The woodblock print is the dominant visual format of the Edo period. Very good introductions include Richard Lane, Images from the Floating World: The Japanese Print (1978, reissued 1982), which combines general essays with a highly detailed, if not exhaustive, illustrated dictionary; Helen C. Gunsaulus and Margaret O. Gentles, The Clarence Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints, 2 vol. (1955–65); and Rijksmuseum (Netherlands) Rikjsprentenkabinet, Catalogue of the Collection of Japanese Prints (1977– ), are well-documented presentations of large collections. Roger S. Keyes, Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Catalogue of the Mary A. Ainsworth Collection (1984), provides a series of broadly informative thematic essays in interpreting a specific collection. Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vol. (1987), is a comprehensive resource for another important Edo visual format.Beatrix von Ragué, A History of Japanese Lacquerwork (1976; originally published in German, 1967); and Ann Yonemura, Japanese Lacquer (1979), provide good introductions to Japan's long history of decorative lacquer use, including its extensive diversification in the Edo period. Andrew J. Pekarik, Japanese Lacquer, 1600–1900 (1980), is useful specifically for the Edo period. The textile arts, important throughout Japanese history but especially expansive in the Edo period, are discussed in Amanda Mayer Stinchecum, Kosode: 16th–19th Century Textiles from the Nomura Collection, ed. by Monica Bethe and Margot Paul (1984); and Ishimura Hayao (Hayao Ishimura), Maruyama Nobuhiko (Nobuhiko Maruyama), and Yamanobe Tomoyuki (Tomoyuki Yamanobe), Robes of Elegance: Japanese Kimonos of the 16th–20th Centuries (1988).Art of the Meiji period is introduced by Frederick Baekeland and Martie W. Young, Imperial Japan: The Art of the Meiji Era, 1868–1912 (1980). Other works of note include Henry D. Smith II, Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan (1988); and Julia Meech-Pekarik, The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization (1986).James T. Ulak

Music
Western-language sources are listed in Fredric Lieberman, Chinese Music: An Annotated Bibliography, 2nd, rev. and enlarged ed. (1979). Also of interest are Rulan Chao Pian, Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and Their Interpretation (1967); R.H. van Gulik, The Lore of the Chinese Lute, new ed., rev. (1969); Laurence Picken (ed.), Music from the Tang Court, 5 vol. (1981–90); Kenneth J. DeWoskin, A Song for One or Two: Music and the Concept of Art in Early China (1982); Liang Mingyue (Ming-yüen Liang), Music of the Billion: An Introduction to Chinese Musical Culture (1985); Bell Yung, Cantonese Opera (1989); Colin Mackerras, The Rise of the Peking Opera, 1770–1870 (1972), and The Performing Arts in Contemporary China (1981); and Richard Curt Kraus, Pianos and Politics in China: Middle-Class Ambitions and the Struggle over Western Music (1989).

The major sources for Korean music study are in Asian languages; some are available in Bang-song Song (trans.), Source Readings in Korean Music (1980). General studies are Lee Hye-ku (Hye-gu Yi), Essays on Traditional Korean Music, trans. and ed. by Robert C. Provine (1981); and Lee Hye-ku (Hye-gu Yi) (compiler and ed.), Korean Musical Instruments, trans. by Alan C. Heyman (1982). Older works may be found by consulting Bang-song Song, An Annotated Bibliography of Korean Music (1971).

General introductions are Francis Piggott, The Music and Musical Instruments of Japan, 2nd ed. (1909, reprinted 1971); and William P. Malm, Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (1959, reissued 1990). Special studies are Robert Garfias, Music of a Thousand Autumns: The Tōgaku Style of Japanese Court Music (1975); Willem Adriaansz, The Kumiuta and Danmono Traditions of Japanese Koto Music (1973); Bonnie C. Wade, Tegotomono: Music for the Japanese Koto (1976); William P. Malm, Nagauta: The Heart of Kabuki Music (1963, reprinted 1973), and Six Hidden Views of Japanese Music (1986); and C. Andrew Gerstle, Kiyoshi Inobe, and William P. Malm, Theater as Music (1990), an examination of a bunraku play.William P. Malm

Dance and theatre
General works
James R. Brandon (ed.), The Cambridge Guide to Asian Theatre (1993); Martin Banham (ed.), The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre (1988); Joel Trapido (ed.), An International Dictionary of Theatre Language (1985); and Asian Theatre Journal (semiannual) contain useful entries on East Asian theatre.

Critical studies include A.C. Scott, The Classical Theatre of China (1957, reprinted 1978), a standard work; the excellent history of the Peking opera by Mackerras cited above in the section on music; D. Kalvodová, V. Sís, and J. Vanis, Chinese Theatre (1958?), impressions of a Peking opera performance, valuable for its many colour plates of costume and makeup; Liu Wu-chi (Wu-chi Liu), An Introduction to Chinese Literature (1966, reissued 1990), an analysis of individual playwrights and their works; J.I. Crump, Chinese Theater in the Days of Kublai Khan (1980), a study of Yüan drama; Wilt Idema and Stephen H. West, Chinese Theatre, 1100–1450: A Source Book (1982), translations of theatre documents; Colin Mackerras (ed.), Chinese Theater: From Its Origins to the Present Day (1983), a comprehensive survey; Roberta Helmer Stalberg, China's Puppets (1984), a well-illustrated introduction; David Johnson, Andrew J. Nathan, and Evelyn S. Rawski (ed.), Popular Culture in Late Imperial China (1985), with articles on nonelite performances of the 19th century; and Tao-ching Hsü, The Chinese Conception of the Theatre (1985), a compilation of Chinese historical sources. Collections of plays are L.C. Arlington and Harold M. Acton (trans. and eds.), Famous Chinese Plays (1937, reissued 1963), partial translations of 33 plays, with colour plates and an authoritative introduction that makes this early work still valuable; Cyril Birch (compiler and ed.), Anthology of Chinese Literature (1965), translations of two Yüan plays; William Dolby (trans.), Eight Chinese Plays from the Thirteenth Century to the Present (1978), short plays and excerpts; A.C. Scott, Traditional Chinese Plays, 3 vol. (1967–75), translations of six Peking operas with detailed stage directions; Walter J. Meserve and Ruth I. Meserve (eds.), Modern Drama from Communist China (1970), including plays of the Cultural Revolution period; and Edward M. Gunn (ed.), Twentieth-Century Chinese Drama (1983), plays from 1919 to 1979.

Studies of various Korean performing arts are Ch'oe Sang-su (Sang-su Ch'oe), A Study of the Korean Puppet Play (1961), a detailed study with illustrations and translations of two play texts; Won-kyung Cho (Wŏn-gyŏng Cho), Dances of Korea (1962?), a short account by a professional dancer; Yi Tu-hyŏn (Duhyun Lee), Han'guk Kamyŏn'guk (1969), a useful publication on the Korean mask-dance drama, including a 20-page English summary and many photographs; Halla Pai Huhm, Kut: Korean Shamanist Rituals (1980); and Korean National Commission for UNESCO (ed.), Korean Dance, Theater, and Cinema (1983). Play texts are collected and translated in In-sob Zong (compiler), Plays from Korea (1968), 13 modern plays; Korean National Commission for UNESCO (ed.), Wedding Day and Other Korean Plays (1983), six modern dramas from 1945 to 1975; and Ch'oe Hae-ch'un (trans. and ed.), Sandae (1988), texts of folk masked drama of Yangju in English and Korean.

Overviews of Japanese performing arts are Benito Ortolani, The Japanese Theatre (1990); Kawatake Toshio (Toshio Kawatake), Japan on Stage: Japanese Concepts of Beauty as Shown in the Traditional Theatre (1990; originally published in Japanese, 1982), on the appeal of traditional performance to Japanese and non-Japanese audiences; Jacob Raz, Audience and Actors: A Study of Their Interaction in the Japanese Traditional Theatre (1983); and Yoshinobu Inoura and Toshio Kawatake, A History of Japanese Theater, 2 vol. (1971, reissued in 1 vol. as The Traditional Theater of Japan, 1981).Masataro Togi, Gagaku: Court Music and Dance (1971), provides an overview of this art form's various styles and genres.Studies of the history and interpretation of nō and kyōgen theatre are found in Monica Bethe and Karen Brazell, Nō as Performance (1978); Donald Keene and Kaneko Hiroshi (Hiroshi Kaneko), Nō: The Classical Theatre of Japan, rev. ed. (1973); Kunio Komparu (Kunio Konparu), The Noh Theater: Principles and Perspectives (1983; originally published in Japanese, 1980); Thomas Blenman Hare, Zeami's Style: The Noh Plays of Zeami Motokiyo (1986); Rebecca Teele (compiler), Nō/Kyōgen Masks and Performance (1984), essays by Japanese artists and Western scholars; and J. Thomas Rimer and Yamazaki Masakazu (trans.), On the Art of the Nō Drama: The Major Treatises of Zeami (1984). Collections of plays, all translated from Japanese, include Karen Brazell (ed.), Twelve Plays of the Noh and Kyōgen Theaters (1988); Earle Ernst (ed.), Three Japanese Plays from the Traditional Theatre (1959, reprinted 1976); Donald Keene and Royall Tyler (eds.), Twenty Plays of the Nō Theatre (1970); Don Kenny (compiler), The Kyogen Book: An Anthology of Japanese Classical Comedies (1989); Richard N. McKinnon (compiler), Selected Plays of Kyōgen (1968); Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkōkai, Japanese Noh Drama, 3 vol. (1955–60); and Royall Tyler (ed. and trans.), Japanese Nō Dramas (1992).Historical and interpretive examinations of kabuki include Earle Ernst, The Kabuki Theatre (1956, reissued 1974); Masakatsu Gunji and Chiaki Yoshida, Kabuki, trans. from Japanese (1969); Masakatsu Gunji, Buyo: The Classical Dance, trans. from Japanese (1970); and Samuel L. Leiter, Kabuki Encyclopedia (1979). Matazo Nakamura, Kabuki: Backstage, Onstage: An Actor's Life (1990), is the autobiography of a young actor who entered kabuki from the outside. Plays with stage directions, all translated from Japanese, include James R. Brandon (ed.), Chūshingura: Studies in Kabuki and the Puppet Theater (1982); James R. Brandon (trans.), Kabuki: Five Classic Plays (1975, reissued 1992); and Samuel L. Leiter (trans.), The Art of Kabuki: Famous Plays in Performance (1979).Works treating the history and interpretation of bunraku include Barbara Adachi, The Voices and Hands of Bunraku (1978); Donald Keene and Kaneko Hiroshi (Hiroshi Kaneko), Bunraku: The Art of the Japanese Puppet Theatre, rev. ed. (1973); C.J. Dunn, The Early Japanese Puppet Drama (1966); A.C. Scott, The Puppet Theatre of Japan (1963, reissued 1973), a brief history of many puppet forms; and C. Andrew Gerstle, Circles of Fantasy: Convention in the Plays of Chikamatsu (1986). Shuzaburo Hironaga, The Bunraku Handbook (1976); and Donald Keene (trans.), Chūshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, trans. from Japanese (1971, reissued 1981), and Major Plays of Chikamatsu, trans. from Japanese (1961, reissued 1990), are collections of play translations. Individual play translations are available in the work by Gerstle, Inobe, and Malm cited above in the section on music; and in Izumo Takeda, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees, trans. from Japanese and ed. by Stanleigh H. Jones, Jr. (1993), one of the great plays in the puppet repertory.Modern theatre history and interpretation are explored in Ethan Hoffman et al., Butoh: Dance of the Dark Soul (1987); Susan Blakeley Klein, Ankoku Butō: The Premodern and Postmodern Influences on the Dance of Utter Darkness (1988); Toyotake Komiya, Japanese Music and Drama in the Meiji Era, trans. from Japanese (1956, reissued 1969); J. Thomas Rimer, Toward a Modern Japanese Theatre (1974); Tadashi Suzuki, The Way of Acting (1986; originally published in Japanese, 1984); and Jean Viala and Nourit Masson-Sekine, Butoh: Shades of Darkness (1988). Collections of modern plays translated from Japanese include Kōbō Abe, Friends (1969); David G. Goodman (trans.), After Apocalypse: Four Japanese Plays of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1986); Kishida Kunio (Kunio Kishida), Five Plays (1989); David G. Goodman (ed. and trans.), Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960's: The Return of the Gods (1988); Yamazaki Masakazu (Masakazu Yamazaki), Mask and Sword (1980); Robert T. Rolf and John K. Gillespie (eds.), Alternative Japanese Drama: Ten Plays (1992); and Ted T. Takaya (ed. and trans.), Modern Japanese Drama: An Anthology (1979).James R. Brandon

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