Early Chinese Art: Including Jade, Ceramic and Bronze

By the fifth millennium BCE, China had developed the basic elements
that were to identify it as a civilization, such as social structure,
agricultural skills and the domestication of animals (Schmidt pp). It was
also developing concepts related to the order of the natural environment,
to life, death, and life after death (Schmidt pp). China’s cultural
identity, as it is known today, can be traced to the endeavors of the
Neolithic village communities of the Yangshao culture that flourished
during this time (Schmidt pp). Ancient Chinese communities produced
numerous vessels and objects from various mediums for use in both utility
Only fragments and traces of items created in ephemeral materials
remain from the prehistoric and early historic periods, yet numerous
ancient Chinese objects of jade, earthenware, and metal have survived in
fairly good condition, most of which were found preserved in ancient burial
sites (Schmidt pp). These sites and their contents have provided valuable
information concerning social structure, cultural development, and
religious beliefs of the ancient Chinese (Schmidt pp). The arrangement of
the cemeteries, along with the objects found in them, indicate a clear
belief in an afterlife (Schmidt pp). Grave items were made from a wide
range of materials and included large numbers of earthenware storage jars,
bone and jade objects for personal adornment, and objects of bronze and
jade for ritual purposes (Schmidt pp). The grandeur of a burial and the
value of its contents indicate a direct relationship to the social status
of the individual, “with the more elaborate burials containing works of the
finest and most technically sophisticated craftsmanship” (Schmidt pp).
Polished stone implements were developed during the later part of the
Stone Age or Neolithic period and there is little doubt that the use of and
appreciation for the tonaliti…

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