Chinese Folk Art
Shaanxi Folk Art
Chinese Folk Art
Chinese folk art is an important part of the country's extremely rich cultural and art heritage. Chinese folk art has won recognition and praise
from experts both at home and abroad for its great variety, sincere rural content, rich flavor of life, distinctive local style, and its artistic
approaches of romanticism.
The folk artist is at his best in understanding and depicting life in its wholeness, and apt to show its rhythms and melodies. He relies on his
intuition, impressions and memories, as well as his experience and understanding of life to grasp the essence of the phenomena or objects he
depicts, thus making the artistic images quite different from their original models. In artistic representation and expression, works of folk art
are straightforward, natural, flexible, free from affectedness, vivid and intimate. They reside, in roundabout ways, ideas in particular images,
reason in emotion, and feelings in concrete forms. Ingenuity is found in simplicity, exquisiteness in crudeness, and humor in clumsiness. Folk
artists also use decorative, figurative, allegoric and symbolic methods with magical deftness. Since ancient times, Chinese folk art has been
seeking to understand and present the lofty spirit of the Chinese nation. It has given expression to the indomitable morale and character of the
Chinese people shown in their constant efforts to open up new paths for development.
Like a galaxy of brilliant gems, folk art embraces all aspects of daily life and is loved by the masses. The materials that most commonly used
are the ordinary natural substances that come readily to hand. Folk artists are familiar with the aesthetic habits of the people, and their feel of
life is based on the aesthetic experiences of the masses. In creating art forms, they are guided by their mind, reason and aesthetic rules. Some
of their works seem to be crudely made, but they show great ingenuity, originality, simplicity and purity, which implies a profound philosophy
of art. Works of folk art afford people not only aesthetic enjoyment and amusement, but also knowledge and education.
Love is the motive force of aesthetic appreciation, and the motive force of creation of the beautiful. Folk artists have been under the edifying
influence of folk art since their early childhood, and a seed of beauty was planted in their hearts when they became apprentices to elder folk
artists. Their love for the beautiful is eternal.
Crafts, the largest category of folk art, perfectly combines the material and spiritual life of the people because they have both utilitarian and
aesthetic value. Folk art is born of heart. It is not something that has become rigidly fixed; instead, it steadily develops as it tries to meet
people's need for appreciation of the beautiful. As a form of the traditional Chinese art, folk art is an intermixture of the aesthetic psychology
of society and the aesthetic psychology of the artists, which externalizes itself through palpable media. It will develop with history, society and
Shaanxi Folk Art
The middle reaches of Yellow River are the cradle of Chinese culture. The ancestors of the Chinese people have lived and multiplied the earth
here since the primitive age. In Chinese history, Shaanxi had for a very long time been the political center of the country and boasted the
nation's most developed culture and art. Xi'an was the capital of the Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Sui, Tang and six other dynasties,
covering a period of more than 1,120 years. The famous Silk Road started and ran westward from the city, which has long had economic and
cultural contacts with Japan and Korea and, through the Silk Road, with India, Indo-China, Middle Asia, West Asia and some European
countries and regions. It was once the cultural center of the East.
Ancient artifacts found in the province include the unsophisticated, beautiful Banpo painted pottery and Tang figurines; the majestic and firm
bronzeware of Zhou Dynasty; the bricks of the Qin Dynasty; the tiles of the Han Dynasty; the stone tablets bearing engraved images of the
Han Dynasty; the terra-cotta soldiers and horses of the Qin Dynasty; and the stone cavings and murals of the Han and Tang Dynasties. All of
them are classic examples of Chinese arts, crystallizing in them the wisdom and skill of the artisans of the past. Xi'an, a city which is reputed to
be a large history museum itself, has created a splendid ancient culture, and made a great contribution to the civilization of the world. When
we take a close look at the folk art of Shaanxi, we must not overlook or cut it off from its historical origins.
You might be interested in these excellent Chinese folk art items:
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