The Grandeur of the Qing | Asia for Educators

I. Teachers’ Guide

Qing Art

Study Questions:

  1. Explain the distinction made among the three groups of artists indentified in this period:
    1. Individualists
    2. Orthodox School or “Traditionalists
    3. Professional Court Painters
  2. Who were the "scholar-artists"?
  3. Who was Wang Hui? (1632-1717)
    1. Which of the three groups did he fit into?
    2. What was his "genius"?
  4. How did the Chinese value "realism" in their paintings?
  5. What was the relationship between poetry and painting?
  6. Look up the meaning of the term "colophon".
    1. How were colophons used in relation to Chinese paintings?
    2. Could there be more than one on a painting?
  7. Is it often said that a Chinese painting is "never quite finished".
    1. Can you explain in what sense this is true?
    2. What are the implications of this for the nature of the work of art?
  8. In European painting, artists used a "linear perspective" and a "vanishing point".
    1. Explain what a "linear perspective" is.
    2. Explain what the "vanishing point" is.
    3. What are the implications of using a "vanishing point"?
  9. How did Chinese artists depict space in the Kangxi period?
    1. How was the scroll format of Chinese painting, as opposed to the framed-picture format of European painting, related to this approach to the depiction of space?
  10. Who was Giuseppe Castiglione? (1688-1766)
    1. What was his impact on Chinese painting?
    2. Why did the Qing emperor like some of the innovations introduced by Castiglione?
    3. Did the court favor this as "high art"?
    4. Why or why not
  11. Who was Xu Yang? (act. ca. 1750-after 1776)
    1. Compare and contrast the style of Yang Yu with that of Wang Wei.
    2. What are the implications of the differences in style between these two artists for the imperial scrolls they produced?
  12. In Europe, artists also used a technique called "chiaroscuro".
    1. What does it mean?
    2. Why did European artists use it?
  13. Look at the scrolls painted for the Kangxi emperor and those painted for the Qianlong emperor. Compare and contrast the scrolls.
    1. Does the artist painting the Kangxi scrolls use the technique of a "vanishing point"?
    2. What is the approach to representing space in the Kangxi scrolls?
    3. Now look at the Qianlong scrolls. Does the artist painting the Qianlong scrolls us the technique of a "vanishing" point?
    4. How does the depiction of space differ between the two sets of scrolls?
    5. What is the implication for how we "see" the buildings represented in the scroll?
      1. Look particularly at the depiction of the Silk Commissioner’s house in Suzhou that is depicted in both sets of scrolls. Is there a difference in how it is painted in each of the scrolls?
      2. Can you describe the difference?
      3. What reason can you give for any difference?
  14. Compare and contrast the way the figures of people are painted in each set of scrolls.
    1. What differences can you see?
    2. What techniques are responsible for the differences?
  15. Porcelain was another major form of artistic expression in China.
    1. Explain how porcelain was produced.
    2. Why was the European demand for Chinese porcelain so great in the 1600s?
    3. What is meant by the term "Chinese export porcelain"?
    4. Why were the kilns at Jingdezhen especially important?
    5. What was the impact of imperial control being reasserted over these kilns in the late 1600s?
  16. The great expansion of porcelain production in China led to an increase in specialization.
    1. How might this be compared to the growth in the textile production in England in the mid-1700s?
    2. What might be the implications of this?