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Asian art is often applied to any artwork made in Burma, China, India, Iran, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Tibet, Turkey, Laos and Azerbaijan.  It's influence is as wide as its subject matter and style.


One of the oldest art forms in the world is ancient Chinese art. Knowledge of ancient Chinese art is limited largely to works in pottery, bronze, bone, and jade. Some of the most amazing examples of art were created during the Shang dynasty (c.1750–1045 BC), and were called ritual bronzes.


Buddhism came about in the 1st cent. AD and introduced art of a different form. Works of sculpture, painting, and architecture with a religious basis were created. Sculptures that represented Buddha and the bodhisattvas as well as attendant figures were the most popular. These figures came to China from India by way of central Asia.

Did you know?
The mandala, a representation of the universe used in meditation, is emblematic of early Buddhist art. In recent years, the mandala has become even more prominent in today's art as a way to reduce stress and calm ones inner self from the hustle and bustle of today's world.

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Below is some basic information on Asian and Indian Art and its characteristics and influences. If you would like to print off a copy of this page along with samples of art from this period, you can download the Asian-Indian Summary above.

Babur Beg Receives a Courtier
Babur Beg Receives a Courtier

Many pieces of Indian Art, like this piece created in 1589 by artist Mirza Farrukh Baig, depicted activities of the Emperor. Artist were hired by the royal court to capture their lives, like a pictorial journal.

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The Great Wave off Kanagawa
The Great Wave off Kanagawa

More commonly known as “The Great Wave, it is a woodblock print by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. It is his most famous work and one of the most recognizable pieces of Japanese art in the world.

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Court Ladies of the Former Shu
Court Ladies of the Former Shu

Court Ladies of the Former Shu by Tang Yin, is from the Ming Dynasty, 16th century. It is a hanging scroll, colors on silk piece.

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Quick Facts:
  • Was a way to share the meaning of life

  • Art enhanced the natural beauty of materials used

  • Art was simplistic, calm/serene and usually had a religious theme

Characteristics and/or Types of Art:
  • Frescoes

  • Buildings such as Taj Mahal

  • Paintings

  • Block prints

  • Religion: Buddhism and Hinduism

  • Political rulers

  • Invasions by foreigners

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