Saturday, December 22, 2012

Art Market Italy: 18th C. Qianlong Jade Reaches Over One Million Dollars

Art Market Italy: Auctions of Asian art and design

Buddhist jade bell 18th C. made from Jade
It’s a record for Oriental art at Cambi Casa d'Aste in Genoa: €3.2 million ($4.2 million), the highest total result ever realized for an auction of Oriental Art in Italy. The 170 lots offered on Dec. 16 doubled the presale estimate of €1.6 million; the sold rates were 50 percent for lot and more than 100 percent for value.
The top lot was a rare white jade bell from the Qianlong period that started from an estimate of €80,000 and was sold for €700,000 (with buyer's premium). It marked the new record for an object of Oriental art sold at auction in Italy. The previous record had been realized at Cambi, as well: almost €600,000 on June 4 for an important Buddha figure in bronze, China, Qing Dynasty, 18th century (the total result of the auction was €1.5 million).
large 18th C. Bodhisattva bronze
A scepter, also in white jade and from the Qianlong Period, rose in few minutes from an estimate of €20,000-30,000 to €297,000, while a copper and gilt bronze Bodhisattva figure from the Qianlong Period sold for €272,000.

Read more:

Monday, December 10, 2012

The History of Chinese Lacquer Carved and Painted

The History of Chinese Lacquer Carved and Painted

Warring States (Qin) Chinese Lacquer Bronze Form Vessel, 

Chinese Museum

Chinese Lacquer a Long Elegant History

Over the longstanding Chinese history, numerous treasures and heritages have been left behind, among which the lacquer art is a brilliant one. China is the earliest country in the world using natural lacquer. In the early 1970s, archeologists unearthed a red lacquer wood bowl in an excavation in the Neolithic Hemudu remains in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province. It is estimated that the bowl was made 7,000 years ago, the oldest existing lacquer ware in the world.

What is Chinese Lacquer?

East Asian lacquer is a resin made from the highly toxic sap of the Rhus verniciflua tree, which is native to the area and a close relative of poison ivy. In essence, lacquer is a natural plastic; it is remarkably resistant to water, acid, and, to a certain extent, heat. Raw lacquer is collected annually by extracting the viscous sap through notches cut into the trees. It is gently heated to remove excess moisture and impurities. Purified lacquer can then be applied to the surface of nearly any object or be built up into a pile. Once coated with a thin layer of lacquer, the object is placed in a warm, humid, draft-free cabinet to dry. As high-quality lacquer may require thirty or more coats, its production is time-consuming and extremely costly.

Warring States, Ear Cup

Eastern Zhou, Warring States Lacquer Ear Cup, MET Museum

  • By the Warring States period, Chu, noted for its lacquer production, was the major cultural force in south central China. The visual arts of Chu are often characterized as shamanistic in response to the prevalence of images of fairy like creatures riding on dragons, or clouds that change imperceptibly into dragons, and, as they meander through the sky, transform again into dragons. The playful, thin lines painted on this winged cup are a later stylized version of the traditional cloud-dragon motif. The two large winglike appendages on the cup are often described as "ears" in Chinese writings, and cups of this type, known from at least the eighth century B.C., are generally termed "ear-cups," or erbei. It was most likely once part of a matched set of eating and drinking vessels.
The History of Chinese Lacquer Carved and Painted

Song to Yuan period Lobed Carved Red Lacquer Tray

  • This large dish belongs to the class of carved lacquer known as renwu gushi (narrative scenes with human figures), which, like the flower-and-bird type, had its beginning in the late Song period (960–1279). The subject depicted on this platter, children at play in a garden, follows a Song tradition. The ladies' dresses are in the style of the period, making it clear that the design derives from a Song original. This is also indicated by the figure in the lower right of a child dressed up as a gentleman at leisure, who is being helped to his feet by two other boys and followed by another holding a parasol. He sports a type of tall hat made fashionable in the Song period by Su Shi (1036–1101), the most admired poet-official of his generation and a figure beloved by Chinese poets and writers for succeeding centuries. 
  • The carving of the platter, however, is very much in the high Yuan (1279–1368) style, which began to mature only in the first half of the fourteenth century. It shows the Yuan propensity for creating three-dimensional images in the relief (with particular success in the area of the pavilion and lotus pond). Some of the objects depicted, such as the set of incense-burning utensils on the table at the lower left, also indicate a Yuan date. The size of the dish has some bearing on its dating as well; there are no known lacquer or ceramic dishes of this size from the Song period, but there are a great number of large porcelain dishes dating from the fourteenth century. The pattern of cracks on the back of the platter reveals that its wooden core is constructed, as are those of all other known fourteenth-century dishes, by joining a smaller piece to the main body of the substrate with the grains of the two pieces perpendicular. This has been confirmed by radiography. The theme of children at play is expressive of the wish for offspring and the joy of having them, an idea reinforced by the presence of a pomegranate tree behind the large garden rock where children are playing hide-and-seek. The pomegranate fruit with its many seeds is frequently used as a symbol of progeny.
Yuan Imperial Box

Ming Yongle Period Imperial Lacquer Box with Dragons, MET Museum

  • A vigorous, sinewy dragon with flowing mane and beard, tufts of hair at the joints, a prominent snout and horns, and long whiskers is often found on works in porcelain, lacquer, and other material produced during the reign of the Yongle emperor. Although carved red lacquers in some number are known from this period, examples decorated in the elegant qiangjin, or "incised-and-gilt," technique are rare. The mounts are of iron with gold damascene decoration, and the original lock and key are cast in bronze with engraved decoration and gilded. Fine lacquerware such as this box was made for the imperial household and for diplomatic gifts.

Ancient Chinese lacquer

Qin Lacquer Bowl

Early Chinese Lacquer

Chinese Qianlong Period Throne

Qianlong Imperial Lacquer Throne, 18th C.

While items covered with lacquer have been found in China dating to the Neolithic period, lacquerware with elaborate decoration requiring labor-intensive manufacturing processes made its first appearance during the Warring States period. Lacquer as an art form developed in China along two distinct paths—pictorial (or surface) decoration and carving of the lacquer. Rarely are the two techniques used in combination. In early times, surface decoration took the form of painting or inlay. The earliest lacquered objects were colored black or red with the addition of charcoal or cinnabar to the refined sap. Because lacquer is such a volatile substance, only a few additional coloring agents will combine with it. During the Han period, incised decoration was also used. Several techniques gradually evolved after the tenth century: engraved gold (qiangjin), filled-in (diaotian or tianqi), and carved lacquer (diaoqi). The art of inlaying lacquer with mother-of-pearl was intensively developed during the Song period. In the sixteenth century, after a lapse of about a thousand years, the painting of lacquer was revived, but it was seldom employed on carved lacquer.

Carved lacquer is a uniquely Chinese achievement in lacquer art and is also, in a way, lacquer art in its purest form. It is not known when this technique was invented. Lacquers of a thickness sufficient for relief carving were produced no later than the Southern Song period, as is known from archaeological excavations and from materials that were brought to Japan at the end of the Song period. This method of lacquer production reached its greatest flourishing from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.

Chinese Lacquer's Evolution from Trees to Art Form

Yuan period lacquer Box

Yuan Period Lacquer Box, Cleveland Museum of Art Collection

Traditional Chinese lacquer art applies natural lacquer liquid from lacquer trees. China is abundant in lacquer resources. Lacquer trees in Mainland China are distributed in some
550 counties in 23 provinces.

Starting from red lacquer wood bowls and painted potteries in the Neolithic age, Chinese lacquer art enjoyed rapid development in the Warring Period (770-256BC) and the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), thanks to the upgraded productivity of the time.

According to historical documents, lacquer trees were widely planted during the Warring Period (770-256BC). Famous philosopher Zhuang Zi, founder of Daoism, worked as an official overseeing lacquer plantations for some time. At that time, lacquer was regarded as important as daily necessities such as linen, mulberry, fish and salt, and lacquer craftsmanship were remarkably raised. There were wood, bamboo and linen lacquer wares. Linen lacquer work, not restrained from material sources, can be made in any shape. The improved craftsmanship gave rise to a multitude of lacquer work varieties.

The Warring Period (770-256BC) embraced the first peak of lacquer art development, which continued into the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-25AD). Unearthed objects indicate that lacquer wares in the Warring Period (770-256BC) had substantially surpassed the previous ages in terms of varieties, production output and scope of distribution. In the Warring Period (770-256BC), lacquer wares were used in every sphere of society, including daily utensils, music instruments, tomb wares and even weapons. People of Chu, living in Hubei, like red color and made a large number of red lacquer wares. Their lacquer works featured two basic colors, red and black, creating unique visual effect. Red and black lacquer works have been characteristic of Chinese lacquer art.

Lacquer works in the Warring Period (770-256BC) represented unusually high levels in terms of design and coloring. The painted lacquer mirror case "Panorama of the Journey" unearthed in a tomb in Jinmen, Hubei, vividly showcases the life of its owner, known as a masterpiece of the time.

Chinese lacquer art came into its golden age during the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). At that time, the court, nobilities and local merchants regarded lacquer wares as symbols of fortune and status. In order to satisfy personal material needs, they spent numerous human and financial resources to make exquisite lacquer wares. Decoration techniques witnessed new developments in the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD); inlaid gold and silver pattern appeared on the lacquer wares at that time.
Yuan lacquer boxes

Yuan Imperial Lacquer Stacking Box, 13th C.

During the ensuing Jin (265-420AD) and Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589AD), thanks to the introduction and widespread of Buddhism in China, lacquer art began to be applied to Buddha sculptures. One of the important excavations of this time is a lacquer wood screen unearthed in a tomb in Datong, Shanxi Province. The screen, carved with black inscriptions and painted in red lacquer, has lacquer paintings on it, which is based on "Legends of Heroic Women" of the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). This lacquer work is a masterpiece both for its painting and calligraphy.

One of the prominent achievements of the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) is its progress in lacquer work techniques. For instance, gold and silver pieces are cut into different patterns to be embedded in lacquer rough casts and polished. Thus exquisite lacquer works came into being.

Lacquer art was further developed in the following Song Dynasty (960- 1279AD). The flourishing economy and stable society gave rise to varieties of lacquer wares, among which the most distinctive style is single-color lacquerwork. Though deprived of decorative patterns and designs, single-color lacquer work were made with extremely meticulous craftsmanship.

In the Ming Dynasty, a famous craftsman named Huang Cheng, based on experiences of his own and previous craftsmen, wrote the first book on lacquer art. The book was later annotated by another famous lacquer craftsman, which make it China's only completer theoretic works on lacquer art.

Late Ming Early Qing Coromandal Throne

17th C. Chinese Lacquer Coromandal Screen

Since the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), due to the widespread use of ceramics, lacquer wares gradually lost its popularity. In the modern time, with the improvement of people's life, traditional lacquer works have already receded from the list of people's daily utensils. How to integrate lacquer art with modern life while enhancing itsartistic value is an issue requiring in- depth study of lacquer artists.

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Modern Lacquer

Modern lacquer painting, as an independent painting genre, has developed for some 40 years and has been recognized by public. Its success should be attributed to richness of traditional lacquer art and techniques. Modern lacquer paintings have been displayed in each national fine arts exhibition. And lacquer painting courses are now offered in several fine arts colleges, including the fine arts school of Tsinghua University, Nanjing Arts Institute and the crafts and design school of Fuzhou University.

Based on traditional lacquer techniques, modern lacquer artists have explored different qualities of lacquer and created many new techniques. Lacquer is not simply a decorative material. It is now used to stick egg shells and mental pieces. Lacquer is also used as a cohesive to make colored paint together with mineral pigment. The flowing quality of lacquer enables artists to use it at their will in their creations. When it is dried, lacquer can be grinded by charred wood or abrasive paper, which make the modern lacquer art possible.

Since the 1980s, Chinese lacquer art has been showcased in many countries including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and former Soviet Union and has drawn extensive interest of the international art circle.

If you have any questions or want to know more about your own lacquer pieces, contact us.
Thank you Sincerely, Peter Combs..Gloucester, Massachusetts (978) 283 3524

Plcombs Dealers and Appraisers of Chinese Antiques

plcombs Dealers and Appraisers of Chinese Antiques

Friday, December 07, 2012

Chinese Art Auctioneer Poly Group Funds Chinese Liberation Army

Corruption in China's Auction Houses? Hardly a Shock

While its no big surprise that rampant corruption  exists in the Chinese Art market, in particular within auction houses owned and run by the Chinese themselves. What might be a real shock is the largest Chinese based auction house was started by the Peoples Liberation Army as a funding source for the Military.  The Poly Group is just such an organization. Poly is now the third largest auction firm in the world.  Do Chinese buyer's mind? Not a bit. Despite the fact the auction house turns a blind eye to pumping fakes into the market.

Here is a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal, its an interesting read.
Lotus Screen, by Yang Feiyun

'Lotus Screen,' by Yang Feiyun, $2.7 Million

From Arms Dealer to Art Dealer -

Inside a stuffy hotel ballroom in Beijing earlier this month, Zhao Xu was too anxious to remain in his seat as "Beijing 2008," a painting by Chinese artist Lui Liu, came up for sale.

Mr. Zhao, the 43-year-old head of China's Poly Auction, smoked cigarettes feverishly in the corner as bidding on the painting—one of the night's most anticipated works—opened at a sky-high 16 million yuan ($2.6 million). But in less than three minutes, Mr. Zhao could relax. The painting, which depicts five partly nude women at a mah-jongg game, sold for $2.7 million, proving that the Chinese art market was alive and well.

"I'm happy," Mr. Zhao said later in the evening. In Poly's first four days of a six-day sale, it sold $322.6 million worth of collectibles—just shy of Christie's four-day sales total of $333.8 million in Hong Kong this fall.
In less than seven years, Mr. Zhao and Poly Auction have risen to become unlikely major players in the art world. Controlled by Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Poly Group—which began as a unit of the People's Liberation Army—Poly Auction is China's largest art auction house and the world's third-largest peddler of valuable collectibles, after Christie's and Sotheby's BID +1.35% .

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Chinese Paintings of The Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasty

Fine Chinese Paintings At The Freer and Sackler Gallery

On this page is a selection from the Freer and Sackler Gallery's astoundingly fine collection of paintings from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644)

The Freer -Sackler is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

We will be adding other works and indexes from the Museum's collection as time permits.

  • Each entry we've added also has a link back to the Museum in the image Caption for each image. 
  • You can also click on the "View Details" to learn more about each painting beneath each image. Its a downloadable PDF file for your research.
  • Each image will enlarge by clicking on it.

Rare Chinese Scroll

Portrait of Wang Huan, Northern Song

View Details 

Portrait of Wang Huan Northern Song, mid-11th century Album leaf; ink and color on silk

Portrait of Feng Ping
Portrait of Feng Ping, Northern Song
 View Details

Portrait of Feng Ping Northern Song, mid-11th century Album leaf; ink and color on silk

Northern Song Court Ladies

Palace Ladies Playing Double Sixes,  Southern Song

View Details

Palace Ladies Playing Double-sixes Traditionally attributed to Zhou Fang (ca. 730–ca. 800) Southern Song, late 12th–mid-13th century Handscroll; ink and color on silk 


Northern Song Seals

Palace Ladies Bathing Infants, Southern Song

 View Details

 Palace Ladies Bathing Infants Traditionally attributed to Zhou Wenju (active mid-10th century) Southern Song, late 12th to mid-13th century
Fan mounted as album leaf; ink and color on silk

Northern Song Scroll

Palace Ladies Bathing Infants, Southern Song

 View Details

Palace Ladies and Attendants
Traditionally attributed to Zhou Wenju (active mid-10th century)
Southern Song, late 12th to mid-13th century
Fan mounted as album leaf; ink and color on silk


The Double Screen, Ming Dynasty

View Details

The Double Screen Traditionally attributed to Zhou Wenju (active mid-10th century) Ming, 14th century
Handscroll; ink and color on silk


Inscribed Jade Tabs On Horse and Groom Scroll

Carved jade Tabs on Horse and Groom Scroll

Horse and Groom, after Li Gonglin, Yuan Dynasty

View Details

Horse and Groom, after Li Gonglin
Zhao Yong (1291–1361)
Yuan, 1347
Handscroll; ink and color on paper


Consort Yang Mounting a Horse, Yuan Dynasty

 View Details

Consort Yang Mounting a Horse Traditionally attributed to Qian Xuan (ca. 1235–before 1307) Yuan-Ming, 14th century Handscroll; ink and color on paper


Xin Pi Tugging the Emperor's Robe, Yuan to Ming Dynasty

View Details

Xin Pi Tugging the Emperor's Robe Yuan-Ming, 14th century Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink and color on silk


Nymph of the Luo River, Southern Song Dynasty

 View Details

Nymph of the Luo River Traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi (ca. 345–406) Southern Song; mid-12th to mid-13th century Handscroll; ink and color on silk


Northern Song Scroll

Tao Yuanming Returning to Seclusion, Northern Song Dynasty

View Details

Tao Yuanming Returning to Seclusion Traditionally attributed to Li Gonglin (ca. 1049–1106) Northern Song, early 12th century Handscroll; ink and color on silk


"Seventh Month" from the "Odes of Bin"

 View Details

llustrations of “Seventh Month” from the “Odes of Bin” Traditionally attributed to Ma Hezhi (active mid- to late 12th century)
Southern Song-Yuan, mid-13th to mid-14th century Handscroll; ink on paper


Silk Weaving, after Lou Shou, Yuan Dynasty

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Silk Weaving, after Lou Shou Traditionally attributed to Cheng Qi (active mid- to late 13th century) Yuan, mid- to late 13th century Handscroll; ink and color on paper


Peddler, attributed to Li Gonglin (ca. 1049–1106)

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Knick-knack Peddler and Playing Boys Traditionally attributed to Li Gonglin (ca. 1049–1106) Yuan, early to mid-14th century Album leaf; ink on silk


Song Scroll Horses

Attr. Zhang Kan, Song Dynasty

 View Details

Removing the Saddle and Inspecting the Arrows Traditionally attributed to Zhang Kan (active mid-10th century)
Song, 12th century Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink and color on silk


Yuan Dynasty Horse and Rider

Attr. Zhang Kan, Possibly later Song to Yuan Dynasty

View Details

Hunters on Horseback Traditionally attributed to Zhang Kan (active mid-10th century)
Southern Song-Yuan, mid-13th to 14th century
Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink and color on silk


Northern Song Landscape

Autumn Sky's, Attr. Guo Xi, Northern Song Dynasty

View Details

Clearing Autumn Skies over Mountains and Valleys Traditionally attributed to Guo Xi (ca. 1001–ca. 1090) Northern Song, mid-11th–early 12th century
Handscroll; ink and color on silk


Song Dynasty Snowy Mountains Scroll

Li Shan (active late 12th–early 13th century)

View Details

Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines Li Shan (active late 12th–early 13th century)
Jin, late 12th century
Handscroll; ink and color on silk


Jin Dynasty Scroll painting

Attr. Li Shan, Jin Dynasty

View Details

Travelers among the Fir-Pines Traditionally attributed to Li Shan (active late 12th–early 13th century)
Jin, early 13th century Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink on silk


Southern Song by Fan Kuan

Fan Kuan, Southern Song Dynasty

Southern Song Ink Drawing

Fan Kuan, Southern Song Dynasty

View Details

Fishing Alone in a Mountain Stream Traditionally attributed to Fan Kuan (ca. 960–ca. 1030) Southern Song, 13th century Handscroll; ink and color on silk


Attr. Fan Kuan, Southern Song Dynasty

View Details

Clearing Skies over Mount Hua Traditionally attributed to Fan Kuan 范寬 (ca. 960–ca. 1030) Jin-Yuan, 13th-14th century Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink on silk


Zhongli Quan Seeking the Dao, Jin-Yuan Dynasty

View Details

Zhongli Quan Seeking the Dao Traditionally attributed to Jing Hao (late 9th–first-half 10th century) Jin-Yuan, 13th–14th century Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink and color on silk


Song to Yuan Pen and Ink

Pavilion of Rising Clouds, Attr. Mi Fu, Song-Yuan Dynasty

View Details

Pavilion of Rising Clouds Traditionally attributed to Mi Fu (1052–1107) Southern Song-Yuan, mid-13th to mid-14th century
Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink on silk


Yuan Fan Painting

Mountain Landscape, Yuan Dynasty

 View Details

Mountain Landscape Yuan, 14th century Fan mounted as album leaf; ink and color on silk


Yuan to Ming Dynasty Pen and Ink, Snow and Mules

View Details

Mule-train in Snowy Mountains Yuan-Ming, 14th–15th century Album leaf; ink on silk


Tilling Rice, Yuan Dynasty

 View Details

Tilling Rice, after Lou Shou

Traditionally attributed to Cheng Qi (active mid- to late 13th century) Yuan, mid- to late 13th century Handscroll; ink and color on paper

The End................ 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Chinese Art Market Is now Bigger than the USA and Growing

Chinese Art Market Is now Bigger than the USA and Growing
Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei

Chinese Art Market Is now Bigger than the USA and Growing

Ancient Through Modern Art in China are all in Demand

Its no secret that over the last 15 years demand inside China for fine art, Asian art and antiques has grown exponentially. According to TEFAF Maastricht , the most important fine art fair in the world, Chinese consumers are now buying 30% of the worlds art nudging the United States into second place for the first time with 29% of the market. Results from other auction house's such as Christie's and Sotheby's as well as China's own art auction firms "Poly" and "Guardian" confirm the vitality of the Chinese and the overall Asian economy. Recent auctions in Hong Kong have grossed over 300 million dollars for Asian works of Art alone. These numbers include a significant results for very significant sums paid for Contemporary and 20th C. Chinese art as well.  So our saying the Chinese Art market is now bigger than the USA and growing.

As with all markets, the prices for Chinese art on all levels will in time reach a maturation level. Overpriced things will fall back in value and others will rise as appreciation for the overlooked areas grow. Its a normal and healthy process.

Changes in China Have Occurred on Many Levels

This is significant as it confirms several things.
  • First, after decades of brutal repression under Mao the cultural resilience of the Chinese people has enabled them to rise to the opportunity of a Free Market Capitalism, compete and prosper.  Average income in China has climbed more than 250% in the last 10 years.
  • Second, the average Chinese worker has a savings rate of more than 22% of income, as opposed to Americans who linger between 4% and negative numbers. 
  • The Chinese Government IS changing, albeit slowly on many levels for the betterment of its people. The huge irony is, China's Communist Government is now being funded by it's own internal Capitalistic engine. 
  • People inside China are becoming wealthy in amounts similar to the wealthy in the West. Though the Chinese worker still earns less than their counterparts in the USA and the EU they are catching up and enjoying a better quality of life. Most importantly, they feel as though they now have a chance to prosper.
  • High demand for Art and Antiques is an excellent indicator of how well an economy is doing. It's the kind of thing people put money into when they have their other basic needs met and feel confident enough to tie up significant capital in none income producing products. 
  • Modern Pen and Ink Landscape by Li Huayi
    Modern Pen and Ink Landscape by Li Huayi
  • The Chinese Communists, who under Mao, discouraged and actually destroyed cultural art and objects to demonstrate their resolve in moving the nation away from decadence and what they had viewed as the symbols of in-equality and the cause of repression by the Imperial Families of the past.
Lastly, as a culture becomes more desirous of enjoying and appreciating art and antiques it cannot but help elevate that society as a whole to a higher intellectual level across the board. The appreciation of the Arts has throughout history encouraged and broadened the minds of those participating which truly does have a trickle down effect to the rest of the people.

China has an artistic history going back thousands of years which can and does tell a story of its cultural evolution, ebb and flow of politics and economics. The arts of China reflect those changes every inch of the way. The Chinese people are now freer than they have ever been to learn and understand from their own, very long history as never before on a broad scale.

Today in China the inevitable is happening, the power of political art has come to to the forefront and is reaching a worldwide audience.   Much has been said in the Press about dissident Chinese artists such as Ai Weiwei, who has managed to use his artistic brilliance to effectively speak out against the Chinese Government. Weiwei is now part of a long world wide historical list of people who through the creative fields are affecting change. Its been happening like this for centuries, from Africa, to Russia, Europe, Middle East and America.

The presence of "Artistic Movements" ARE a sign of a nations intellectual health and often leads to breakthroughs on many levels. The inevitable politicization of art may have bumps along the way, with terrible consequences for those involved, but it cannot be stopped. Something , no doubt the current leaders in China know to be true but are not yet willing to deal with in an enlightened way. Perhaps the new Government there will nudge ahead after the new year.