Ancient Stone Carving Art in the Central Plain

Source: Henan Museum Edit: Zrr Time: 2020-12-14 17:17:35

Stone carving constitutes a major category of Chinese arts,it has various forms and rich contents.A great wealth of stone carvings left behind by history in the Central Plain, such as Han-dynasty stone relies depicting the solemn and spectacular scenes,the impressive funerary guardians,diversified tomb stones,all of which  are embodiment of the national characters and the spirit of times. The realistic Buddhist statues particularly, exhibit the ingenious artisanship and exceptional aesthetic tastes of the ancient artisans.

Part1 Stone Reliefs from the Han Dynasty

Han-dynasty stone reliefs are mosty architectural components decorating stone watchtowers, tomt chambers, or graveyards. Han-dynasty stone reliefs that survived in Henan are mainly presenved in Nanyang, Shangquiu, Zhengzhou, Xuchang and Xunxian,they feature diverse subjects and styles,lifelike designs,simple but vigorous lines, an aesthetic pursuit of simplicity and primitiveness, demonstrating the vigor and vitality in the rising era of dynastic China.

Part2 Stone Satues in Imperial Mausoleums

Stone statues in imperial mausoleums that survive in Henan were erected for ceremonial purpose. They include stone bixie (evil-averting beast), goats, horses, lions, tianlu (mythical beast), wengzhong (mighty warrior) and columns erected along the divine passage to the tomb, dating back from the Eastern Han dynasty all the way down to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Part3 Tombstones

Tens of thousands of ancient tombstones have been excavated in Henan, with most of them discovered in Luoyang, dating back to the period from the Northern Wei dynasty to the Tang dynasty.

These tombstone inscriptions praise merits or virtues of the dead or record events or chronological histories providing information for academic studies, exhibiting the richness and diversity of Chinese calligraphy.

Part4 Buddhist Statues

It became popular to construct grottoes and create statues after the Northern Wei dynasty relocated its capital in Luoyang. Stone statues in the late period of the Northern Wei dynasty presenting a Central Plain style that is famed for elegant and slim images. Carving techniques was well developed from the Eastern Wei to the Northern Qi, featuring well-proportioned human designs and mundane facial expressions. Stone statues in the ensuing Tang dynasty are known for their magnificent images, grand sizes and solemn gestures. After the Song dynasty, stone statues were more emphasized on detailed portrayal of human sentiments and expressions, exhibiting a totally secularized scenario.

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