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Home > Display > Gallery of Chinese Ancient Sculpture
Gallery of Chinese Ancient Sculpture
Using gold, red and black as three basic colors, the gallery is full of a warm and serious atmosphere. Within a space of 640 square meters, more than 120 specimens are put either in shrine-like showcases separated by lotus-petal shaped partitions or on open freestanding pedestals. This special design and arrangement will give audience a true feeling of walking in grottos or temples. The exhibits, dating between the Warring States period and the Ming dynasty, reveal artistic styles of Chinese sculpture in different periods. The most attractive sculptures are Buddha statues with different styles, such as simple and delicate Buddha statues of the Northern Wei, elegant and vivid Buddha statues of the Northern Qi and the Sui dynasties, gorgeously shaped and full-bodied Buddha statues of the Tang dynasty, and novel and secular Bodhisattva of the Song dynasty. Audience could watch a process how Buddhism, a foreign culture, was merging into Chinese traditional culture.

Sculptures during the periods of the Warring States and the Qin and Han dynasties
Sculptures were popular during the Shang and Zhou dynasties and matured during the Qin and Han dynasties. The representatives of this period were terracotta army near the mausoleum of the First Emperor of the Qin and stone sculptures and wooden and earthen figurine from royal and elite tombs during the Han. Generally, pottery figurines of the Western Han showed simple technology and unadorned beauty. Those of the Eastern Han period exhibited more realistic in style and more vivid in facial expression and gesture.
Sculptures during the periods of the Wei and Jin, the Northern and Southern, and the Sui dynasties
Buddhism spread to China from India and Central Asia during the Han. In the early Northern Wei period, Buddhist sculptures showed significant influence from Gandhara (northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan). Statues gave an appearance of westerners. Then, elegantly flowing robes and girdles appeared. Buddhist statues of the Western Wei exhibited strong bodies, round faces and full and intricately pleated robes. In the Northern Qi dynasty, statues became slim and graceful, with delicate garments and sharp linear details. Thoughtful facial expression was a typical style during the Northern Qi, which persisted into the Sui dynasty.
Sculpture during the period of the Tang and the Five dynasties
The Tang dynasty was one of the most brilliant epochs in Chinese ancient civilization. Sculptures of this period emphasized realism. Thus, various human figurines showed well- proportioned build and accurate appearance. Buddhist sculptures were given more perfect images in order to express the spirit of rescuing all living creatures.
Sculpture during the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties
Buddhist sculptures during the Song period emphasized beautiful build of human body. The development of sculptures during the Southern Song period was slow. Sculptures of the Yuan and Ming dynasties became formalized and routine, lacking creative works.
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