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Art of China - Sculpture


Works listed here deal with sculpture of all materials, including bronze, ceramic, stone and wood, and of various representations and functions for funereal, decorative, and votive purposes. You may find some works of sculpture also appearing in other sections, such as ABronzes,@ACeramics,@ and ABuddhist and Daoist art@. (Most works deal with only one period).

Caswell, James O. Written and Unwritten: a New History of the Buddhist Caves at Yungang. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988.

Based on a visit in 1987 to the site in northern Shanxi Province, and on an historical document discovered and photographs taken by the Japanese during the WWII, the author reevaluates sculptures, offering revised dates, iconographic features, and discussing the pattern of patronage of Buddhism and its establishments under the Northern Wei (386-535).

Gridley, Marilyn Leidig. Chinese Buddhist Sculpture under the Liao. New Delhi: International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan, 1993.

Published as Sata-Pitaka series, Indo-Asian literatures, no. 368, the work was originally the author=s 1985 dissertation. The period, Liao dynasty (947-1125) was chosen for the characteristics of the period.

Howard, Angela Falco, ABuddhist sculpture of the Liao dynasty,@ The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin no. 56 (1984), p. 1-95.

It is a reassessment of Osvald Siren=s study, Sculpture of the Sung,Liao and Chin Dynasties, written in 1942 based on his study of a large body of sculptures in China. The author uses new archaeological evidence from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125) to provide stylistic differences and redate pieces dated to be the 12th century by Siren.

_____. ARoyal patronage of Buddhist art in 10th century Wu Yueh,@ The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin no. 57 (1985), p. 1-60.

Based on a bronze Kuan-yin (a Buddhist deity) in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, the author discusses the sculpture after the Tang dynasty (618-907), in the Kingdom of Wu Yueh (modern Zhejiang Province).

_____. The Imagery of the Cosmological Buddha. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1986.

Deals with Gautama Buddha in sculpture and Buddhist cosmology. Also listed in ABuddhist and Daoist art.@

Lefebvre d=Argence, Rene-Yvon ... [et al.]. Chinese, Korean and Japanese sculpture: The Avery Brundage collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. New York: Kodansha, 1974.

The first 350 pages of the 459-page catalog of the Avery Brundage collection covers China, with 187 illustrations, listing objects from Eastern Zhou to the Qing dynasty, with introduction, detailed descriptions and bibliographical references. Good tool for comparison of sculptures from different collections.

Leidy, Denise Patry. Northern Ch=i Buddhist Sculpture. Ph.D. thesis. Columbia University, New York City, NY, 1986.

The study investigates the sculpture of the 6th century, its stylistic evolution of sculptural traditions at the court, using images from cave temples of Xiangtang and Tianlong mountains.

Lewis, Candace J. Into the Afterlife: Han and Six Dynasties Chinese Tomb Sculpture from the Schloss Collection. Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College Art Gallery, 1990.

Catalog of an exhibition illustrating early tomb sculptures from the Han (206 B.C.- 220 A.D. and the Six dynasties (220-589 A.D.) and comparing their forms and styles.

Munsterberg, Hugo. Chinese Buddhist Bronzes. Reprint ed. New York: Hacker Art Books, 1988.

Oort, H.A. van. The Iconography of Chinese Buddhism in Traditional China. Leiden: Brill, 1986.

Covers the period of 3rd-6th centuries (Six dynasties and the Northern dynasties) as the dawn of Buddhist art, and 10th-13th centuries (Tang, Liao and Jin), the golden age of Buddhist art with emphasis on Buddhist iconography.

Paludan, Ann. The Imperial Ming Tombs. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

As described in the section on Architecture.

_____. The Chinese Spirit Road: the Classical Tradition of Stone Tomb Statuary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

The author has written a number of works on the imperial tombs. The work is a detailed survey of stone figures and monuments erected along the road to imperial tombs, from the Western Han around 117 B.C. to the Ming and Qing (1368-1912).

_____. The Ming Tombs (Images of Asia). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1991.

A concise historical review of the Ming tombs outside of Beijing, the capital, many of which have yet to be excavated, with the emphasis more on tomb structure than on individual sculptures.

_____. Chinese Tomb Figurines (Images of Asia). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1994.

The focus is on tomb figurines made of ceramic and, occasionally, of wood, specially made for the tomb and designed primarily as substitutes for real objects, both human and animal.

Powers, Martin Joseph. Art and Political Expression in Early China. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

Using reliefs of pictorial images from sepulchral monuments, the work uses a combination of historical and stylistic data to build a picture of the Han dynasty (221 B.C.-220A.D.) It is also listed in General Works.

The Quest for Eternity: Chinese Ceramic Sculptures from the People=s Republic of China. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1987.

Catalog of an exhibition organized jointly by Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Chinese Overseas Archaeological Exhibition Corporation, with four essays on Chinese beliefs in the afterworld, the Qin and Han tombs and mortuary architecture, funerary sculpture, and sculptural development of ceramic figures.

Segalen, Victor. The Great Statuary of China. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Originally published in 1972 in French.

Siren, Osvald. Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century. London: Benn, 1925.

A four-volume introduction to Chinese sculpture with more than 900 illustrations of objects in stone, bronze, lacquer and wood, mainly from northern China, one of the early works on Chinese sculpture still being consulted.

Wong, Dorothy. The Beginning of the Buddhist Stele Tradition in China. Ph.D. thesis. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1995.

The steles are the carvings of Buddhist images and symbols onto stone tablets traditionally used for commemorative and funerary purposes. They depict votive images of deities and events from the life of Buddha. For the first time these stone steles of the 5th-6th centuries received a full survey and interpretation of artistic and cultural features.

Wu, Hung. The Wu Liang Shrine: The Ideology of Early Chinese Pictorial Art. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989.

With emphasis on imagery and pictorial art, the author reconstructs the shrines of Wu Liang, analyzes the reliefs, lists inscriptions, iconography, styles and literary sources, and builds a picture of the Eastern Han style and iconography.

Yen, Chuan-ying. The Sculpture from the Tower of Seven Jewels: The Style, Patronage and Iconography of the Monument. Ph.D. Thesis. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1986.

Explores the artistic, iconographic and cultural features of Buddhist stone sculptures from the monastery, the Tower of Seven Jewels, of the Tang dynasty in modern Xi=an, which represented the emergence of a new period of sculpture with more substantial volume and anatomical clarity.

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revised 11 October 2000


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