Ancient China Art

There are many different types of China are.  During different eras and different dynasties, Chinese art was created.

These different types of art work were mostly based around different Chinese philosophies and religions.

Jade Ornament

Three Perfections

Ancient Chinese Art were based around three different types of art, painting, calligraphy and poetry.

These three types of art were oftentimes found together and that is why they are called the “Three Perfections.”

The Three Perfections came about when Zheng Quan, a painter, artists and calligrapher, gave a gift to the emperor who loved the gift so much that he wrote on it, “Zheng Quan’s Three Perfections.”


Calligraphy is an art of writing.  During the time of Ancient China, calligraphy was considered the most important, or the highest form of art.

The people of China would practice for years and years in order to be able to write perfectly in calligraphy.


There are over 40,000 different characters that need to be hand-drawn perfectly and each of these characters have to be written in a specific way.

Calligraphers in China would use paper, a brush, ink stones and an ink stick in order to write calligraphy.


Poetry is another form of Ancient Chinese art and is one of the most known arts in China.  This type of art was considered to be important for everyone who lived in Ancient China.

People that were born in Ancient China were expected to know or to learn how to make poetry.

Poetry was important and in order to get better jobs, it was required that the person was able to write poetry just to be considered.

In order to work for the government of China, the person had to know the art of poetry.

There are four different ancient styles of poetry which are the Ci, Fu, Shi, Ge and Qu.  The Tang Dynasty is best known for perfecting the art of poetry.

Folk Toys

Folk toys were part of the Ancient Chinese culture.  These toys were made with different meanings and they were made to give as gifts to their children.

With folk toys, the Chinese people were able to express how much they loved art and they would make these toys to be unique and beautiful.

These toys would allow them to express their feelings and they would decorate the toys according to what they felt or what they believed.

Chinese Kites

Another form of ancient Chinese art was the making of kites.  The Chinese would make kites and use the kites in the military.

Since kites could fly far distances, the military soldiers would use the kites to measure how far away places were.

These kites were also used to deliver messages to other soldiers.  When the soldiers would see the colorful kites flying overhead, they knew that they needed to find the hidden meaning.

During the Tang Dynasty, using kites changed and people began to make them just to fly for fun.

They used bamboo and silk and most of them were made to look like a bird with colorful wings.

Many of the kites were covered with special things such as strings, bells or whistles so that the kite would make different sounds when it was flown.

Kites were important when there were festivals and many children and adults would make their own kites to fly.


Pottery and porcelain were important art during Ancient Chinese times.  Pottery was used to both drink and eat out of and it was also used for trade.

The Chinese were able to export their pottery in order to trade for spices and other items and to sell for money.


Painting was not as important until the reign of the Northern Song Dynasty and it was a combination of both calligraphy and poetry.

During Ancient Chinese times, people would paint what they were feeling, and they would also paint birds, water, and landscape pictures.

The Chinese would use painting to express themselves and would base their art on their poetry.

More Facts About Ancient China Art:

  • Political leaders had an influence on Chinese Art.
  • Religious figures helped to develop Chinese Art.
  • Silk was another form of art that was spun from cocoons.
  • Silkworms produced the cocoons that helped the Chinese to make silk.
  • Silk was dyed and decorated.
  • The Ancient Chinese artists used sap from trees as a lacquer.
  • A lacquer is a clear coating that is used to cover paintings and pottery.
  • The Ancient Chinese created the Terracotta Army.
  • The Terracotta Army was thought to protect the emperor, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor, after he died.
  • There were 8,000 different soldier and 520 different horse sculptures of the Terracotta Army.

Carved Tray

What Did You Learn?

  • What were the three different arts that made up the “Three Perfections?”  The “Three Perfections” were painting, calligraphy and poetry.
  • What is the type of art that is created by using hand-drawn characters?  Calligraphy is the type of art that is created by using hand-drawn characters.  There are over 40,000 different characters that can be drawn or written.
  • What was the type of Ancient Chinese art that all people were expected to know?  Poetry was the type of art that all people were expected to know.
  • What was the name of the soldier and horse sculptures?  The soldier and horse sculptures were the Terracotta Army.
  • What type of clear covering was used in order to cover different works of art such as paintings and pottery?  Sap, also called lacquer was used to protect different works of art.
  • What was used to help the military to be able to get messages to other soldiers?  The Ancient Chinese used kites to help get messages from one area to another.