Ancient China Artifacts

Ancient artifacts are important because they help to tell the history of a nation.  Even writing and other things that we see everyday had to begin somewhere.

Artifacts help to tell us stories about where things began and why.


Ancient Chinese Artifacts

There are many artifacts that have been discovered through the years that were created by the Ancient Chinese civilization.

Some of these include things such as bronze statues, ivory, jade, pottery, gold, bronze, sculptures, statues, buildings and more.

Chinese Ritual Bronze

Ivory and Jade Artifacts

Ivory and Jade have been discovered dating over 5,000 years ago.  Many of these items were in the form of statues or figurines.

Some of these figurines are shaped as animals such as dragons with ears, human heads, snakes, birds, and human figures.

Other items are shaped as weapons such as knives, axes and hammers.

Ancient Chinese Jade

Many pieces of jade are considered to be artifacts.  Jade was considered by the Ancient Chinese to show immortality and nobility and it was considered to represent heaven.

Jade was considered to be like heaven because heaven was said to be round.  The earth on the other hand was considered to be square.

The center of the jade, which was a hole, was called a “pie” and it was put in jade as a way to honor the gods.

The rectangular part of jade was used to honor the earth and it was called “tsung.”

Jade was mostly used to make statues of animals and for tools.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is considered an Ancient Chinese Artifact.  The reason it is considered an artifact is because it was built over a large period of time.

The wall stretches for over 5,000 miles and it was built to help keep invaders out of China.

During the time of the Great Wall, China was often times attacked by enemies such as the Mongols.  When the wall was built, it was used to help keep the enemies out.

The Great Wall of China was built by Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor.

He wanted a strong wall with thousands of towers to be built so that soldiers could have lookout points to protect the empire.

Even though the Qin Dynasty began the wall, it was not finished.  It was later rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty.

The Ming Dynasty used slaves, prisoners and peasants to build the wall.  The emperor would punish people by making them build.

Historians believe that the wall had over a million people working on it and that it took over 1000 years.

People that built the wall were often times mistreated and died and buried right under the wall.

The wall was built with whatever materials were available at the time.  The people learned to be resourceful and would find dirt and rocks that were there and used that.

Later, bricks were used to help make the wall stronger.

Ancient Chinese Tombs

Tombs are also considered to be artifacts.  During the Song Dynasty, there were many tombs that were created.

One of the most interesting of the tombs was the “Ming Tombs.”  These tombs are where 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried.

On top of the tombs is a stone archway that is decorated with clouds and animals and is carved.

On the way inside of the tombs is a gate and the gate are surrounded by over 18 stone humans and animals including a lion, camel, unicorn and more.

Another palace that was created was at Dingling Tomb, this has three chambers and has marble doors that are carved into life-size human figures and also includes flowers and birds.

Out of the tomb has come crowns, jewels and over 3,000 different artifacts.

Ancient Chinese Art

Ancient Chinese art is also considered some of the most exciting artifacts in the world.  During the Neolithic period, the Ancient Chinese spent much of their life making pottery.

The first piece of pottery was seen in 18,000 BCE and it was created for many purposes.

Pottery changed in all periods of time, and pottery began as plain and turned out to be beautiful pieces of art.

Han Artifacts

Han Art are artifacts that are bronze sculptures.  Most of these sculptures have been found in tombs and in burial plots.

Painting Artifacts

Many Ancient Chinese paintings are considered artifacts.  They are mostly painted on silk and on hand scrolls.  Most of the paintings were paintings of people, women, and portraits.

Landscape paintings are also very popular artifacts of Ancient China.  These paintings usually show the different dynasties and show mountains and hills of Ancient China.


Cloissone is a type of art that means “partition.”  This is a type of metalwork that is made from bronze or copper.  Most of the pieces of Cloissone are sculptures or pots.


Poetry that has been around for thousands of years is also considered artifacts.  Poetry is a considered a very important art.

It was used in Ancient China as a way for people to express their emotions and feelings.

The Chinese poetry has three different elements the shi, ci and qu.  Most of the poetry was destroyed in fires, burning of books and book burials.


One of the greatest known artifacts of the Ancient Chinese culture was silk.  Silk is considered both an art and a very useful resource.

Silk was used for writing, painting, clothing, and for fishing.

More Facts About Ancient Chinese Artifacts:

  • Silk Road was named Silk Road because the popularity of silk and the uses of it.  Silk was a huge trade for the Silk Road.
  • The oldest surviving piece of Ancient Chinese poetry is the “Midnight Songs.”
  • Folk style poetry became popular during the Han Dynasty.
  • Many of the landscape paintings happened during the Tang Dynasty.
  • Calligraphy was often times used when painting.
  • Buddhist sculptures are considered some of the most artistic pieces in the world.
  • Many Buddhist sculptures were made because Buddhism became very popular during the Han Dynasty.
  • Gu Kaizhi was an artist from Ancient China.  He painted most of his work on silk.
  • Bronze statues were often times made of important social figures.

Hunping Jar

What Did You Learn?

  • Why was Jade an important artifact to the Ancient Chinese culture?  Jade was important because it was considered heaven on earth.  Each part of Jade represents heaven, earth or some type of god.
  • Why is the Great Wall of China considered to be an artifact?  The Great Wall of China is considered to be an artifact because it has been around for thousands of years.  It has much history behind it, such as how it was built and with what materials.
  • What type of art is also called “partition” and is made of bronze or copper?  Cloissone is ancient art that is made of bronze or copper.  Most of these types of artwork do not exist today because they were very fragile.
  • Why is poetry considered to be an artifact?  Poetry is considered to be an artifact because it was a very important part of the Ancient Chinese art.  There are very few original poetry pieces that are left today and many of the ones that are, are dated back many, many years.
  • What material is considered to be an artifact? Silk is a material that is considered to be an Ancient Chinese artifact.  This material had many uses such as being used for paintings, making clothing and more.
  • What was the area that was named after silk?  The Silk Road, which was a Chinese trading route, was named after silk because of its importance to the Chinese culture.