Chinese traditional culture, porcelain culture, secular figure sculpture

Lu Xun once said in the second volume of qijieting essays: Confucius in modern China: "when painting or sculpting people who should be respected, the principle is generally greater than ordinary people."


Sculpture, as a kind of ornamental object with symbolic meaning and rich artistic flavor, brings people ornamental value and symbolic meaning in daily life. As early as the end of primitive society, primitive people living in the Yellow River and Yangtze River valley began to appear sculptures (clay and pottery).


In today's life, sculpture also plays an increasingly important role, it seems to have become an art. However, throughout the feudal dynasties, many sculpture works were influenced by politics, which promoted the development of sculpture and limited the theme of sculpture. In addition, under different ideological backgrounds, sculpture in each dynasty had different styles. The most typical example was the sculpture in Qin and Han Dynasties, which was the first unified and prosperous period in Chinese history The flourishing period is also the first peak period of the development of ancient Chinese sculpture. Although the sculptures of Qin and Han Dynasties were also influenced by politics, they also reflected the life track and deeper belief of the ancients, including the social background of life.



1、 The origin of sculpture and the background and artistic characteristics of sculpture in Qin and Han Dynasties


As early as in ancient China, sculpture already existed. In the late new era, primitive agriculture gradually developed, and social life made people create countless living utensils, from which pottery came. This is the earliest sculpture work in ancient China. How did the sculpture of Qin and Han Dynasties come into being and what are its characteristics? Let's talk about it in detail!


The background of sculpture in Qin and Han Dynasties: the need of the unity of politics, economy and culture


In 221 BC, Qin Shihuang unified the six countries, established the first feudal autocratic Dynasty in Chinese history, and opened the first prosperous era of China. The Qin and Han Dynasties witnessed the establishment and consolidation of a unified multi-ethnic feudal state in China, as well as the establishment and development of China's artistic style. In this period, the rulers strengthened the unity of politics, economy and culture, and paid more attention to the development of art. At that time, sculpture became a means to declare the royal power and meet the personal needs of the rulers. For example, the bronze sculptures and terracotta warriors of the Qin Dynasty are essentially to promote personal achievements.


At that time, most of the sculptures were religious, and religion was born with the reproduction of royal power. In the Qin and Han Dynasties, there are outstanding achievements in pottery and bronze carving, as well as in the Qin and Han Dynasties. After the establishment of the Han Dynasty, benevolence and filial piety ruled the country, the people lived and worked in peace and contentment, recuperated at home and beat back the Xiongnu, without internal and external troubles. With the further prosperity and development of economy, new vitality has been injected into sculpture. Therefore, sculpture works emerge in an endless stream.



02 artistic characteristics of sculpture in Qin and Han Dynasties: advocating realism and excellent production


With the establishment of the unified dynasty, the Qin Dynasty, under the leadership of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, entered a glorious period. Therefore, most of the sculpture works of the Qin Dynasty are magnificent and powerful. For example, the terracotta warriors and horses of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty are known as the eighth wonder of the world! It can be seen that there were countless skilled craftsmen in the Qin Dynasty at that time, which is enough to see that the sculpture technology in the Qin Dynasty was developed and widely used in politics.


As the Han Dynasty inherited the Qin system, Liu Bang, the great ancestor of the Han Dynasty, was in great need of stability and development. Later, Emperor Wen and Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty all took the measure of inaction and implemented the policy of light corvee and light taxes, which restored the damage caused by years of war. Because in such a social environment, the political measures taken by the rulers of the Han Dynasty also had an important impact on the sculpture of the Han Dynasty. As a result, with the maturity of sculpture technology, the sculpture of Han Dynasty became more and more delicate, the characterization became more and more vivid, and more attention was paid to the appearance of raw materials. For example, in the early Western Han Dynasty, the jade carving products, the dragon and tiger patterns on the jade swords, the undulating patterns, the combination of virtual and real, the complex but not chaotic, including the later unearthed round jade carving, relief jade swords and so on.



As well as the emergence of large-scale sculpture in the Qin, Ming and Han Dynasties, it is the first landmark of China. In this period, the level of carving was high, and the quality of the carving works was excellent. Most of the carved plants, animals or figures were realistic and vivid.



Especially in the Eastern Han Dynasty, most of the Ming ware sculptures like to show the theme of life. There are many terracotta figures showing various scenes of life and labor, as well as sculpture models such as buildings, docks and castles. Generally speaking, the sculpture works of Qin and Han Dynasties are large-scale, but they advocate realism, vivid and delicate, and have distinct personality.




2、 Most of the sculptures in the Qin and Han Dynasties were designed to meet the personal needs of the rulers, serve the rulers, and be influenced by politics



In the Qin Dynasty, the unified centralized state was just established, and the foundation was unstable and the society was unstable. The rulers needed sculpture art as a favorable image tool to publicize their achievements and authority. In the Han Dynasty, Emperor Hanwu needed to open up territory and fight against Xiongnu, and the outstanding military contributions made by the generals were carried forward in the form of sculpture, which essentially served politics 。


The sculptures of the Qin Dynasty are used to praise the emperor's personal achievements and the military strength of the Qin Dynasty


As the first feudal autocratic Dynasty in ancient China, Qin Shihuang just calmed down the world. The world was unstable and the current situation was turbulent. Qin Shihuang urgently needed to publicize his achievements and stabilize the current situation. Therefore, culture is one of the indispensable elements of his propaganda, and sculpture is a particularly important form of expression, which also leads to the unprecedented prosperity and development of sculpture.


There is a record in the historical records of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty: "take the soldiers from all over the world, gather them in Xianyang, sell them as twelve Jinren in zhongkou, each with a thousand stones, and put them in the imperial palace."


It means to collect all the weapons in the world, gather them in Xianyang city for marketing, and then cast them into twelve zhongkou Jinren, each with a weight of a thousand stones.


At the same time, the twelve bronze statues are engraved with the inscription written by Lisi in praise of the great cause of the unification of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, which shows its political role and political thought: that is, it pays attention to publicizing the emperor's personal achievements.


The most famous sculpture of the Qin Dynasty is the terracotta warriors and horses. It is known as "the eighth wonder of the world", and its scale is very large. Once discovered, the terracotta warriors and horses in the mausoleum of the first emperor of Qin shocked the world with its magnificent momentum and highly realistic technique. So far, more than 8000 pieces of terracotta warriors and horses have been found in the three pits. These terracotta warriors and horses have a large number, a strict layout and a neat queue. They represent the military power of the Qin Dynasty.


The terracotta warriors and horses in the Qin and Han Dynasties are tall, with the highest of 2 meters and the lowest of 1.75 meters. They are all sculptured according to real people, which is absolutely a symbol of the power of the Qin Dynasty. Including facial expression, modeling and decoration are also different, each lifelike, forming a majestic military array, which fully shows the grand spirit of "one emperor through the ages" of Qin Shihuang. In fact, it is another kind of praise to Qin Shihuang!



The Han Dynasty sculpture is more as a tool for rulers to win people's hearts and commemorate those who have made great contributions


In the early Han Dynasty, some generals and princes with outstanding military achievements were buried with terracotta warriors and horses to show off their status and rights. The purpose of the rulers was to win people's hearts and encourage more people to contribute to the country, so as to get this honor. After all, not everyone had these stone carvings in front of their mausoleum.


The most outstanding representative work of carving works in the Han Dynasty is the large-scale commemorative stone carving - Huo Qubing tomb stone carving. It includes 14 works of horse riding Hun, crouching horse, jumping horse, crouching tiger, crouching elephant, stone frog, stone fish, savage, cow licking calf, crouching cow, man and bear, wild boar, stone toad, etc. all of them are carved with granite. These sculptures were carved by Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty in recognition of Huo Qubing. Huo Qubing was a famous general who fought against Xiongnu in the Western Han Dynasty. In order to honor his outstanding military achievements, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty not only gave him the honor of being buried with Maoling, but also raised his grave in the shape of Qilian Mountain. Among the stone carvings in front of Huoqubing's Mausoleum, the most representative is "Horse Treading Xiongnu".


The horse has a solemn look and solemn posture, revealing full of fortitude. Under the hooves of the horse is a Hun soldier with a Hun's body shrinking. A fine horse puts a Hun soldier under his feet, just like a winner's posture. "Horse Treading on Xiongnu" is so lifelike and full of vigor, which also reflects the strength of the Western Han Empire and the conquest of the Xiongnu invaders. Moreover, this sculpture also endows political thought with a certain deterrent effect of publicizing the strong national strength and military achievements of the Han Dynasty. Moreover, the stone carvings in front of Huo Qubing's tomb are all carved with a whole stone. The sculptors combine carving, floating, line carving and other techniques together. They create momentum according to the mountain and carve according to the stone. They incisively and vividly carve realistic objects. They also show the boldness and grandeur of the carving works, which has become a glorious page in the history of sculpture in the Western Han Dynasty.



Therefore, in the Qin and Han Dynasties, sculpture became a powerful tool for monarchy and politics. However, both the terracotta warriors and horses of the Qin Dynasty and the "Horse Treading on Xiongnu" in front of Huo Qubing's Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty are designed to meet the personal needs of the rulers. They are also a show off of their national strength and are influenced by politics.




3、 The different styles of sculptures in Qin and Han Dynasties depend on the different political thoughts adopted by the two dynasties


As an individual, sculpture has never existed independently. The Qin Dynasty adopted the legal thought to govern the country, implemented the light crime and heavy punishment, suppressed the resistance of the subjects with severe punishment, maintained the huge national expenditure with the method of excessive collection, and finally aroused the resistance of the farmers, so most of the sculptures were dignified. The Han Dynasty is different, the Han Dynasty is based on benevolence and filial piety, Confucianism, so the sculpture works appear more active and light.


Shang Yang once said in the reform: "what is the ancient law of different religions in the past? If the emperor does not reply, what is the rule of etiquette? " "If we don't govern the world together, the country will not follow the rule of the ancients. The king of Tang and Wu did not follow the ancient times, and the death of yin and Xia was not easy. However, those who are against the ancients are not necessarily wrong, and those who follow the rites are not enough. " Therefore, he advocated that "legislation should be made at that time, and rites should be made according to events".


Therefore, after Shang Yang's reform, the strong and heavy legalist culture was gradually integrated into Qin people's blood. All the rulers of Qin Dynasty ruled the country according to legalist thought, including Qin Shihuang who later unified the six countries. Therefore, the sculpture works of Qin Dynasty are more rigorous and dignified.


Compared with the Qin Dynasty, although the Han Dynasty inherited the Qin system, the Han Dynasty did not recognize the legalist ideas of the Qin Dynasty, but adopted the rule of inaction and ruled by benevolence and filial piety. At the same time, it carried out the policy of "light corvee and meager tax" and "recuperate" internally, swept the Xiongnu externally, strengthened the border defense and stabilized the frontier. Later, it opened up the western regions and brought in different customs. Therefore, at this time, the Han Dynasty was strong, without internal and external troubles. People lived in peace, contentment and harmony. Ideologically, they deposed all schools of thought, respected Confucianism, and emphasized that art served political ethics. As a result, the sculptures in this period of the Han Dynasty were vigorous, naive and wild, with a trace of western region customs.



Generally speaking, the sculptures of the Qin Dynasty were more dignified and rigorous. The first feudal autocratic state was established by the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty obeyed the imperial power and ruled by Legalists. The criminal law was harsh and tyrannical, which made the social life of the people very depressed at that time. The sculptures of the Qin Dynasty were serious and rigid, dignified and lack of vitality. In the Han Dynasty, the rulers ruled by inaction, recuperated and paid less taxes, which was not as oppressive as in the Qin Dynasty. So the sculpture of Han Dynasty has a light and happy, rough and unconstrained beauty. It is also in this social and political environment that a large number of contemporary sculptures with the flavor of life appeared in Han Dynasty sculptures, such as Rap figurines.


Therefore, different political thoughts also led to different sculptures in the Qin and Han Dynasties, resulting in different political functions.






The magnificent sculptures of the Qin and Han Dynasties embody the vigorous and magnificent spirit of the times, and show the majestic style of the Qin and Han Dynasties admired by later generations. A good political environment can promote the development of sculpture technology and have a profound impact on sculpture technology. Different political forms also sprout different forms of sculpture expression. Therefore, politics has a certain role in promoting the development of Chinese sculpture.


The development of sculpture art in the Qin and Han dynasties also represents the further sublimation of the artistic thought and national spirit of the ancient Chinese people, reflects the continuous and stable progress of the ancient feudal society in China, and leaves a brilliant page in the history of ancient Chinese sculpture. It not only lays the foundation for the development of sculpture in later generations, but also lays a solid foundation for the development of a nation The soul that moves forward.