The Arts: Chronology
617-1644: The Arts: Chronology
- China is ruled by the Tang dynasty.
- Theologian Xuanzang travels in India and brings important Buddhist texts back to China.
- Orders are given to erect Confucian temples at schools all over China.
- Tang emperor Taizong invents the dance known aspozhenyue (breaking battle array).
- The Palace of Great Clarity, an imperial resort including residential and official buildings, is constructed northwest of Chang’an in Shanxi Province.
- The Zhaoling (Clarity Tomb) of Emperor Taizong is built in Liquan County, Shanxi Province. The tomb includes the well-known stone sculpture Six Horses of the Clarity Tomb.
- Tang-dynasty duobuyue (multinational music), also called “the ten melodies,” incorporates many foreign melodies.
- Ouyang Xun, one of the four master calligraphers of the early Tang dynasty, dies.
- Sun Quoting writes Shupu (Guide to Calligraphy).
- Intercultural exchanges take place as China controls Kucha and Khotan of Central Asia, begins to conquer Korea (known as Great Silla), and establishes relations with Japan as well as Funan and Champa in Southeast Asia.
- After Muslim envoys visit the Tang court, Islamic religion and architecture spread to China. Construction begins on the Huaishengsi (Mosque in Memory of the Sage) in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.
- Painters Li Sixun and his son Li Zhaodao create the School of Golden and Green Landscape Painting.
- The Xuanzhangta, the tomb-pagoda of the monkXuanzhang, is built at Xingjiao Temple in Chang’an.
- Yan Liben, the most-celebrated court painter of the early Tang dynasty, dies. Known for his portraits of emperors and scholars, he and his brother Yan Lide brought about a renaissance in figure painting.
- The Fengxian (Ancestral Reverence) Temple is completed at the Longmen (Dragon Gate) Cave in Henan Province.
- Poet Lu Zhaolin dies. With Luo Binwang, Wang Bo, and Yang Jiong, he is considered one of the “Four Talents” of the early Tang period.
- Construction begins on Qianling Tomb (the mausoleum of Emperor Li Zhi) in Qianxian County, Shared Province.
- Poet Chen Ziang dies. With poems such as “Deng Youzhoutai ge” (Upon the Yuzhou Terrace) he initiated a new trend in Chinese literature.
- Zhang Haiquan writes Shuduan (Analysis of Calligraphy), which describes the artistic features and evolution often calligraphic styles.
- The Great Wild Goose Pagoda is built at Cien Temple in Chang’an.
- Duan Shanben, master of the lute, is well known throughout China.
- Poet Du Shenyan dies. With Li Qiao, Su Weidao, and Cui Rong he was one of the palace literati of the early Tang dynasty known as the “Four Friends of Literary Works.”
- The Japanese book Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) is written partly in Chinese script and partly in Chinese characters used phonetically to represent Japanese syllables.
- During his reign, Tang emperor Xuanzong, musician and patron of the arts, reorganizes multinational music and composes “Nishang Yuyi” (Rainbow and Feather Dress).
- Japanese monk Kibi-no-Mabi spends seventeen years at Chang’an, the capital of the Tang dynasty. He then takes back to Japan the Chinese art of embroidery, the biwa (four-stringed lute), and the game of go (Chinese chess). He invents kana, which employs simplified Chinese characters for phonetic purposes.
- Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan) is the first Japanese book written in pure Chinese characters.
- The Tianchang Daoist Temple is built in Youzhou (present-day Beijing). During the early Ming dynasty (1368-1644) it is renamed Baiyun Guan (Temple of White Clouds).
- Zhang Jiuling dies. A great politician of the early Tang dynasty and a successful prime minister, he was also an important poet.
- Painter Zhang Xuan dies. He was one of the artists known for their portraits of “Court Ladies on Silk.”
- Poet Wang Zhihuan, known for his frontier poems, dies.
- Kaifuso (Fond Recollections of Poetry) collects 120 Japanese poems written in Chinese language and literary forms over the past seventy-five years.
- Yang Yuhuan, dancer and consort of Tang emperor Xuanzong, is killed during the An Lushan revolt.
- Wu Daozi, an influential court artist known as the “Saint Painter,” dies. His hundreds of works contributed to the development of genre and landscape painting.
- The Golden Hall of the Toshodaiji in Japan is founded by the Chinese monk Ganjin(Jianzhen in Chinese).
- Poet and artist Wang Wei dies. He is known as the father of the Southern School and of monochrome landscape painting in ink.
- Li Bai, one of the greatest poets in Chinese history, dies.
- Du Fu, the “Sage of Poetry,” dies.
- One of the two Tang temples still extant, Nanchan (Temple of the Southern Chan), is built on Wutaishan (Mountain of Five Terraces) in Shanxi Province.
- Monk and calligrapher Huai Su dies. He earned the nickname “Crazy Su” because of his “cursive script.”
- Yan Zhenqing dies. One of the four Tang-dynasty masters of calligraphy, he invented the “Yan style” of calligraphy.
- Painter Zhou Fang, best known for his paintings of “Court Ladies on Silk,” dies.
- Japanese monk Saicho returns to Nara, Japan, after studying in China.
- The monk Kukai leaves China, where he has been studying, to return to Nara, Japan.
- Essayist Liu Zongyuan dies. With Han Yu, he has been a leader of a prose movement exalting Confucianism.
- Poet and essayist Han Yu dies. He and Liu Zongyuan led the Confucian prose movement.
- Japanese official Tenyuan Zhenmin arrives in China, where he studies lute playing for several years.
- Ennin, a monk of Nara, visits China as a member of the last official Japanese embassy to the Tang dynasty.
- Poet Yuan Zhen, author of “The Story of Yingying (Little Oriole),” dies.
- Bai Juyi—government official, musician, music critic, and poet—dies. He created Xinyuefu (New Music Bureau Ballads), which became popular in Korea and Japan as well. Japanese emperor Saga has had Bai Juyi’s works stored in the Imperial Secretariat.
- Zhang Yanyuan writes Records of Famous Paintings of All the Dynasties, the first comprehensive history of Chinese paintings.
- An Arabic work, The Story of China and India, informs the Muslim world about Chinese pottery.
- Japanese monk Enchin takes works of Chinese literature and art back to Nara, Japan.
- Li Shangyin, author of poems characterized by sensitivity and sorrow, dies.
- Liu Gongquan dies. One of the four Tang-dynasty masters of calligraphy, he invented the “Liu Style” of calligraphy.
- Poet Wen Tingyun dies. His lyrics, along with those of Wei Zhuang and Li Yu, mark the maturation of Chinese lyric poetry.
- The Minghui dashita (Pagoda of Master Minghui) is built at the Haihuiyuan (Academy of Ocean Meeting) in Pingshun County, Shanxi Province.
- Southern China is broken into the Ten Kingdoms: Wu (902-937), Southern Tang (937-975), Former Shu (907-925), Later Shu (935-965), Southern Han (917-971), Chu(927-951), Wu-Yue (907-978), Min (909-945), Nanping/Jingnan (924-963), and Northern Han (951-979).
- A Chinese scholar of Japan compiles the Kokinshu (Ancient and Modern Collection), an anthology of Japanese poems.
- Northern China is ruled by the Five Dynasties: Later Liang (907-923), Later Tang (923-936), Later Jin (936-946), Later Han (947-950), and Later Zhou (951-960).
- The Song dynasty rules Northern China, with the Liao empire of the Khitans (Qidans)on its northern border.
- Painter Dong Yuan dies. With Jing Hao, Guan Tong, and Ju Ran, he is called one of the“Four Masters of Landscape Painting.”
- Li Cheng, an influential landscape painter, dies.
- The Foxiangge (Pavilion of Buddha Fragrance) is built at the Longxingshi (Temple of Prosperity) in Zhengding County, Hebei Province. It houses a twenty-four-meter-high bronze statue of Avalokitesvara, or Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy).
- Li Yu, the last emperor of the Southern Tang, dies. He was also a poet who wrote lyrics for such well-known tunes as “Yumeiren” (The Beautiful Lady Yu), “Pozhenzi” (Dance of the Cavalry), and “Langtaosha” (Ripples Sifting Sand).
- Painter Gu Hongzhong dies. He is best known for his painting Night Feast, which realistically depicts various palace figures.
- Guanyin Hall is built at the Duleshi (Temple of Lonely Happiness) in Jixian County, Hebei Province. The three-story hall features an open center to accommodate a tall Buddha.
- The Niujie libaisi (Mosque of Ox Street) is built in Beijing.
- Guo Xi’s Linquan gaozhi (A Father’s Instructions), a classical book on landscape painting, is compiled and edited by his son Guo Si.
- The Tiankuangdian (Hall of Godsend) is built at the Daimiao (Temple of Eastern Sacred Mountain) at the foot of Mount Tai in Shandong Province.
- The Ashab Mosque is constructed at Quanzhou in Fujian Province.
- Izumi Shikibu, a female writer of Heian, Japan, dies. She is the author of Honcho Monzui (Chinese Prose Written by a Japanese).
- Shengmudian (Goddess Hall) is built at the Jinci (Jin Temple) in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. The hall contains statues of forty-three female servants; the statues are considered the best works of Song-dynasty sculpture.
- Fan Kuan, an influential landscape painter, dies.
- Su Shunqin, an influential poet who created a new poetic style, dies. He and Mei Yaochen were called “Su-Mei” by contemporaries.
- The Pagoda of Sakyamuni, the oldest extant wooden pagoda in China and one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, is erected in the Fogongshi (Temple of the Buddhist Palace) in Ying County, Shanxi Province.
- The innovative poet Mei Yaochen dies. He and poet Su Shunqin were called “Su-Mei” by contemporaries.
- Cai Xiang, one of the “Four Master Calligraphers of the Song Dynasty,” dies.
- Poet, essayist, and literary reformer Ouyang Xiu dies.
- Empress Yide dies. She wrote Huixinyuan (The Court for the Returning Heart), which contains some of the best-known Liao-dynasty poems.
- Wen Tong dies. He belonged to the Song-dynasty School of Literati Painters.
- Poet-politician Wang Anshi dies. He served the Song dynasty as a reformist prime minister.
- Jueshanshi (Temple of Enlightenment Hill) is built in Lingqiuxian (Soul Hill County), Shanxi Province.
- Musician Zhu Changwen dies. His Qinshi (The History of Zither), the earliest book on the subject, is later published by his grandnephew Zhu Zhengda.
- A typical Song-dynasty landlord or merchant tomb is completed at Baisha (White Sand)in Yu County, Henan Province.
- Chen Yang, a composer of palace-feast music, dies. He compiled the Yueshu (Music Dictionary), the first Chinese encyclopedia of music.
- Guo Mian, a great composer of the Song dynasty, founds the School of Two Zhes.
- Zhang Zeduan paints Qingming Festival on the River, a major contribution to the development of genre painting.
- Li Di is the most important flower and bird painter of the Song dynasty.
- Han Tuozhou builds his private Southern Garden in Linan (present-day Hangzhou).
- Han Shizong builds his private garden on Plum Blossom Ridge in Linan.
- Painter, poet, calligrapher, lyricist, essayist, and theorist Su Shi dies. His writings represent the greatest achievement of the neoclassical movement in Song-dynasty literature.
- The Shengmudian (Goddess Hall) at the Jinci (Jin Temple) in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, is restored.
- Huang Tingjian dies. He was the founder of the Jiangxi School, and—along with Su Shi, Cai Xiang, and Mi Fei—he is known as one of the “Four Master Calligraphers of the Song Dynasty.”
- Artist Li Gonglin, developer of traditional Chinese line-drawing technique, dies.
- Painter, calligrapher, and connoisseur Mi Fei, one of the “Four Master Calligraphers of the Song Dynasty,” dies. His paintings and those of his son Mi Youren are known collectively as “The Landscapes of the Mi Family.”
- Xuanhe yinpu (Xuanhe Guide to the Seal), the first systematic record of engraved seals in Chinese history, is published.
- The Southern Song dynasty rules southern China, with the Jin empire of the Jurchens (Ruzhens) in northern China.
- Song emperor Huizong Zhao Ji, art collector and a notable painter of flowers and birds, dies.
- The Huayanshi (Grand Hall of the Temple of Chinese Rigorousness), the largest building in the ancient style of single-eave architecture, is constructed in Datong, Shanxi Province.
- Li Tang dies. With Ma Yuan, Liu Songnian, and Xia Gui, he is known as one of the “Four Master Painters” of the Southern Song Dynasty.
- Li Qingzhao, the great female lyricist of the Song dynasty, dies. She is considered the successor to Su Shi and the predecessor of Xin Qiji.
- Playwright Dong Jieyuan writes Xixiangji zhugongdiao (The Western Chamber— Multiple Palace Tunes).
- Eisai, a Heian monk, returns to Japan with tea from China.
- Poet Fan Chengda dies. Along with Yang Wanli, Lu You, and You Mao, he is known as one of the “Four Masters of Restoration.”
- Musician Cai Yuanding dies. His works include Lulu xinshu (The New Classic Temperament) and Yanyueshu (Classic Palace Feast Music).
- Monk Fa Chang is the most important Song-dynasty painter of flowers and birds. The Japanese call him the “Great Benefactor of Painting.”
- Poet Yang Wanli, advocate of the style of Chengzhaiti (Honest Study) and one of the “Four Masters of Resurgence,” dies.
- Nationalist poet Xin Qiji dies.
- Poet and patriotic writer Lu You, one of the “Four Masters of Resurgence,” dies.
- Poet and musician Jiang Kui dies. Considered one of the greatest musicians in all Chinese history, he published the four-volume Baishi daoren shiji (Songs of the White Stone Daoist), a collection of ancient and Song-dynasty songs.
- The Kamakura monk Dogen arrives in China and later takes works of Chinese art and literature back to Japan.
- The Yonglegong (Palace of Perpetual Happiness), a Daoist temple, is built in memory of Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Daoist Immortals, at Lu Dongbin’s reputed birthplace, Yongle Town, in Yongji County, Shanxi Province.
- Yelü Chucai, one of the best-known poets of the invading Mongol empire, dies.
- The carved-lacquer technique is invented.
- Poet and critic Yuan Haowen dies. He compiled Zhongzhouji (The Collection of the Central Plains), an anthology of works by 240 Jin-dynasty poets. Yuan’s literary criticism and poems are considered the most important literary legacy of the Jin dynasty in northern China.
- The pipe organ reaches China from the West via Central Asia.
- The Grand Capital of Dadu (present-day Beijing) is built. It is reconstructed and enlarged after 1403.
- The Miaoyingshi (Temple of Wonderful Response), a lamasery, is erected in the Grand Capital of Dadu. It includes the White Pagoda, the most important example of Lamaist architecture of China and the earliest intact pagoda in China.
- The Tomb of Puhading, constructed for a sixteenth-generation descendant of Mohammed, is built in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province.
- The Xianhesi (Mosque of the White Crane) is erected in Yangzhou.
- The Mongol Yuan dynasty rules China.
- Nationalist poet Wen Tianxiang, who was loyal to the Song dynasty and taken prisoner by the Yuan, dies.
- The great playwright Guan Hanqing dies. With Wang Shifu, Ma Zhiyuan, and Ji Junxiang, he is considered one of the “Four Masters” of Variety Plays of the Yuan dynasty.
- The Confucian Temple in Dadu (present-day Beijing) is built.
- Poet Deng Mu dies. With Qiu Yuan, Dai Biaoyuan, and Zhao Mengfu, he is considered one of the “Four Masters” of Yuan-dynasty poets.
- Gao Kegong, an influential religious painter of the Yuan dynasty, dies.
- Artist Li Gan dies. Along with Zhao Mengfu, Ke Jiusi, and Wang Mian, he is called one of the “Four Gentlemen” painters of the Yuan dynasty.
- Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province is established as a major center for the production of high-quality ceramics.
- Painter, calligrapher, and poet Zhao Mengfu dies. He is known as one of the “Four Gentlemen” painters and one of the “Four Masters” of poetry of the Yuan dynasty.
- Shuishenmiao (Temple of the River God), an important example of Yuan religious architecture, is built in Hongdongxian, Shanxi Province.
- Musician Zhou Deqing publishes Zhongyuan yinyun (Musicology of the Central Plain).
- Daoist murals are painted in the Yonglegong (Palace of Perpetual Happiness), Yongji County, Shanxi Province.
- Wu Qiuyan publishes the first scholarly work on the occult, Learning from the Ancients.
- Tian Ru, a Buddhist abbot, builds the Shizilin (Garden of Lion Grove) in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.
- Shi Naian compiles Water Margins, one of the great novels of imperial China.
- Artist Huang Gongwang dies. With Wang Meng, Ni Zan, and Wu Zhen, he is considered one of the “Four Masters” of Yuan-dynasty painting.
- The Mosque of Dongsi is built in Beijing. It is renovated in 1447.
- The Ming dynasty rules China.
- Playwright Gao Zecheng (Gao Ming) dies. He wrote Pipaji (The Story of the Lute, or The Lute Song), which marked the maturity of southern drama.
- Construction of the capital city of Nanjing, including the imperial palace, is completed.
- The Xiaoling (Mausoleum of Emperor Taizu) is constructed in Nanjing.
- A mosque is built in the Huajuexiang (Lane of Conversion and Enlightenment) in Xian, Shanxi Province.
- Luo Guanzhong, author of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the great novels of imperial China, dies.
- The Gugong (Forbidden City), the residence of Ming emperors, is built in Beijing.
- The Three Great Halls of the Gugong are destroyed by fire. They are rebuilt in 1615.
- The largest Ming imperial tomb, the Changling (Long Tomb) of Emperor Chengzu, is built in Beijing.
- Prince Zhu Quan, a musician, selects zither compositions for and sponsors the publication of Shenqi mipu (Secret Scores of Mystery and Wonder).
- Dai Jin dies. He and Wu Wei were important artists in the Zhi School of painting.
- The Vajrasana (Diamond Throne) Pagodas, a cluster of five pagodas, and the Da zhengjueshi (Temple of True Awakening) are built in Beijing.
- The long stories Fengshen yanyi (The History of Granting God Titles) and Xingshi yinyuanzhuan (Shocking Love Legends) are written.
- A literary revival is launched by the “Former Seven Youths,” including Li Mengyang and He Jingming (1483-1521), and the “Four Geniuses of the Middle Wu,” including Tang Yan and Zhu Yunming. These groups are challenged by the orthodox “Tang-Song School,” including Gui Youguang, which is countered by the “Latter Seven Youths,”including Li Panlong and Wang Shizhen.
- Wang Xianchen, a censor at the imperial court, is dismissed from office and returns to his hometown, Suzhou, where he builds a garden that he calls the Zhuozhengyuan (Humble Administrator’s Garden).
- Painter and calligrapher Shen Zhou dies. He and Wen Zhengming, Tang Yin, and Lan Ying are known as the “Wu School” of Ming-dynasty painters.
- The Feihongta (Pagoda of the Flying Rainbow) is built at the Guangsheng Shangshi (Upper Temple of Wide Victory) in Hongdong County, Shanxi Province.
- Having been destroyed by fire in 1514, the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility are rebuilt in the Forbidden City of Beijing.
- The Liuyuan (Lingering Garden) is built in Suzhou. It is later restored in the Qing dynasty.
- Calligrapher and poet Zhu Yunming dies. Called one of the “Four Geniuses of the Middle Wu,” he helped to launch a revival in poetry.
- The Altar of the Earth, the Altar of the Sun, and the Altar of the Moon are constructed on the outskirts of Beijing. The Temple of Agriculture in the Forbidden City is rebuilt.
- The Altar of Heaven and Earth in Beijing is turned into the Temple of Heaven, and its main hall is rebuilt and renamed the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.
- Calligrapher Wen Zhenming dies. He is the ancestor of several prominent Ming artists.
- Pan Yunduan, a retired official, builds Yu Yuan, a private garden in Shanghai. Its rockery is created by Zhang Nanyang.
- Wen Peng dies. He founded the “School of Wu,” the first school of seal art.
- Novelist Wu Chengen dies. He is the author of The Journey to the West, one of the great novels of imperial China.
- Construction begins on the mausoleum of Emperor Wanli in Changping, Beijing.
- An important contributor to the development of Kunshan tunes, or Kun melodies, the singer Liang Chenyu dies.
- The erotic Gold Vase Plum, one of the great novels of imperial China, is written by the pseudonymous “Scoffing Scholar of Lanling.”
- Influenced by Western painting styles, Zeng Jing reforms traditional Chinese painting technique with his Pochenpai (School of Barbarian Officials).
- The influential philosopher Li Zhi dies. In his Fenshu (Books to Be Burned) he was the first Chinese scholar to challenge traditional values, and he developed prose forms that began the transformation of conventional Chinese literature into modern writing.
- Influential seal artist He Zheng dies.
- Playwright Shen Jing dies. The leader of the School of Wujiang, he challenged the dramatic style of Tang Xianzu.
- Yuan Hongdao, essayist and founder of the “School of Gongan,” dies.
- Musicologist Zhu Zaiyu dies. He published Yuelii quanshu (The Complete Work on Temperament) and Yayue wupu (The Dance Scores of Palace Feast Music).
- The great Ming-dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu dies.
- Essayist Zhong Xing dies.
- Da Qinjingjiao liuxing Zhongguobei (The Popular Chinese Melodies of Nestorianism of the Great Qin) are discovered near Xian.
- Musician Yan Cheng dies. Founder of the School of Yushan, he composed Songxuan guanqinpu (Scores of Pine String and Studying Zither).
- Ji Cheng’s Yuanye (Garden Enterprise) is published.
- Painter and calligrapher Dong Qichang dies. He wrote the influential theoretical work The Objective of Painting.
- Novelist Ling Mengchu dies.
* Denotes Circa Date
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