Chinese art Longest pedigree of any school in world art, its earliest artefacts (painted pottery) date back to the late Neolithic period. By the time of the Shang dynasty (c.1523–1030 bc), native craftsmen were proficient at casting bronze and making jade carvings, many of which have survived as grave goods. The most elaborate of these early tombs belonged to the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, Qin Shihuangdi (d.210 bc). It contains a fabulous Terracotta Army of c.7500 life-sized figures and horses. Painting and sculpture were established during the Han dynasty, though little survives. The T'ang dynasty (618–907) marked China's artistic zenith. Sculpture reached a peak of refinement, and there were early attempts at landscape painting. The Sung dynasty saw the introduction of the first true porcelain. Important technical advances, most notably in the application of coloured enamels, took place during the Ming period (1368–1644). Chinese porcelain became highly valuable in European markets, a trend which accelerated under the Qing dynasty. Communism created a rift in this long tradition, as artists adopted Soviet-inspired, socialist realism.
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