Resources Organized by Time Period: BCE 4000-1000



ALL | China | Japan | Korea | Vietnam/Southeast Asia | India/South Asia | Tibet/Himalaya | Asia General
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Ancient China: From the Neolithic Period to the Han Dynasty
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
"An historical overview of ancient China—from the Neolithic period (approx. 6,000–2000 BCE) to the end of the Han dynasty (220 CE)—this packet explores the rise of ancient Chinese civilization and how belief systems and cultural values are reflected in surviving examples of its material culture. The packet features important archaeological excavations such as the Tomb of Fu Hao, created in the Shang dynasty (approx. 1600–1050 BCE); the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, created in the Warring States period (approx. 480–221 BCE); and the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), created approx. 210 BCE. Other highlights include Chinese jades, bronzes, and ceramics in the Asian Art Museum’s collection galleries. The packet includes interactive activities for the classroom and student handouts." Please note that the .pdf version of this educator resource packet can be downloaded for free. The PayPal link next to the resource is for buying the packet in booklet form with an image CD and slides.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asianart.org/educatorresources.htm
 
Ancient Tombs
University of Washington, Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization
"This unit contains summaries of five archaeological sites, ranging in date from about 2300 BC to 100 BC. The tombs selected for examination were all advanced for their time. Their occupants were members of the ruling class of the period, able to afford the highest standard of material comfort, technical excellence, and artistic embellishment then available." A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization was prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey. With questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings. Select HOME to find link to teachers' guides for all topics featured on the website.

Go to Museum Resource: http://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/archae/2tommain.htm
 
The Art and Archeology of Ancient China: A Teacher's Guide
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
An illustrated 106-page teacher's guide that can be downloaded in .pdf format, in three parts. Go to middle of HTML page and select Part I, Part II, and Part III to download the guide. Includes historical background from China's Late Neolithic Period (BCE ca. 5000-2000) to the Han Dynasty (BCE 206-220 CE), plus a timeline, vocabulary list, pronunciation guide, four lesson plans, plus featured object studies on 1) Clothing and Personal Adornment (Silk and Jade); 2) Food Preparation and Utensils; 3) Transportation; 4) Ceremonies (Music); 5) Writing (Chinese Characters); 6) Industry (Bronze Casting); 7) Building. Also a special chapter on Ancestor Worship, then and today.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asia.si.edu/education/teacherResources/onlineGuidesChinese.htm
 
Chinese Bronzes (Shang and Chou)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
"Few works of art are as remote or alien to western eyes as ancient Chinese bronzes. Nevertheless these beautiful ritual vessels constituted the mainstream of Chinese art for nearly 1500 years. Spanning both the Shang (1523-1028 B.C.) and Chou dynasties (1027-256 B.C.), these ceremonial utensils, often of unsurpassed technical refinement and varied decor, define the very essence of early Chinese art." A short introduction to ancient Chinese bronzes, with 33 related objects, all with descriptions.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/explore/explore-collection-chinese-bronzes.c...
 
Classical Civilization: The Bronze Age (1600-221 B.C.E.)
National Palace Museum
A brief introduction plus one-page guide to cultural production during China's bronze age. With 12 related objects.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh95/bronze/index.html
 
Creating a Bronze Vessel
Princeton University Art Museum
An excellent interactive unit that illustrates, step by step, the ancient methods by which bronze vessels were cast.

Go to Museum Resource: http://etcweb.princeton.edu/asianart/interactives/bronze/bronze.html
 
Jiahu (ca. 7000–5700 B.C.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief discussion of the archaeological site of Jiahu, in Henan province, where fragments of 30 flutes were discovered. Six of these flutes represent the earliest examples of playable musical instruments ever found.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/jiah/hd_jiah.htm
 
The Magic of Kneaded Clay: A History of Chinese Ceramics
National Palace Museum
"This exhibition illustrates a history of development in Chinese ceramics based on the collection of the National Palace Museum. From the perspective of various glaze colors, it is possible to see how glazes evolved at different kilns and periods as well as how official models of decoration formed over time. The exhibition is divided into five sections: 'Pottery and Porcelain,' 'Neolithic Age to the Five Dynasties,' 'Song to Yuan Dynasties,' 'Ming Dynasty, and 'Qing Dynasty.'"

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh99/ceramics/
 
The Mystery of Bronzes
National Palace Museum
Online presentation of an exhibition about the metal smelting and bronze casting technologies developed during the Shang and Chou (Zhou) dynasties. The EXPLORATION AND DISCOVERY section has a series of still images of interactive kiosks featured in the original exhibition, with general information about mining, smelting, and casting.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh95/mbronzes/
 
The Neolithic Age: The Beginning of Civilization (pre-1600 B.C.E.)
National Palace Museum
A brief introduction plus one-page guide to cultural production during China's neolithic age. With 4 related objects (three jade and one pottery).

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh95/begin/
 
Neolithic Era, 3000-1500 B.C.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
"The earliest known Chinese Stone Age culture was the relatively sophisticated Yang-shao, whose people lived in rudimentary settlements and hunted for game with carved stone spears." A brief, one-paragraph overview, along with a map, a video clip featuring an MIA curator, and 15 objects representative of the period.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/history/dynasty-neolithic.cfm
 
Neolithic Period in China
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief discussion of the material culture of China's neolithic period (ca. BCE 10,000-2000), specifically painted pottery and jade carvings. WIth 3 related artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cneo/hd_cneo.htm
 
Neolithic Period, ca. 8000–ca. 2000 B.C.
Princeton University Art Museum
A detailed introduction to Neolithic China. Discusses the Yangshao (ca. 4800-ca. 3000 B.C.), Majiayao (ca. 3800-ca. 2000 B.C.), Dawenkou (ca. 4300-ca. 2400 B.C.), Qijia (ca. 2200-ca. 1800 B.C.), and Longshan (ca. 2600-ca. 2000 B.C.) cultures. With a map and two representative objects, both with lengthy descriptions.

Go to Museum Resource: http://etcweb.princeton.edu/asianart/timeperiod_china.jsp?ctry=China&pd=Neolith...
 
Rituals Cast in Brilliance: Chinese Bronzes through the Ages
National Palace Museum
An in-depth look at Chinese bronzes. Topics include: 1) Ritual Objects from Shang Dynasty; 2) Clan Vessels and Weaponry during Shang and Zhou; 3) Ritual Objects from Zhou Dynasty; 4) Bronze Inscriptions from Western Zhou to the Spring and Autumn Period; 5) Ritual Vessels, Weapons, and Others during Eastern Zhou; 6) Bronzes from the Spring and Autumn to the Warring States Period; 7) Bronzes from Qin to Han; 8) Bronzes in the Frontier Style.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh99/bronzes/index.html
 
Shang and Zhou Dynasties: The Bronze Age of China
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A discussion of material culture during China's Bronze Age, which began around BCE 2000. Bronze production is discussed at length, along with jade carving. With 9 related artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/shzh/hd_shzh.htm
 
Shang, 1523-1028 B.C.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
"Their cast-bronze weapons gave Shang kings military might." A brief, one-paragraph overview, along with a map, a video clip featuring an MIA curator, and 17 objects representative of the period.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/history/dynasty-shang.cfm
 
Shang/Zhou dynasty, ca. 1600–256 B.C.
Princeton University Art Museum
A detailed introduction to Shang and Zhou China. With a map and four representative objects, all with lengthy descriptions and two with a 360-degree rotate view.

Go to Museum Resource: http://etcweb.princeton.edu/asianart/timeperiod_china.jsp?ctry=China&pd=Shang%7...
 
Teaching The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology
National Gallery of Art
Teaching materials developed in conjunction with the exhibition The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from The People's Republic of China. Organized into four sections, each with images and descriptions of 4 to 6 related objects: 1) Late Prehistoric China (archaeology, jade, pottery); 2) Bronze Age China (Fu Hao tomb excavations; Sanxingdui findings); 3) Chu and Other Cultures (Marquis Yi tomb excavations); 4) Early Imperial China (excavations at the tomb of the First Emperor). Also with pronunciation guide and glossary, chronology, list of additional resources, and list of teaching activities.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_splash.shtm
 
Timeline of Art History: China, 2000–1000 B.C.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"Metalworking, especially in bronze, develops throughout China." With a period overview, list of key events, and 3 related artworks. Also has links to additional information about the Shang dynasty (ca. BCE 1600-1050) and Western Zhou dynasty (ca. BCE 1046-771), an abridged list of Chinese emperors, and timelines of Japan and Korea during this time.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=03®ion=eac
 
Timeline of Art History: China, 8000–2000 B.C.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"Evidence of pottery making appears during the Early Neolithic period with the rise of agriculture and sedentary living." With a period overview, list of key events, and 3 related artworks. Also has links to additional information about China's neolithic period (ca. BCE 10,000-2000), an abridged list of Chinese emperors, and timelines of Japan and Korea during this time.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=02®ion=eac
 
Treasures from a Lost Civilization: Ancient Chinese Art from Sichuan
Seattle Art Museum
Online presentation of a 2001 exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Select Sanxingdui, Zhou, or Han at the top of the page for information about each, including a gallery of related objects and "Things to Consider" for each topic.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/Exhibit/Archive/sichuan/default.htm
 
Treasures from a Lost Civilization: Ancient Chinese Art from Sichuan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online presentation of a 2002 exhibition that "presents the fascinating art and material culture of ancient Sichuan, in remote southwest China, uncovered by archaeology of the last 15 years. The 128 works of art on exhibit include monumental bronze images of deities, lively human figures, fantastic ritual vessels, exquisite jades, and spirited ceramic sculptures dating from the late phase of Sanxingdui culture (13th–11th century B.C.) to the Han dynasty (3rd century B.C.–3rd century A.D.). " With images of 10 related artifacts.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/special/se_event.asp?OccurrenceId={694886CB-280A-11D5-...
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