In ancient China, people began to observe and record the world around them. Maps and books were made to describe the Chinese perspective of the universe and to illustrate the interaction between Yin and Yang, describing the creation of everything in nature and expressing what became a universal and philosophical viewpoint in classical Chinese culture.
Artists created imaginative stories and rich symbols to explain the unfathomable aspects of the world. In art, spirit creatures such as the dragon and phoenix, the mysterious realms of immortals and winged deities residing in heavenly grottos became subject for representation. The buddhist teachings that were brought to China around the first century further enriched their view of the world.
To keep human society properly linked to the universe, a human agent was selected to assume the role of ‘Son of heaven’. Kings and emperors conducted rituals to worship the divinities of nature or ancestors, achieving harmonious relationships between the heavens, earth and people.
The ink sketching of everyday life along Bian* river was absolutely breathtaking! It was a rare opportunity to see some of the highest artistic achievements across 5000 years of Chinese history. It depicts the beautiful trinity of heaven, earth and humanity. The concept of tian ren he yi — unity or harmony between heaven, nature, and humanity. These don’t do justice but here are a handful of the photos I took. The exhibition ends today.
Some of these paintings, pottery and ink works still stay to date after a thousand plus years! Yet with all the modern technology and knowledge we have today, we cannot seem to build things that stand the test of time.