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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Room 10 | China 3000 BC-AD 800 gallery

Discover over 3000 years of Chinese history and culture through surviving artefacts, objects and texts.

China 3000 BC - AD 800 gallery

Writing

The main forms of text found in pre-imperial China are divination inscriptions on bone and shell from the Shang dynasty (around 1600-1050 BC). Later, during the Western Zhou period (around 1050-771 BC), documentary inscriptions appeared on bronze vessels.

The Warring States era (471-221 BC) saw the development of written poetry, philosophy and ritual instruction. Texts were written on bamboo and silk, and the forms of the characters varied.

During the Han dynasty (221 BC-AD 220) scripts were standardised and history writing and narrative poetry developed. By AD 400 expressively performed calligraphy developed into one of the earliest arts in China. It is still appreciated today for its aesthetic qualities.

Writing in the Shang Dynasty

Oracle bone (EAX.510) Oracle bone (EAX.510)   Oracle bone (EAX.512) Oracle bone (EAX.512)   Oracle bone (EAX.517) Oracle bone (EAX.517)
Oracle bone (EAX.509) Oracle bone (EAX.509)   Ritual wine vessel, or jue, with thunder-scroll pattern (EA1956.3515) Ritual wine vessel, or jue, with thunder-scroll pattern (EA1956.3515)   Scroll with transcriptions of Anyang writing (EA1970.81) Scroll with transcriptions of Anyang writing (EA1970.81)

Writing in the Western Zhou

Ritual food vessel, or gui, with inscription (EA1996.15) Ritual food vessel, or gui, with inscription (EA1996.15)   Catalogue of Bronzes of Taozhai (LI1069.9) Catalogue of Bronzes of Taozhai (LI1069.9)

Writing in the Eastern Zhou

Greenware water vessel, or he (EA1956.929) Greenware water vessel, or he (EA1956.929)   Imitation of an antique water vessel, or he (EAX.3816) Imitation of an antique water vessel, or he (EAX.3816)   Greenware ritual food vessel, or ding (EA1956.935) Greenware ritual food vessel, or ding (EA1956.935)
Greenware ritual food vessel, or ding (EA1956.529) Greenware ritual food vessel, or ding (EA1956.529)   Ritual bell, or bo zhong (EA1956.880) Ritual bell, or bo zhong (EA1956.880)   Ritual bell, or bo zhong, with interlace and two dragons (EA1956.885) Ritual bell, or bo zhong, with interlace and two dragons (EA1956.885)
Notice

Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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