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Article

Astana  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site of an ancient cemetery for Khocho, 40 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The burial ground, which contains over 400 tombs, covers a large area and is divided into three sections: a north-western group with the earliest graves, a north-eastern group consisting of later, commoners’ graves, and a later northern group intended for the nobility. A wooden document found at the site indicates that it was in use before ...

Article

Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered....

Article

Jenny F. So

Functional personal accessory used in China from the Eastern Zhou period (771–256 bc) to the 2nd century ad, after which elaborate forms evolved with a purely symbolic and decorative purpose. The typical Chinese belthook (also sometimes garment hooks), which was worn by both men and women, was made of ...

Article

Henrik H. Sørensen

County in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. The presence of Mt Song (also called Mt Xiaoshi, Mt Songyue or Mt Songgao) means that the county is primarily known as a centre of Buddhism. Mt Song was a Buddhist sanctuary as early as the Three Kingdoms period (...

Article

Dian  

Ho Chuimei

Ancient kingdom, listed by early chroniclers as one of several small tribal states in south-west China; it occupied the area around Lake Dian and Lake Er, south-west of modern Kunming in Yunnan Province. In 109 bc the Han (206 bcad 220) conquered Dian, reducing it to a vassal state of the empire. It is chiefly known for its extraordinary ...

Article

Dorothy C. Wang

Site of Buddhist cave sanctuaries located 25 km south-east of the county town of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. In the wider definition Dunhuang also includes the Yulin caves at Anxi and the Xi qianfo dong (Western Cave of the Thousand Buddhas). From the 4th century to the 14th, Buddhist cave sanctuaries were continuously carved out in four or five tiers on the cliff face of an alluvial hill that faces east over the Dang River. At its height as a Buddhist complex in the 8th century ...

Article

Molly Siuping Ho

Site in Henan Province, China, east of the city of Luoyang. A complex of five Buddhist caves, dating from the Northern Wei period (ad 386–534), is located on the south side of Mt Mang on the northern bank of the Yiluo River. The ground level along the river is higher than the ground level inside the caves by over a metre because of dirt accumulated from flooding. The construction of the caves, sponsored by the Northern Wei imperial family, took place between ...

Article

Mary S. Lawton

Wall stretching across northern China from Hebei Province in the north-east through Shanxi, Shaanxi and Ningxia provinces to Gansu Province in the west (see fig.). Running through inhospitable mountains and deserts, with numerous offshoots and parallel structures, it is one of the most spectacular feats of engineering in the history of the world. Although it was built primarily as a defence against the Central Asian nomads, it also provided a relatively efficient thoroughfare for the movement of troops, horses and supplies across difficult terrain. According to the traditional Chinese view, the wall also created a spiritual and physical barrier between the ‘superior’ and sedentary culture of China and the ‘inferior’ culture of its nomadic neighbours....

Article

Chinese, 4th century, male.

Born c. 345, in Wuxi (Jiangsu); died c. 406.

Painter.

The period of the Six Dynasties marks the beginning of the history of Chinese painting. Following the archaic periods of traditional and anonymous works, painting now becomes an activity of people, often from the intellectual and social elite. At this time, too, the first works on the theory and criticism of painting appear. Gu Kaizhi is the first Chinese painter whose name remains attached to an authentically traditional work and about whom there is quite detailed biographical information....

Article

Hadda  

E. Errington

Site of numerous Buddhist monasteries, 8 km south-west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It flourished from the 1st century bc to the 8th century ad. The ancient site, known as Hilo to Chinese pilgrims of the 5th–8th century, is partially covered by a modern village. The earliest archaeological reports were compiled by ...

Article

Carol Michaelson

Chinese dynasty dating to 206 bcad 220. Following the fall of the Qin dynasty in 221 bc, there was civil war until Liu Bang, posthumously known as Gaodi (reg 206–195 bc), became the first Han emperor. The Han was one of the golden ages in China’s cultural history, during which the basic framework of Chinese civilization was established....

Article

Carol Michaelson

Chinese dynasty that succeeded the Wei (ad 220–65) at the end of the Three Kingdoms period. The Western Jin had a capital at Luoyang, Henan Province, while the Eastern Jin capital was at Jiankang (modern Nanjing), Jiangsu Province.

Sima Yan, later known as the emperor Wudi (...

Article

Jincun  

Bent Nielsen

Site in Henan Province, China, c. 115 km north-east of Luoyang. Eight tombs of the late Warring States period (403–221 bc) were discovered there. Lavishly furnished with objects of jade, glass, gold, silver, bronze and similar materials, the tombs were looted by local people from ...

Article

Chinese, 5th century, male.

Active in China at the end of the 5th century.

Painter.

Article

Roderick Whitfield

Chinese painter. According to his official biography in the Jin shu (‘History of the Jin dynasty’; compiled Tang period (ad 618–907)), he held office at the Eastern Jin (ad 317–420) court at Jiangkang (Nanjing). The biography also records the opinion of his contemporary Xie An that he was an artist unexcelled in all time. In the history of Chinese painting his name remains a byword as one of the foremost figure painters, whose style was influential throughout the centuries. Some extremely well-known themes are associated with him, while literary records, particularly Zhang Yanyuan’s ...

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ...

Article

Khotan  

M. Yaldiz

Oasis site of an independent kingdom in the first centuries ad, on the southern branch of the Silk Route, comprising the capital, Yotkan, and surrounding residential and temple districts. Between 1900 and 1901 Aurel Stein carried out systematic archaeological surveys, the results of which confirm extensively the historic references in Chinese sources from the Han (...

Article

Bonnie Abiko

Period in Japanese archaeological and cultural chronology, c. ad 300–710, also variously referred to as the Tomb, Tumulus or Yamato period (see Japan, §I, 2). The term kofun (‘old mound’) specifically describes élite burials of the period, which have a characteristic keyhole (...

Article

Kucha  

M. Yaldiz

Oasis town and surrounding region in the western part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. It was the most important oasis on the northern branch of the Silk Route from the point of view of the history of art, and one particularly subject to Western influence. Scholars first became aware of it at the beginning of the 20th century when ...

Article

Dai Kui  

Weihe Chen

Chinese sculptor, painter and philosopher. At an early age he studied with the famous Confucian scholar Fan Xuan, however, despite being influenced by Confucianism, he never took up an official position, instead he adopted a policy of withdrawing from society, admiring nature and advocating a simple way of life. He was a prolific author and developed the Confucian monastic tradition of ...