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date: 03 April 2020

Qing dynasty [Ch’ing]locked

  • Carol Michaelson

Extract

[Ch’ing]

Last Chinese dynasty, founded by the Manchus, dating to 1644–1911. The Manchu emperors early became sinicized and patronized all forms of Chinese art and culture. Until the 19th century there was relative prosperity and peace under the Qing. Population and trade increased on an unprecedented scale, and expansion of territory made China the richest and largest state in the world. The reign periods of the Kangxi (1662–1722), Yongzheng (1723–1735) and Qianlong (1736–96) emperors represent the height of Qing cultural attainment. In 1683 Kangxi founded the zaobanchu, a department of public artworks within the palace. He also promoted regional crafts and encouraged the latest Western inventions. Qianlong was also a great patron and collector. As enlightened despots, the emperors won over many patriotic Chinese, particularly by means of publishing enterprises that stimulated intellectual life, and by holding special examinations. In art the emperors were essentially conservative, but many merchants in Yangzhou and elsewhere in the south were also great artistic patrons....

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