Art Hist Proposal Part II – Introduction

  1. What is Chinese Buddhism? Compare two sculptures and address the question of change in art and religion when Buddhism arrives in China. The images need to be from lecture or from the Asian Civilizations Museum.


Thesis: The proliferation of Buddhist art was largely brought about by extensive foreign trade. This ultimately, culminated ornate and ostentatious sculptures and art forms.




During the Tang dynasty, otherwise known as the golden age, China’s successful expansion through military and diplomatic campaigns created bountiful opportunities for maritime and overland trade, especially through the Silk Road, which allowed foreign exchange with Central Asia, India and Persia. The exchange of ideas and creativity manifested in Buddhism as well. Buddhist art was revitalized; it evolved and was heavily embellished in this era of opulence.


Before, sculptures often humbly adorned, held a peaceful expression or a pensive state. However, with the proliferation of trade, foreign influences such as India began to reshape the Buddhist culture and art. Shedding its classical form, sculptures began to take on a more lifelike expression, possessed beautiful and proportional forms and were extravagantly ornate.

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