Chinese art has the oldest continuous tradition in the world, and is marked by an unusual degree of continuity of that tradition opposing to the equivalent in the West with Western collapse and gradual recovery of classical styles.
Apart from paintings, the tradition of ink wash painting, practiced mainly by scholar-officials and court painters especially of landscapes, flowers, and birds, developed according to the individual imagination of and observation by the artist in the same way as in the West, but long pre-dated their development there. After contacts with Western art became increasingly important from the 19th century onwards, in recent decades China has participated with increasing success in worldwide contemporary art. Chinese art is exceptionally wee-known in the area of ceramics. Much of the finest work was produced in large workshops or factories by essentially unknown artists, especially in the field of Chinese antique porcelain mostly created and exported to showcase the power and dominance of Chinese emperors.
Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development beginning in pre-dynastic periods, and is one of the most significant forms of Chinese art using Chinese antique porcelain. China is richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making ceramics. The first types of ceramics were made during the Palaeolithic era using Chinese antique porcelain. Chinese Ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court. Porcelain is so identified with China that it is still called “china” in everyday English usage. Ceramic creations using Chinese antique porcelain are considered to be artistic creations on their own.
Another material used in Chinese art for sculptures is Chinese Bronze. The Bronze Age in China began with the Xia Dynasty. Examples from this period have been recovered from ruins of the Erlitou culture, in Shanxi, and include complex but unadorned utilitarian Chinese bronze objects. During the next time period the Shang Dynasty more elaborate objects are created using Chinese Bronze, including many ritual vessels. The Shang dynasty is remembered for Chinese bronze casting sculptures, noted mainly for the detail work. Shang bronze-smiths usually worked in foundries outside the cities to make ritual vessels, and sometimes weapons and chariot fittings as well. The Chinese bronze vessels were receptacles for storing or serving various solids and liquids used in the performance of religious ceremonies. Some forms such as the ku and jue can be very graceful, but the most powerful pieces are the ding, sometimes described as having an “air of ferocious majesty.”The function and appearance of Chinese bronze changed gradually from the Shang to the Zhou when Chinese bronze objects shifted from been used in religious rites to more practical purposes. By the Warring States period, Chinese bronze vessels had become objects of aesthetic enjoyment. Some were decorated with social scenes, such as from a banquet or hunt; whilst others displayed abstract patterns inlaid with gold, silver, or precious and semiprecious stones.
One can find a wide selection of Chinese, Tibetan antique porcelains, bronze Buddha statues, textile robes, Ivory figures, wood and cinnabar statues, Antique porcelain, cloisonné, ivory and textile art pieces.