Over the years, the Chinese art has proved to be intriguing and thought-provoking. The various artworks beg for a walk down their history to acquire in-depth understanding of their meaning. This essay analyzes the samples of the Chinese masterpieces, which can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The paper provides the analysis of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the figure of the boy riding a buffalo and that of a Chinese man holding a globe. The essay pays attention to the art history and its meaning basing on Natasha Heller and her article Bodhisattva Cults in Chinese Buddhism, Jacques Thuillier’s book, History of Art, and Jennifer Purtle’s article Ways of Perceiving Late Imperial Chinese Art.
Heller, Natasha. Bodhisattva Cults in Chinese Buddhism.
In Bodhisattva Cults in Chinese Buddhism, Natasha Heller writes about the Buddhist beliefs and discusses the role of bodhisattvas in the practice of this philosophy. The author explains that Buddhism consists of various traditions and points out the critical role of these people in the Mahayana tradition. Heller considers bodhisattvas as wise and powerful beings. She writes about the great power possessed by bodhisattvas and explains their role as both the audience and facilitators. She quotes devotional materials directed to these supreme beings and outlines the four popularly worshiped bodhisattvas in China. In her work, Heller describes the bodhisattvas in detail and shows that Avalokiteshvara-Guanyin is the most popular of all. Taking into consideration a wide discussion on Buddhism cults during the 6th century, Heller’s work will be useful to this paper because it brings out the rich artistic culture of China.
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Purtle, Jennifer. Ways of Perceiving Late Imperial Chinese Art.
In the article Ways of Perceiving Late Imperial Chinese Art, Jennifer Purtle writes about the use of one’s senses and perception to understand Chinese pieces of art. The author reviews three books and identifies the intellectual effect, as well as the responses that individuals experience after interacting with Chinese artwork. Purtle explains that people have diverse impressions after observing these masterpieces and thus there appear various meanings of the artwork, despite the information provided by the museums. She views the deductions made by different people as an expression of cultural ideas that inform about various theologies and perspectives of life. Purtle also analyzes the cultural relationship between Chinese and Western art. She explores the line of thought represented by the figure of a Chinese man holding a globe. The author brings out the symbolism of civilization and globalization expressed by the globe, as well as its existence and influence on the East, showed by the Chinese man. Jennifer Purtle’s work is important to this paper because it provides a different view on the ancient art that makes it relevant to this era.
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Thuillier, Jacques. History of Art.
In the book History of Art, Jacques Thuillier explores the in-depth meaning of the figure of the boy riding a buffalo. The author explains that it does not simply depict the common Eastern art but an underlying pursuit of enlightenment. Thuillier explains that young men and women chose to seek progressive ideas by traveling to far off regions. He puts the artwork in the context of the actual scenery and provides a complex explanation of it. Such symbolic interpretation lies in the challenge of using enough skills to mount and ride a buffalo. Thuillier also alludes to the fact that mastery of knowledge provides such tranquility that one can play the flute while riding a buffalo without fear of the danger it poses. Thuillier’s work adds value to this paper because it brings into context the message portrayed in this piece of art.
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