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The only online ancient Art Resource directory of its kind!
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Ancient China by period:

Stone Age - 50,000-2,000 BC
Shang Dynasty - 1,766-1,122 BC

Chou Dynasty:
Western Chou - 1122-771 BC
Eastern Chou:
   Spring and Autumn - 771-481 BC
   Warring States - 481-221 BC
   Ch'in (Qin) Dynasty - 221-206 BC
   Han Dynasty - 206 BC-AD 220
   Three Kingdoms - 220-581 AD
   Sui Dynasty - 581-618 AD
   T'ang Dynasty - 618-907 AD
   Sung Dynasty - 960-1279 AD
   Mongols - 1279-1368 AD
   Ming Dynasty - 1368-1644 AD


Art of Ancient China

Prehistoric artwork such as painted pottery in Neolithic China can be traced back to the Yangshao culture and Longshan culture of the Yellow River valley. During China's Bronze Age, Chinese of the ancient Shang Dynasty and Zhou Dynasty produced multitudes of artistic bronze ware vessels for practical purposes, but also for religious ritual and geomancy. The earliest (surviving) Chinese paintings date to the Warring States period, mostly on the lacquerware items, while the earliest surviving paintings on silk date to the Han Dynasty.
One of ancient China's most famous artistic relics remains the Terracotta Army, an assembly of 8,099 individual and lifesize terracotta figures (such as infantry, horses with chariots and cavalry, archers, and military officers), buried in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the First Qin Emperor, in 210 BC. Chinese art arguably shows more continuity between ancient and modern periods than that of any other civilization, as even when foreign dynasties took the Imperial throne they did not impose new cultural or religious habits and were relatively quickly assimilated.

General Ancient China websites:

The British Museum
Timeline of Chinese Dynasties
The History of China - University of Maryland
List of Chinese Rulers (extensive!)

Explore the art of Ancient China at these sites:

History of Chinese Art
The Asian Art Museum
Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum


    Bodhisattva of Wisdom
Bodhisattva of Wisdom - Metropolitan Museum of Art



  Jar, Majiayao culture, Machang phase
Jar, Majiayao culture, Machang phase - Metropolitan Museum of Art



Ming dynasty Jar
Ming dynasty Jar - Metropolitan Museum of Art



     Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty
Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty - Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Art of Ancient Korea

The history of Korea stretches from Lower Paleolithic times to the present. The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 8000 BC, and the Neolithic period began before 6000 BC, followed by the Bronze Age around 2500 BC. According to the Samguk Yusa and other Korean medieval-era records, the Gojoseon (Old Josean) kingdom was said to be founded in 2333 BC, eventually stretching from the peninsula to much of Manchuria. By the 3rd century, it disintegrated into many successor states.
The earliest examples of Korean art consist of stoneage works dating from 3000 BC. These mainly consist of votive sculptures, although petroglyphs have also been recently rediscovered. Korean artists sometimes modified Chinese traditions with a native preference for simple elegance, purity of nature and spontaneity. This filtering of Chinese styles also influenced Japanese artistic traditions, due to cultural and geographical circumstances.

The major Korean Dynasties:

Silla Dynasty 57 BC - 935 AD
Goryeo / Koryeo Dynasty 918 - 1392 AD
Josean Dynasty 1392 - 1898 AD

Explore the art of Ancient Koread at these sites:

Ancient Art of Korea
Korean National Heritage Online
Museum of Asian Art
Museums, Exhibition Centers, Collections
National Museum of Korea
The Korean Art History Connection

   Maeby˘ng, Kory˘ dynasty
Maeby˘ng, Kory˘ dynasty - Metropolitan Museum of Art


Jar, Unified Silla Dynasty
Jar, Unified Silla Dynasty - The British Museum

Vessel, Bronze Age Vessel, Bronze Age - Cleveland Musuem of Art
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Ancient Japan

The earliest period of Japanese history, the Jomon period, lasted for thousands of years. It was during this time that people began to create pottery vessels and small figures. Pottery was decorated by pressing objects-often ropes-into clay and by carving into clay.

Art of Ancient Japan

Ancient Japanese Art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper, and a myriad of other types of works of art. It also has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present.

Jomon Period 1400 - 400 BC
Yayoi Period 400 BC - 250 AD
Kofun Period 250 - 538 AD
Asuka Period 538 - 710 AD
Nara Period 710 - 794 AD
Heian Period 794 - 1185 AD
Kamakura Period 1185 - 1333 AD
Murmachi Period 1336 - 1573 AD

Explore the art of Ancient Japan at these sites:

Japanese Art at LACMA
Japan Art History Resources
Arts of China Consortium
Japanese Architecture and Art (JAANUS)
Nara National Museum
The Virtual Museum of Japanese Arts
Japan Museums, Collections

Flame Style Vessel, Jomon
Flame Style Vessel - Cleveland Museum of Art


     Dotaku, late Yayoi
Dotaku, late Yayoi - Cleveland Museum of Art


     Seated Warrior, Kofun
Seated Warrior, Kofun - LACMA, California
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Ancient Cambodia

The history of Cambodian art stretches back centuries to ancient pottery, silk weaving, and stone carving. The height of Khmer art occurred during the Angkor period; much of the era's stone carving and architecture survives to the present. Royal Palace.
The civilization of the ancient Khmer in Cambodia is renowned for its extraordinary art and architecture of the sixth to the sixteenth centuries. Initially a collection of small kingdoms or city-states, Khmer society was increasingly consolidated over the course of the sixth century, when the earliest surviving works of sculpture were created. In the ninth century, Angkor emerged in the north as the capital of the unified kingdom of all "Kambuja," which gradually expanded into an empire encompassing much of present-day Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The three chief periods of Khmer civilization are defined in relation to this capital: pre-Angkor (before the 9th century), Angkor (9th-15th century), and post-Angkor (after the Thai invasion in 1431). The Khmer abandoned Angkor to the Thai in the fifteenth century and moved their capital south, near Phnom Penh, where they nonetheless preserved their cultural heritage.

Funan Period 68 - 550 AD
Chenla Period 550 - 802 AD
Khmer Empire 802 1431 AD

Explore the art of Ancient Cambodia at these sites:

The Sculptures of Ancient Cambodia
National Museum of Cambodia

Flared Lip Jar
Flared Lip Jar - Cambodia Museum


Jayavaraman VII
Jayavaraman VII - Cambodia Museum


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Other Ancient Asian Cultures:

Art of Ancient Viet Nam

Vietnamese art has a long and rich history, the earliest examples of which date back as far as the Stone Age around 8,000 BC. With the millennium of Chinese domination starting in the 2nd century BC, Vietnamese art undoubtedly absorbed many Chinese influences, which would continue even following independence from China in the 10th century AD.

Ancient Vietnam
Vietnam Timeline
Periods of Vietnam History

Art of Ancient Thailand

Thai history can be divided in a pre-Sukhothai and a post-Sukhothai period, the Sukhothai period being regarded as the first true Thai kingdom. Aside from the prehistoric age, the ancient art of Thailand is primarily religious in nature. Sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities have been unearthed in the region, dated from as early as the 4th or 5th century AD. Although they originated from India or Sri Lanka, Thailand's indigenous people like the Mons and Khmers also developed their own localized art styles as well, from the 7th century onward. The different types of styles were named after the concurrent occupying forces in the area, for example the Dvaravati, Khmer-Lopburi, Sukhothai and Ayutthayan kingdoms. Thai ancient art includes mural and manuscript painting, temple architecture, ceramics, coins and sculpture.

Explore the art of Ancient Thailand at these sites:

Thailand's World
Chaingmai National Museum
Thai History and Culture
Uncovering Ancient Thailand
Sukhothai / Sangkhalok Ceramics
Ban Chiang Project at UPenn

Art of the Near-Eastern Cultures:

Ancient Near East Art entwines an extensive chronological span with a huge geographical area, beginning from Turkey right up to the Indus Valley. The Ancient near East, Tigris-Euphrates River Valley, also known as the 'Fertile Crescent' or Mesopotamia (Land between the Rivers), mothered several of these civilizations. The Sumerians, with their earliest written and recorded past, seem one of the earliest civilizations to rule this region.

Sumeria 2300 - 2271 BC
Akkadian Empire 2270 - 2083 BC
Gutian Empire 2141 - 2050 BC
1st Babylonia Empire 1830 - 1500 BC
Hittite Empires 1586 - 1431 BC, 1360 - 1178 BC
Assyrian/3rd Babylonian Empire 1380 - 1180 BC
Neo-Hittite Empires 1179 - 912 BC
Neo Assyrian Empire 912 - 631 BC
Kings of Babylon 1155 - 620 BC
Neo-Babylonian Empire 626 - 539 BC
Achaemenid Empire 550 - 330 BC

Persian Empires:

Seleucid Empire 312 - 63 BC
Arsacid Empires 250 BC - 226 AD
Sassanid Empires 226 - 651 AD
Turco-Persian Rule 1037 - 1219 AD
Seljuk Empires 1219 - 1935 AD

Other Near-Eastern Cultures:

Luristan 1500 - 800 BC
Indus Valley/Mehrgarh 7000 - 3300 BC
Indus Valley/Harrapan 3300 - 1300 BC

Timeline of Ancient Near East
Exploring Ancient World Cultures

View Ancient Near Eastern Art at these sites:

Art of the Ancient Near East
Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Detroit Institute
Cuneiform Tablets and Seals
Metalwork, Ceramics of the Ancient Near East
Near-Eastern Antiquities at the Louvre
Persian Art Through the Centuries


Art of Ancient India

The history of India begins with the Indus Valley Civilization and the coming of the Aryans. The Indus civilization (or the Harappan civilization), which flourished during the Bronze Age, ca. 2500-2000 B.C., is ranked among the four widely known civilizations of the old world.

Here is a brief summary of the different empires affecting ancient Indian art:
Kushan Empire 60-240 B.C.
Gupta Empire 280-550
Harsha Empire 590-647
Pala Empire 750-1174
Chalukya Dynasty 543-753
Rashtrakuta 753-982
Western Chalukya Empire 973-1189 A.D.

Timeline of India
Indian History Sourcebook

Explore the Art of Ancient India at these sites:

Monuments of India
India's Ancient Art
Ancient Art of Mughal India
Incense Burner, Viet Nam
Incense Burner, Viet Nam - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Ceramic Dish, Hanoi, Viet Nam
Ceramic Dish, Hanoi, Viet Nam - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



Ceramic Plate, Sukothai

     Bronze Container, Thailand
Bronze Container, Thailand - Metropolitan Museum of Art


Reclining Mouflons, Indus Valley
Reclining Mouflons, Indus Valley - Metropolitan Museum of Art


Tetradrachm Seleucus I, Seleucid
Tetradrachm Seleucus I, Seleucid - Metropolitan Museum of Art


    Tops for Standard, Luristan
Tops for Standard, Luristan - Metropolitan Museum of Art


Model Boat with Figures, Cyprus
Model Boat with Figures, Cyprus - Musee du Louvre


Striding Lions, Mesopotamia
Striding Lions, Mesopotamia - Metropolitan Museum of Art


Fertility Goddess, Sunga, India
Fertility Goddess, Sunga, India - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Ganesha, Madhya Pradesh, India
Ganesha, Madhya Pradesh, India - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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