The Qing Dynasty (1644–1911): Painting

See works of art
  • Landscape in the Style of Huang Gongwang
    1980.426.2
  • The Sixteen Luohans
    1985.227.1
  • Landscapes Painted for Yuweng
    1989.363.131
  • Landscapes after Ancient Masters
    1989.141.4
  • Whiling Away the Summer
    1977.81
  • Landscapes and Trees
    1979.499
  • Ten Thousand Miles along the Yellow River
    2006.272a,b
  • Wooded Mountains at Dusk
    1989.363.129
  • The Palace of Nine Perfections
    1982.125
  • Returning Home
    1976.280
  • The Kangxi Emperors Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Three: Jinan to Mount Tai
    1979.5
  • Landscapes in the styles of old masters
    2007.50
  • Fish and Rocks
    1989.363.137
  • Emperor Guan
    2001.442
  • Wangchuan Villa
    1977.80
  • One Hundred Horses
    1991.134
  • Portrait of the Imperial Bodyguard Zhanyinbao
    1986.206
  • The Qianlong Emperors Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Six: Entering Suzhou along the Grand Canal
    1988.350

Works of Art (19)

Essay

In 1644, the Manchus, a semi-nomadic people from northeast of the Great Wall, conquered the crumbling Ming state and established their own Qing (or Pure) dynasty, which lasted nearly 300 years. During the first half of this period, the Manchus extended their rule over a vast empire that grew to encompass new territories in Central Asia, Tibet, and Siberia. The Manchus also established their hegemony over Chinese cultural traditions as an important means of demonstrating their legitimacy as Confucian-style rulers.

The brilliant reigns of the Kangxi (r. 1662–1722) and Qianlong (r. 1736–95) emperors display a period when the Manchus embraced Chinese cultural traditions and the court became a leading patron in the arts as China enjoyed an extended period of political stability and economic prosperity.

Three principal groups of artists were working during the Qing: the traditionalists, who sought to revitalize painting through the creative reinterpretation of past models; the individualists, who practiced a deeply personal form of art that often carried a strong message of political protest; and the courtiers, the officials, and the professional artists who served at the Manchu court.

Maxwell K. Hearn
Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2003

Citation

Hearn, Maxwell K. “The Qing Dynasty (1644–1911): Painting.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/qing_1/hd_qing_1.htm (October 2003)

Further Reading

Barnhart, Richard M., et al. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. New Haven and Beijing: Yale University Press and Foreign Languages Press, 1997.

Barnhart, Richard M., Wen C. Fong, and Maxwell K. Hearn. Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exhibition catalogue. Zürich: Museum Rietberg, 1996.

Cahill, James. Chinese Painting. Geneva: Skira, 1960.

Additional Essays by Maxwell K. Hearn

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