Style of the Six Dynasties


Venue:Exhibition hall at 2F of the Oriental Me

From the 3rd to 6th century, the six dynasties, namely, the Kingdom of Wu, Eastern Jin, Song, Qi, Liang, and Chen, made Nanjing their capital in succession. Nanjing thus became the political, economic, and cultural center in southern China. Since then, China’s history had turned a new chapter. The Six Dynasties period, in between the Han dynasty and the Tang dynasty, is a critical stage, in which the essence of the traditional culture of central plains got to further develop in a new geographical space and under new historical conditions. It also laid the foundation for a highly prosperous Tang dynasty later. Arts in the period of the Six Dynasties that came into being under this particular conditions broke the more than four hundred years of mind control of the Han dynasty, which was a result of the dynasty’s policy of respecting confucianism only. With a free-spirited and vivid style, arts in this period upheld facing life directly and respecting individuality. Mr. Zong Baihua, a philosopher in modern China, once said that the period of the Six Dynasties is “an era of great spiritual freedom, mind emancipation, wisdom, and passion” and “an era of the richest artistic spirit”. During this period, with the rise of metaphysics and Buddhism, people’s minds became unprecedentedly active. They respected nature and valued critical thinking, thus forming the transcendent and self-contented “Wei-Jin Style”. The desire for individuality led to the vigorous development of arts in this period. Calligraphy, painting, sculpture, literature, history, and philosophy all developed rapidly and made outstanding achievements during this period. Art creation in this period emphasized people’s aesthetic feeling. The aesthetic and artistic views of people then, with “vivid portrayal” and “lively spirit and charm” as the core, have been reflected not only in works of painting and calligraphy masters such as Gu Kaizhi and Wang Xizhi, but also in porcelain, pottery, stone inscriptions, and other unearthed cultural objects of this period. Art was no longer just a means for moral preaching and God worshiping, but a tool for people to express their feeling freely. Through persisted inquiring, artists discovered externally the beauty of natural landscape and internally the beauty of personality and temperament. This self-consciousness in individuality led to the self-consciousness in art and the “discovery of beauty”. It deeply impacted the art in the Six Dynasties and erected a palace of individual and unique art. The exhibition, relying on the various cultural objects of the Six Dynasties, allows visitors to feel the beauty of the fantastic works of art of the Six Dynasties.

Style of the Six Dynastie
A Strategically Situated
Royal Clothes Made of Nan
Influential Family in Jia