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Yeah, if forced to pick either Islamic or NE Asian art for the rest of my life, I'd definitely pick Islamic. (But I'd take the Old Testament over all of Islamic arts and letters.) Here's an interesting Chinese building. But, I think we West Eurasians are genetically tuned into our own thing, and they into theirs. Chinese visual art has far too many different bright colors, with no dull colors for relief, for West Eurasian eyes. They also use way more non-representational intricacy in 2-d, which we know primarily from the arabesques of Muslims debarred from depicting people and animals - but theirs is less geometrical. I think these different propensities are substantially biological. If you started both civilizations over, it's hard to imagine the Chinese making the Sistene Chapel, Koln Cathedral, or Church on the Spilled Blood, and the Western Old World making Chinese things, or inventing Zen. Nah, they would make about the same things all over again.Sadly, a fair amount of stuff was destroyed by Mao. At least one really artistically important old temple was saved just because one of his pals liked it. The same happened in USSR. One of the great buildings was secretly drawn by a churchman just before its destruction, and so re-built later. The Church on the Spilled Blood was damaged, I think, and it was definitely used to store potatoes. Architectural Stalinism, such as Moscow State U, was the best postwar architectural movement in the world, but that's not saying much.
Yes, it is true, Chinese have one model and they make thousands of exact copies of it. All the old bridges are of the same design all over China. I was taken to see the original, built some 900 years ago, and it was solid and used even today but I did not find anything special about it. There are thousand like it all over China. It is reasonable that a good model should be copied, but copying for 900 years without ever improving or without any personal touch is not the Western temperament.
It's impossible to say which art is greater. The best Chinese porcelain is wonderful too.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sultan/images/china_yingyangdish_l.jpgChinese culture has a different concept of copying than Western - the concept of "IP" was never a part of their culture. The individual is not that important so it's not important whose idea something was or if he was "original". Maybe the Chinese put too little stock into this -maybe we put too much.K
Zhou Enlai was able to protect some of the most significant treasures from the Red Guards - the Potala Palace, the Forbidden City, etc. The Forbidden City was closed and sealed off from 1966 to 1971.The Chinese were not as sealed off from Western culture as you might think. There have been Roman coins found in Chinese tombs of the Roman era. The Romans were wild for Chinese silk and later Europeans craved Chinese porcelain. The Turkish tiles you show themselves are influenced by Chinese design. Conversely, the upper class Chinese loved certain Western goods - the Imperial court was just wild for Western clocks - there is a separate museum inside the Forbidden City dedicated just to them. At some point they even learned to copy the clocks and had them produced locally, not just the mechanism but the European styling as well. The Summer Palace (destroyed by Europeans in the 19th century as a "message" to the Chinese) was built mostly in European style.K
Here's six pages of architecture, some of it amazing and some of it a bore. Some of it might be Western influenced but I can't really tell.http://www.pakvisions.com/forum/buildings-architectures/11517-ancient-chinese-architecture.htmlOne more real nice one:http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2807835550100599642NMXcoi
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