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Arts of Asia Six Dynasties
220 - 586

Six Dynasties MapThe wars, plagues, and political instability that characterize this lengthy period forced the Chinese to question traditional belief systems, especially Confucianism, and encouraged many to embrace Buddhism and Taoism. Despite the pervasive turmoil, the arts flourished and evolved. The invention of woodblock printing made it possible to teach the tenets of Buddhism to the masses. Poetry, painting, and sculpture, no longer associated with the state, became personal modes of expression. Even penmanship took an artistic turn, as calligraphers perfected increasingly picturesque styles.


Kuan Yin
Kuan Yin

Pair of Bodhisattva
Pair of Bodhisattva

Spirit Jar
Spirit Jar

Book of Sudhana (Ming-era Buddhist Sutra)
Book of Sudhana
(Ming-era Buddhist Sutra)

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts