Politics And Art Has Been An Important Tool For The Chinese Rulers

Better Essays

Politics and art have always gone hand in hand in China. Be it the terracotta army of the first emperor of China (late 3rd BCE) or the propaganda posters during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), art has been an important tool for the Chinese rulers to pursue their political agendas to reach the common man.
The interaction between art and politics was perhaps at its peak during the Qing period (1644-1911). The Qianlong emperor (乾隆, r. 1735 – 1799) is considered to be the forerunner of the project of “militarization of culture” in China , making relentless efforts to establish a harmonious rule over various parts of China. The expansionist policies of Qianlong are well-known and he is said to have brought under his control not just the …show more content…

Qianlong 's focus on the combination of wen (文) and wu (武) in his reign could be compared to that of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (626-649), a perfect embodiment of civil and martial values himself. The influence of the Tang and Han dynasties on the Qing Empire can be seen in the renewal of military rituals and values from that time.
Another reason for the persistent emphasizing of the importance of martial power during the Qing can also be attributed to the origins of the Qing rulers. They were of Manchu origin, belonging to the ‘Aisin Gioro’ clan , and perhaps in order to uphold their inner Asian roots, favoured military power (wu) over culture (wen), unlike preceding dynasties, which preferred wen over wu. This acknowledgment of the status of martial tenet is very noteworthy as it is clearly in contrast to the elite astuteness of the Chinese ruler, who traditionally portrayed the Chinese state as non-military, despite the actual state of affairs.
This ideology was not very prevalent in Chinese visual culture before Qianlong, which was an elite institution involving scholarly pursuits of art. Even if hunting scenes were common during the Ming (1368–1644), they do not explicitly describe the emperor as an expansionist or do not

Get Access