This is the second of Chinese Central TV’s New Frontier’s programmes on the arts in the classical period in China.
This episode takes up from last week, looking at the infleunce the new thinking in philosophy was having on the arts, and in this case particularly on painting.
We also see some more examples of calligraphy, before moving on the influx of Buddhism and Buddhist arts at the time of the Northern Wei dynasty.
Once again we can see how the introduction of new ideas, this time via the central Asian tribes who took over large parts of India, helped spur cultural and artistic endeavour in China.
Prior to this we had already seen the founding of the Mogao Grottoes along the silk roads, but now there was heavy support for the foundation of more grottoes at Yungang, Maijishan and Longmen also.
In was during the construction of these grottoes over many centuries that Buddhist arts reached their zenith in China, and the finest examples of sculpture, carving and even calligraphy come from this period.
The episode is trying to cover a lot of ground in a short time and suffers because of that, but it is still an admirable introduction to the development of the arts, and their interdependence with philosophy and expression.