Song (Chinese culture, style, and period)

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Scope note
Refers to a Chinese dynastic culture, style, and period dating to 960 to 1279 CE. It was a time of social, economic, and artistic invention and transition; in particular, an unsurpassed refinement was achieved in many of the arts. As society shifted away from being one of aristocrats towards one of meritorious commoners, the ruling class sought to shore up their power. For instance, emperors promoted the painting of themes associated with dynastic legitimacy and stability. The Song emperors were among China's most culturally enlightened rulers and many were even accomplished artists in their own right. Since the Song emperors were less powerful than their Han and Tang predecessors and because they maintained a tenuous peace with their hostile neighbors, the art of this period is introspective. The Song period is best known for landscape painting, although ceramics, sculpture, and architecture also flourished. Clay and wood often replaced stone for sculpture, allowing for softer, more lifelike figures. Song architecture is notably elongated and thin with curved roofs and a distinctive Song spire. Pagodas were first constructed of masonry during this period. There are two divisions within this style and period: Northern Song, dating to 960 to 1127, and Southern Song, dating to 1127 to 1279.
Song
Accepted term: 17-Jun-2024