Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(1,108 words)

In traditional China, sculpture never enjoyed an equally high status as in the West. As the product of strenuous physical work, it was regarded by the culture-bearing scholar-officials as handicraft. Consequently, only a few sculptors are known by name or became famous. Still, the history of sculpture in China dates back to the Neolithic period and fascinating works survive from as early as the Shang period (16th century BCE to ca. 1045 BCE), e.g. the heads, gigantic masks, and life-size bronze figure of a man found in 1986 at Sanxingdui in Sichuan. In the tomb cult and in Buddhism particula…

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Borchert, Angelika, “Sculpture”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 01 March 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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