Cultural Sources of Ink and Wash / Sumi-e Painting – The Influence of Confucianism on Ink and Wash / Sumi-e Painting


What is Confucianism?

Confucianism is not a religion, but a philosophy which was and still is immensely important for the political and ethical system of China. It is rooted in the teachings of Confucius and is together with Daoism and Buddhism one of the three great philosophies of China. It was developed around 500 BCE and influences Chinese society and culture until today.

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History of Chinese Calligraphy – The Origins of Calligraphy in Ancient China: The Warring States Period (戰國時代/Zhan guo Shi Dai)


The Warring States (戰國時代 / Zhan Guo Shi Dai): the Decline of Zhou

As time passed, cracks began to form in the Zhou kingdom. Managing a feudal state the size of China was difficult to manage when it relied largely on the strength of lineage relationships, many of which were incredibly distant. (Map) As these relationships decayed, the lower ranks began to assert greater an greater degrees of autonomy, until it was not the nominal ‘rulers’ who wielded political power, but their subordinates. Eventually, all ties to a central Zhou ruler would be severed and China as we know it was divided up into a considerable number of smaller states that warred more or less continuously for about 200 years, from 475 BCE to 221 BCE.

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