The Far East Asian Crafts

Like its fellow neighbor, East Asia or more commonly known as The Far East Asia is too rich in its culture and arts when it comes to craftworks and artifacts. It covers the spectrum from the Republic of China to Hong Kong to Taiwan to north and south Korea, Japan and Mongolia. The basic and foremost religions preached in these regions are most dominatingly Islam, Buddhism and Christianity followed by Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Shintoism and Animism. All these religions have greatly influenced and played a part in shaping the cultural arts and crafts of each region.

Chinese Art

Starting off by the Republic of China, the Chinese cultural arts and crafts has always been one of the oldest and perpetual traditions in the world. It has been the most advanced and vividly recognized throughout the entire globe. Its pottery and sculptures date back to 10,000 B.C.E and was known as the “Stone Age Art”. Through cold blood shed wars, to invasions, to as simple as famines and most importantly through several hundred years of dynastic changes, nobles and scholars have preserved its cultural and traditional artifacts. Cast bronze and jade carvings are found to be the oldest trove of China.

Neolithic pottery was the earliest form of art in China. Their initial ceramics were mostly unpainted but were engraved with marks made by pressing cords into wet clay.

Pots from the Yang Shao culture in Neolithic China (Photo: Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0)

Their Jade culture of constructing tools and knives also started during the Neolithic period (c.12.000 — c. 2,000 B.C.E). These among other ornaments were made using jade nephrite.

Jade Cong from Liangzhu culture (Photo: Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Bronze age is said to start during the Xia Dynasty (ca. 2100–1600 B.C.E). The functioning and appearance of bronze altered gradually and was used for both their religious rites and constructing artifacts.

Ritual tripod cauldron (ding); circa 13th century BC; bronze: height with handles: 25.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City).

Wine vase (zun); 13th century BC; bronze inlaid with black pigment; height: 40 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Flying Horse of Gansu; circa 300; bronze; height: 34.5 cm; length: 45 cm; width: 13.1 cm; Gansu Provincial Museum (Lanzhou, China).

With the emergence of Buddhism China started developing more Buddhist art. This included wooden sculptures, pottery, porcelain ornaments, etc.

A Chinese Tang Dynasty tri-color glazed porcelain horse (ca. 700 C.E.), using yellow, green and white colors.


Standing figure of Vishnu, gilt bronze sculpture from Nepal, 10th century; in the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Two flasks with dragons; 1403–1424; underglaze blue porcelain; height (the left one): 47.8 cm, height (the right one): 44.6 cm; British Museum.

Wooden Figures of Musicians with Painted Designs, Western Han Dynasty ( ca.206 B.C.-ca.9 A.D.), From the collection of: Hunan Provincial Museum

Today art installations are the modern movement and china too has kept up with this form of interactive, large-scale art.

“Ai Weiwei on Porcelain,” Installation at the Sakip Sabanci Museum Stock Photos from Bulent Demir/Shutterstock.

Korean Art

Clay dolls or Silla Clay Dolls have been a part of the Korean cultural heritage for a very long time. These figurines are made up of clay and are created by the Silla people.

A horse and rider-shaped clay teapot found at the Geumryongchong Tomb from the Silla Kingdom, 6th Century.

A smiling elderly man and a woman mourning over the dead.

Beside these artifacts, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mongolia, each have preserved their cultural heritage in the form of sculptures and crafts. From different engraving styles to embroidery and wood and metal work, the east has stood out and contributed to the cultural arts of the globe.

A didactic bird dedicated to the discovery of art around the world.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store