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Chinese Art: The Analects and the Vase of Longevity Essay

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The Chinese have always been very creative people. Since the times they had dynasties up to today, the entire country has flourished with art and creativity. However, most of their art used to either criticize or represent the elements of the dynasty. Many of the works of art were shown to the public in Canada during the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2014. These works were mostly royal items since they came from the Forbidden City in China. China also had lots of written literature, especially those written by Confucius. This paper juxtaposes one of the objects exhibited at the Vancouver Exhibition, the Vase of Longevity, with the Analects as discussed in class.

Firstly, the two works of art were created in two different historical eras. Confucius created the Analects around 471 or 221 BC, while the Longevity Vase was created in the 18th Century. By the 18th century, the dynasty had been in power long enough to make the citizens believe they would rule for more than 10 000 years. This is the message written on the vase. The Analects, on the other hand, concentrates on the issues that people valued at the time Confucius wrote it: virtue, ethics, and good leadership.

The other thing to note about these two works of art is their origin and audience. The vase was specifically meant for the palace, while the Analects was designed for the purpose of reforming the society. Only the kings had the vases in their palaces for the purpose of showing their powers. On the contrary, the Analects initially belonged to the ordinary people since the ruling class rejected them. They referred to it as a mere commentary on the Five Classic. More so, Confucius, the source of the ideas in the Analects, was not a member of the ruling class.

It is also worth noting that the two works also addressed and symbolized different topics. Precisely, the Analects aimed at reforming the social system for the welfare of the citizens. It advocated moral cultivation among the citizens and leaders. It also advocated the cultivation of learners’ knowledge in the process of instilling a sense of respect for other people. The book proposed an all-inclusive culture, where everybody benefits from the dynasty and equal rights in the whole country. In addition to this proposal, it also advocated ethics in all the dealings of human beings. On the other hand, the vase of longevity was a symbol of royalty. It also symbolized and clearly stated the intention of the dynasty to last 10 000 years. Therefore, whereas the vase discouraged the inclusion of everybody is benefiting from the country’s resources, the Analects argued for an all-inclusive culture among the citizens.

Therefore, the two works of art are different from each other in several ways. They belonged to different classes of people, passed different massages, and were written at different times in history. The vase of longevity belonged to the royal family, while the analects was mostly read by people from the low-class. Furthermore, the vase of longevity stated the intention of the dynasty to rule china for 10 000 years. On the contrary, the Analects advocated leadership that includes everybody. It also advocated virtues among both the leaders and the citizens. The Analects was people-oriented, while the Vase of Longevity was about protecting the dynasty.

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IvyPanda. "Chinese Art: The Analects and the Vase of Longevity." April 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-art-the-analects-and-the-vase-of-longevity/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Chinese Art: The Analects and the Vase of Longevity." April 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-art-the-analects-and-the-vase-of-longevity/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Chinese Art: The Analects and the Vase of Longevity'. 8 April.

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