Corfu Museum of Asian Art

Chinese Art Collection

General Description

The Museum of Asian Art Chinese collection includes about 3,500 items. Most items come from the collection of Gregoris Manos, while the Chinese porcelain is taken from the Christos Chiotakis collection.

These exhibits include pieces of pottery, porcelain, brass works of art, sculpture, cloisonné, lacquer objects, ivory, miniatures, clothing, jewellery and coins. A selection of the museum’s Chinese collection is exhibited in the east wing of the first floor.

History

8000 BC
8000 BC
Before 2000 BC

NEOLITHIC PERIOD

People farmed the land, fished, hunted and used stone tools in settled communities.
7000 BC
7000 BC

JADE

Jade was first carved.
3630 BC
3630 BC

SILK WORMS & SPUN SILK CLOTH

People cultivated silk worms and spun silk cloth.
2700 BC
2700 BC

Acupuncture

Acupuncture was first practiced.
2000 BC
2000 BC

Cowry shells

Cowry shells were used as a form of money.
2000 BC TO 1050 BC
2000 BC TO 1050 BC
Dynasties

XIA (c. 2000 – 1500 BC) & SHANG (c. 1500-1050 BC)

2000 BC
2000 BC

Bronze

Bronze-working began.
1300-1200 BC
1300-1200 BC

The Shang Kings

The Shang kings established their last capital at Anyang.
1200 BC
1200 BC

Writing

Writing was first used.
1050 BC
1050 BC
1050 BC to 771 BC

WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY

The last Shang king committed suicide after his army was defeated by the Zhou.
900 – 600 BC
900 – 600 BC

Mandate of Heaven

The king lost the “Mandate of Heaven” and his successor moved the capital from Xi’an to Luoyang.
C. 750 BC
C. 750 BC
770 BC to 221 BC

EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY

The first metal coins, shaped like knives and spades, were used.
C. 604-531 BC
C. 604-531 BC

Laozi

The Daoist philosopher Laozi lived.
600-500 BC
600-500 BC

Cast-iron ploughs

Chinese invented the first cast-iron ploughs, which revolutionized farming.
552 – 479 BC
552 – 479 BC

Confucius

The philosopher Confucius (Kong Fuzi) lived.
400 – 300 BC
400 – 300 BC

Crossbow

The crossbow was invented. Arrows fired from a crossbow could travel 200 meters.
C. 300 BC
C. 300 BC

Horses into battle

Chinese soldiers first rode horses into battle. New styles of clothing were worn, including trousers fastened with belt hooks.
221 BC
221 BC
221 BC to 210 BC

QIN DYNASTY

King Zheng of the Qin state unified the country by conquering his enemies. Instead of using the title of king, he declared himself the First Emperor.
The First Emperor established a single currency, using circular coins with a central square hole – a form used in China until the 20th century. He also enforced single systems of writing, weights and measures.
221 – 210 BC
221 – 210 BC

Great Wall

The First Emperor built a Great Wall of packed earth to keep out the nomadic peoples of the north. At its longest, the Great Wall measures 4,000 miles.
210 BC
210 BC

FIRST EMPEROR DIED

Despite taking many pills and potions designed to prolong his life, the First Emperor died and was succeeded by his weak son, who was soon deposed by the founder of the Han dynasty.
206 BC TO AD 589
206 BC TO AD 589

HAN DYNASTY (206 BC – AD 220) & THE PERIOD OF DISIUNITY (AD 221 – 589)

100 – 0 BC
100 – 0 BC

Natural gas

People drilled for natural gas
AD 1 – 100
AD 1 – 100

Buddhism

Buddhism was introduced into China
C. AD 344 – 405
C. AD 344 – 405

Gu Kaizhi

Gu Kaizhi lived, the earliest known named artist in China.
AD 460 - 525
AD 460 - 525

Yungang

Caves at Yungang carved with Buddhist images.
AD 538 - 9
AD 538 - 9

Dunhuang

The earliest Buddhist cave at Dunhuang was made.
AD 585
AD 585
AD 589 to AD 906

SUI (AD 589 – 618) & TANG (AD 618 – 906) DYNASTIES

Construction began on the Grand Canal which linked the Yellow River (Huang He) and the Yangzi River (Chang Jiang).
C. AD 600
C. AD 600

Porcelain

Porcelain was invented in China.
AD 713 – 803
AD 713 – 803

Buddha at Leshan

The Great Buddha at Leshan took 90 years to carve and measures 230 feet high.
AD 756
AD 756

Lu Shan

An Lu Shan Rebellion.
AD 868
AD 868

The Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra is the earliest surviving dated woodblock – printed book.
AD 690 - 705
AD 690 - 705

Wu Zetian

Empress Wu Zetian was the only woman ever to rule China in her own right.
AD 907 TO AD 1279
AD 907 TO AD 1279
Five Dynasties (AD 907 – 960)

LIAO (AD 907 – 1125), JIN (AD 1115 – 1234) & SONG (AD 960 – 1279) DYNASTIES

AD 960 – 1279
AD 960 – 1279

Song dynasty

Paper money was invented in the Song dynasty. It was lighter than metal coinage and easier to carry. Paper money was not used in Europe until the 17th century.
Farmers cultivated a new kind of rice which gave two or three crops a year, so a larger population could be fed and cities grew rapidly.
AD 1132
AD 1132

Gunpowder

Gunpowder was used to fire guns. Chen Gui filled a long bamboo tube with gunpowder and arrows and set it alight.
AD 1279 to AD 1368
AD 1279 to AD 1368

YUAN DYNASTY

Ad 1167 – 1227
Ad 1167 – 1227

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan united the northern nomads living in the Mongolian grasslands and founded the Mongol empire.
AD 1280
AD 1280

Khubilai Khan

Genghis Khan’s grandson, Khubilai Khan (AD 1260 – 94), IVADED China and declared himself emperor, establishing a lavish new winter capital now known as Beijing.
AD 1310 – 68
AD 1310 – 68

Blue & White Porcelains

Some of the finest blue and white porcelains were made at Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province for export to the Middle East.
AD 1330
AD 1330

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms

The first of the ‘Four Great Classical Novels’ of Chinese literature, ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’, was published.
AD 1368 TO AD 1644
AD 1368 TO AD 1644

MING DYNASTY

AD 1368
AD 1368

Nanjing

The Hongwu emperor defeated the Mongols and established his capital at Nanjing.
AD 1406 - 21
AD 1406 - 21

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was built in what is now Beijing.
AD 1420
AD 1420

The Yongle emperor

The Yongle emperor moved the capital to Beijing.
AD 1405 - 33
AD 1405 - 33

Yongle and Xuande Emperors

Under the Yongle and Xuande emperors, the Muslim Admiral Zheng He made seven sailing expeditions to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa.
AD 1514
AD 1514

The Portuguese reached China

The Portuguese reached China by sea. By the 1550s, China’s economic growth was fuelled by imported Spanish and Portuguese silver from South America.
AD 1644
AD 1644
AD 1644 to AD 1911

QING DYNASTY

The Manchus adopted the Chinese dynastic name Qing for their dynasty in 1636 but did not conquer the whole of China until 1644.
AD 1792 - 3
AD 1792 - 3

Lord Macartney

Lord Macartney travelled with a British embassy to China to visit the Qianlong emperor. His mission was to improve trading and diplomatic relations between Britain and China.
AD 1839 - 42
AD 1839 - 42

First Opium War

The 19th century saw the decline of the Qing emperors’ power. The British fought China from 1839 to 1842 in the First Opium War.
AD 1851 - 64
AD 1851 - 64

Taiping

Civil war broke out in the Taiping Rebellion when 20 million Chinese were killed.
AD 1899 - 1900
AD 1899 - 1900

The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in China lasted just one year.
AFTER AD 1911
AFTER AD 1911

LATER HISTORY

AD 1912
AD 1912

Puyi

Puyi, the last Qing emperor, abdicated. Yuan Shikai (1859 – 1916) became President of the Republic of China. He later declared himself emperor.
AD 1966 – 76
AD 1966 – 76

Mao Led

Mao led a Cultural Revolution.
AD 1949
AD 1949

Mao Zedong

The Communist Perty leader Mao Zedong founded the Peoples’ Republic of China in Tian An Men Square in Beijing.
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu

Thematic units

Ceramics

China has one the oldest civilizations in the world. It covers a vast and diverse geographic area, and its history was shaped by the constant ebb and flow of the dynasties, whose names define the respective periods of Chinese culture.

Miniatures

The miniatures of the Chinese collection include bottles and objects from semi-precious raw materials such as ivory, jade and various other materials.

Lacquers

The use of lacquer for the construction or decoration of a variety of vessels, furniture and other utilitarian objects, such as boxes for cosmetics or food storage was already known in the early Chinese dynasties.

Export Porcelain

The Chinese export porcelain from the Xiotakis collection dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was manufactured in China and exported to Europe for the needs of European aristocracy.

Masterpieces of Chinese Ceramics

Li-ding food vessel
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Grey earthen ware with cored décor. Western Zhou. 12th – 10th cent. B.C.
Tomb figurine of a female equestrian
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Moulded white earthen ware with lead flux yellowish glaze and overglazed pigments. Sui to Tang dynasty. Late 6th – 8th cent.
Burial vessel in the form of a flower
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Tang Sancai ware. Moulded white earthen ware with lead flux polychrome glaze. Tang dynasty. Mid 8th cent.
Plum Bottle
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Stoneware with celadon glaze over carved decoration. Cover missing. 14th cent.
Bowl
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Stoneware with sky-blue glaze. 12th -13th cent.
Small conical bowl
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Stoneware with celadon glaze. 12th cent.
Large ovoid jar with tow registers of scrolling floral decoration
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Stonewares with dark brown glaze. 14th-15th cent.
Sweetmeat dish
with openwork cover
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Wuchai (five colors) ware. Porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue and overglaze polychrome enamels. Ming Dynasty. Wanli reign. (1573 - 1620).
Dish with floral décor
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Blue and white ware. Decoration painted in under glaze cobalt blue. Qing Dynasty. Late 17th – 18th century.
Τrompe l’ oeil small brush
Chinese Art Collection | Museum of Asian Art Corfu
Washer imitating marble. Porcelain with overglazed enamels. Ink traces inside and outside the rim. Qing dynasty. Kianlong Reign (1736-1795).
Logo | Museum of Asian Art Corfu

Mon ‒ Sun: 08-30 ‒ 16:00
Tuesday: closed