You are here > Home > Quick Navigation > Sculpture & Carving >

Historical Pictures on Monuments

Most of the ancient Chinese sculptures were religious artifacts or tomb engravings. After the Qing Dynasty, religious ideas lost their attraction, the amount of religious architecture was reduced, and the old tomb, grotto and temple sculptures fell into disrepair because of social changes. After the May Fourth Movement, many Chinese young people went abroad to study Western cultures to seek ideas for reform. From the 192Os to the 194Os, Li Jinfa, Liu Kaiqu, Zhang Chongren, Hua Tianyou, Cheng Manshu, Wang Linyi, Zeng Zhushao and Zhou Qingding studied sculptural knowledge and skills in the West and spread them into China, laying the foundation for the development of the art form after the founding of New China.

After the founding of People's Republic of China in 1949, sculpture departments were established in some key fine art institutes in China, and students were sent to the former Soviet Union to learn sculpture. Among them were Qian Shaowu, Cao Chunsheng, Wang Keqing and Situ Zhaoguang. On returning to their homeland, they became the main force to stimulate Chinese sculpture, and sculpture creation flourished in the 1950s. Many Successful interior sculptures and city sculpture works appeared.

On May 1, 1959, the 37.93-meter high Monument to the People's Heroes was unveiled, standing upright in the center of Tian'anmen Square. It is the tallest monument in Chinese history. Standing on a double terrace the monument is decorated by marble balustrades. The granite obelisk carries Chairman Mao Zedong's inscription of "The Heroes of the People Are Immortal" on its north side and monument writing by Zhou Enlai on the south side. The base of the monument is carved with ten huge marble bas-reliefs which document China's 100-year-history from 184o to 1949.

The reliefs were created to illustrate the content of the monument writing and can be divided into ten sections: Burning the opium, the Jintian Uprising, the Wuchang Uprising, the May Fourth Movement, the May 30th Movement of 1925, the Nanchang Uprising, the Anti Japanese Guerrillas, the Victorious Crossing of the Yangtze River by the Liberation Army, Grain for the Front and Long Live the People's Liberation Army. The design of the figures in the relief adopted Western notions of anatomy and display accurate proportions, realistic expressions and lively gestures. Most sculptors of the reliefs had returned from Europe in the 1930s. But in depicting the clothes and decorations, they adopted traditional Chinese methods of using lines to reflect degrees of density. Though there are numerous figures in the relief, they interact well because of careful design and arrangements by the artists and they 3ppear in good harmony. There are many sculptors responsible for this monumental work. They include Zeng Zhushao, Hua Tianyou and Wang Linyi; the overall designer and director is Liu Kaiqu.(Fig.3-22)(Fig.3-23)

Construction of the Monument to the People's Heroes started a movement of erecting sculpture in China. Constructed later were the Shijiazhuang Cemetery of Revolutionary Martyrs, the Liaoning-Shenyang Campaign Monument, the Volunteer Soldiers Monument in Dandong, the Soviet Martyrs Monument in Dalian, the Ground, Navy and Air Force sculpture in front of the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution Army and the group sculptures in the square in front of the China Agriculture Exhibition Center in Beijing.

The two sculpture groups in the square in front of the China Agriculture Exhibition Center were created by students and teachers from the sculpture department of the Lu xun Academy of Fine Arts. They emphasize a sense of forcefulness and beautiful shapes. Their modeling methods derive from traditional Chinese design styles, and display the distinctive spirit of the time. They are in harmony with the architecture of the museum and are considered successful sculptural works.

Quick Navigation

New Article