Trace Chinese Art Design (1)

Due to the need for research on the design ideas of ancient Chinese related instruments in the selection of doctoral dissertations, coupled with the current phenomenon of crossover between the art of design and arts and the art design, there must be a conceptual blurring of the concept. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the dialectic of arts and crafts and art design. In order to clear the barriers to understanding for the topics studied, the relationship has changed from the study of traditional arts and crafts to the study of ancient Chinese design thoughts, and has found the theoretical basis for a rational turn.

If we use the Bauhaus School established in 1919 in the German town of Weimar as a symbol of the birth of modern design education, then formal art and design education has been developing in the West for almost 100 years from the beginning of Bauhaus, and it is really close in our country. The history of Western modern design concepts has only been 20 years in China.

Just in the year when Bauhaus was founded, the May 4th Movement broke out in China. After that, with the spread of new cultural movements, new ideas and new ideas, the concept of modern design began to spread to China. China's design education has gone through the process of design, arts and crafts, practical art, industrial arts, arts and crafts, and art design. Today it seems that we have taken a detour before returning to its original runway. This kind of repetition and experience sighs with pessimism. It is better to think that it is of great benefit to the future development of Chinese art and design.

Since the establishment of the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in 1956, the arts and crafts fields in China have achieved brilliant results in both roads and devices. However, with the progress of the times, arts and crafts have gradually been replaced by art and design. On November 20, 1999, China’s only and oldest institute of arts and crafts, the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, was incorporated into Tsinghua University and was renamed the Academy of Fine Arts as a higher professional education in China. The sign that the design is completely replaced, the author thinks this is not unreasonable either. As Mr. Zhang Daoyi said, arts and crafts... Now it is called design art (1). The art design of China’s 1998 subject classification catalog is a secondary discipline under arts. At this point, the concept of modern design in our country basically ended on the subject of art design as national subjects. The art design was unified over the past in industrial design, packaging design, interior design, Visual communication, costume design and other professional subjects were chaotic, but arts and crafts gradually withdrew from the main battlefield of design universities.

1. China Arts and Crafts

Here, I would like to briefly review the history of the development of China's arts and crafts.

Before 1840
While the Opium War was opened by the Western powers, it also opened the chapter of modern Chinese history. Before that, China had been in the agricultural era. In ancient China, there was the name of craftsmanship. At that time, the craftsmanship was the compounding of multiple meanings such as work (artisan, production) and art (talent, skill). As early as in the Northern Song Dynasty Li Yu (925-996) and other compilation of one of the four major books, the encyclopedia of the nature of the type book "Tai Ping Yu Lan" in the establishment of the Ministry of Technology, artifacts, boat department, car department, treasure department and other categories After all, there is no doubt that it belongs to the arts category. (2) The term craftsmanship was also recorded in the Northern Song Dynasty Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) "New Tang Shu Geide Biography": the father adjoins, is a small prison in the temple, the process advances, it is clear that this process word, and The concept of Chinese modern arts and crafts is still different. (3)


At the end of the Qing Dynasty, abolished the imperial examinations and established the school. In 1902 (28th year of the Qing Dynasty), Zhang Zhidong (1837-1909), one of the representative figures of the Westernization Movement, played the Sanjiang Normal School (now the predecessor of Southeast University). In 1905, Sanjiang Normal University was renamed by the Qing court. For Liangjiang Normal Grade Normal School, in 1906, Liangjiang Normal University officially set up the drawing and handiwork department. As a result, Liangjiang Normal University became the earliest university in China to establish a normal art college. (4) At that time, foreign studies and instrumental paintings (such as today's professional basic courses in drawing, color, and descriptive geometry) were mainly taught by Japanese, and were influenced to a certain extent by Japanese early art education. History, please refer to the author published in the "Decoration" in 2002 the sixth period of translation "A brief history of Japanese design during World War II", not much to repeat here).


With the victory of the Revolution of 1911, the demise of the feudal monarchy, and the civil war of successive years thereafter, Chinese traditional handicrafts have entered the low point of development. However, art education has not stopped as people imagined. In particular, after the May Fourth Movement, Chinese intellectuals proposed the slogan (5) to save the country through aesthetic education. For example, the famous art history critic Mr. Yu Jianhua (1887-1936) wrote in his 1920 monograph “The Latest Pattern Law”. : The word "Design" has recently begun to sprout in my country. However, people who know very well their meaning and painting techniques are rare. If the Chinese people want to develop industries and improve their manufacturing products to compete with the East and West, then the pattern must be emphasized! Up to the arts and crafts, if you use a device, you must first have a pattern on it. The craft and pattern must not be separated. 9 years later, the art educator Chen Zhifo (1896-1962) wrote in the “Oriental Magazine” that: As far as the art craftsmanship is concerned, art crafts are by no means the same as antiques. ...industrial products are indirect or direct concerns about human life, and their purpose is to produce for the continuation of human life. Crafts are a combination of two elements of art and industry. For the purpose of human life's upwards, crafts are an industrial activity that adapts to the elements of human daily life--practical, and at the same time, integrates with the function of art. (6) The arts and crafts in today's concepts of this period are called patterns, arts and crafts, and practical arts.


On July 10, 1949, Wen Wei Po published a draft of the academic system and program of the Tsinghua University's Department of Building Management. There are numerous articles in the physical environment of the Department of Industrial Arts, from a knife to a kettle. Textiles, a chair, a table ... or even a car, a train, a ship ... about its aesthetic design. ... On the other hand, there are still many handicrafts worthy of encouragement in our country, but at the same time we must increase their artistic standards. (7) The title of industrial art emerged during this period.


In 1956, the Central Academy of Arts and Design was independent from the Department of Patterns of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, which marked the establishment of China’s first high-level institution for arts and crafts, and became the first comprehensive and multi-disciplinary arts and crafts institution in China. . Subsequently, local art academies and universities across the country successively set up arts and crafts departments or majors, such as Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and Nanjing University of Arts. At the same time, China has successively established a number of secondary arts and crafts specialties and technical schools to form a teaching system that integrates education in higher art schools, education in secondary arts and craft schools, and various forms of professional education for employees and vocational education. Specific professional direction of ceramics, dyeing, lacquer art, decoration and so on. After the fifties, there was an opening of the arts and crafts service department throughout the country. The concept of arts and crafts recognized by the academic world today is formally established during this period. (8)

Since 1978

After the Gang of Four was smashed, especially since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 1978, with the development of the times and the needs of economic construction, Hunan University and other engineering colleges took the lead in setting up the corresponding institutes in China in the late 1970s. And in the early 80s, he founded the industrial design profession. In 1987, the China Industrial Design Association was established. Later, in the winter of 1995, the National Symposium on Design Art Theory was held in Guangzhou. In 1998, the title of art design was first appeared in the undergraduate professional catalogue issued by the Ministry of Education. During this period, the arts and crafts majors of the national art academies were involved in the teaching ideology. He started to move closer to art design and changed his name to art design.

In other words, in the 1990s, we really established the art design of the subject name that was different from arts and crafts. This change was silently carried out, so various understandings of the relationship between the two have emerged one after another. Before discussing the relationship between the two, we may wish to review the history of western modern design. This is because in the discipline organization structure and professional setup, our current art design discipline is almost the same as the design discipline of western universities.

(to be continued)

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