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King Louis XIV – history of France

By |2018-05-17T16:20:24+00:00August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

King Louis XIV of France Louis XIV becomes king of France When Anne of Austria decided to retire, in 1661 AD, her son Louis XIV took over ruling France. (Find out more about Anne of Austria) Louis was 23 years old when he took power. Like his mother, Louis was most interested in getting more power [...]

Medieval Islamic pottery – Islamic art

By |2018-04-23T15:22:28+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Art, Islam|

A tin-glazed plate Just about the time of the Arab conquests (about 600-700 AD), potters started to use metal-based glazes on their pots. So Islamic pottery looks very different from the Roman pottery that came before it. Tin-glazed bowl imitating Chinese pottery, ca. 850 AD West Asian potters invented this way of glazing pottery during the Roman Empire, [...]

Medieval Islamic art history

By |2017-07-23T15:13:04+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Art, Islam|

Mosaic from the Great Mosque in Damascus (about 710 AD) As soon as the Islamic Empire formed, under the Umayyad dynasty, artists began exploring the new ideas of Islam and what they meant for art. The first big difference between Roman art and Islamic art was that the followers of Islam, like the Jews, took seriously the commandment that you should not [...]

Spices and cotton: Mughal Indian economy

By |2018-04-23T14:30:47+00:00July 19th, 2017|Economy, India|

Japanese painting of Portuguese bringing Indian cargo to Japan (1500s AD) Under the Mughal Empire, India continued to make a lot of money by trading things back and forth between East Africa and West Asia to their west, and South-East Asia and China to their east. Mostly Indian traders sold medicine and  pepper and cinnamon and other spices to West Asia. They sold glass beads and cotton cloth to [...]

Tang Dynasty Chinese Pottery – Medieval China

By |2018-08-08T07:11:45+00:00June 6th, 2017|Art, China|

T'ang Dynasty cup (Musee Guimet, Paris) Who invented porcelain? About 700 AD in China, plain white porcelain pottery first begins to appear, like these cups and these bowls. What is porcelain? Porcelain is a special kind of pottery. Chinese potters working under the T'ang Dynasty discovered that if you used a special kind [...]

Song Dynasty Chinese Art – Medieval China

By |2018-05-03T14:34:27+00:00June 6th, 2017|Art, China|

Fan Kuan, "Traveling amid Streams and Mountains" (National Palace Museum, Taipei) Landscape painting got even better under the Song Dynasty than it had been under the T'ang Dynasty that came before. Artists emphasized the simple lines of the mountains, rivers, and trees, trying to create a feeling with the fewest possible lines. Most [...]

Sui Dynasty Art – Painting and porcelain in Medieval China

By |2018-06-30T10:59:06+00:00June 6th, 2017|Art, China|

Sui Dynasty art: a clay camel, ca. 600-650 AD What came before the Sui Dynasty? In the Three Kingdoms period, Chinese artists had learned a lot about Indian and West Asian sculptural styles. (Read more about Three Kingdoms art) How was Sui Dynasty art different? Now in the Sui Dynasty, in the late [...]

Yuan Dynasty Chinese art – Mongols in China

By |2018-10-16T06:13:35+00:00June 5th, 2017|Art, China|

Yuan Dynasty china bowls Mongols and Chinese art You might think that the invasion of the Mongols in 1279 AD would have killed off a lot of artists and there wouldn't be much good art during this time, but that's not true. Or, you might think that Chinese artists would begin to paint in [...]

Ming Dynasty Chinese art – Medieval China

By |2018-10-15T20:22:30+00:00June 5th, 2017|Art, China|

Ming Dynasty Chinese art Ming emperors unify Chinese art After the Mongols were thrown out of China, and the Chinese emperors took over again in the Ming Dynasty of the late 1300s AD, the Ming emperors wanted to build up Chinese nationalism. Instead of being part of the huge Mongol Empire, now China [...]