Chinese Arts

chinese-artsNext time I plan a visit to see the Chinese paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I’m doing my homework first.

“It’s boring!” said my 9-year-old son, Alex.

This was not the response that I wanted to hear after a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, but it wasn’t unexpected.  It was clear that the Family Program on Chinese Arts hadn’t been a hit with my kids.

The program, billed as “conversation and sketching for kids six to twelve” in the museum’s Asian Arts collection seemed to be targeted toward the younger children.  The questions and answers were all on the six-year-old level, leaving my kids thinking that they’d heard it all before.

In retrospect, it would have been better to prepare for the visit and explore the galleries on our own self-guided tour.

If I were going to do it again, I would review the Met’s excellent online guides before the visit to familiarize myself with the subject.

Chinese Painting and Other Chinese Arts:

  • The Art of China – A pre-visit guide for teachers to plan a self-guided visit to The Metropolitan Museum’s Asian Art galleries.
  • Chinese Painting – An illustrated guide to understanding Chinese paintings from The Metropolitan Art Museum’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
  • Ancient Chinese Art – Illustrated timeline of Ancient Chinese Art, written for older children, on Kidipede.
  • Chinese Painting: Love To Know Crafts – Learn how to do Chinese Painting, includes links for supplies.
  • The Elegant Brush: A Look at Chinese Painting – This is but one of several succinct explanations of Asian arts, including: silk paintings, painting on glass, sandstone paintings, calligraphy, and much more.
  • Chinese Painting on Wikipedia – Short, but very comprehensive, look at the symbolism and history of the “oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world.”

At a minimum, I would learn enough to have some insights into what I might see in the Asian wing of the museum. And who knows? Maybe next time, I’ll share these resources with the kids, and they can teach me something.

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