Xi'an Local Arts & Crafts

Origin of Xi'an Art & Culture

Xi'an with its long-standing history is known as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Since the ancient time, Xi'an is where different cultures meet and mix as it had been the capital of 13 ancient Chinese dynasties, and was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Over the centuries and centuries, it has developed splendid cultures, which were well rooted in the local arts and crafts of Xi'an. The followings are among the most reprehensive ones.

There is a local saying that goes like this: if you want to see China over the past 5000 years, go to Xi'an. This might be slightly exaggerated; however, it illustrates the role that Xi'an played throughout Chinese history, with 13 dynasties having the city as their capital.

Peasant Paintings

The most famous Chinese Peasant Paintings are in Huxian County, located 40 km southwest of Xi'an City. These paintings are created by local farmers/peasants, by using bright colors in a simple and authentic style, to express what they believe, how they live, how they think, and what they love. 

Paper Cuttings

Paper Cutting is a very traditional Chinese folk art, a must doing during New Year in north China. It is popular in the Xi'an area, where many ordinary housewives can do it well, and local fork artists make some of the most sophisticated paper cuts in China. 

Pottery Artifacts

Terracotta Warriors made Xi'an famous in the world. You may be surprised that Xi'an people were the masters of clay since 6000 years ago. Terracotta artifacts unearthed Banpo Ruin (5000 BC to 4000 BC) has shown impressively sophisticated ceramic techniques, and Tang Sancai (three colors glazed pottery) was once the most traded good along the ancient Silk Road.

Shadow Puppets

Xi'an's shadow puppets are famous throughout China and versions of it can be found in many parts of the country. Shadow puppets are jointed puppets made of a thin donkey or cowhide. They have delicate designs, need to be highly skillful to make it and play it well. A puppet play is accompanied by a small band of musicians and shows about the legends, battles, and mythological creatures. 

Xi'an Calligraphy

Xi'an is an ideal place to see the fine art of Chinese calligraphy. Many greatest calligraphists in Chinese history were either born in Xi'an or had lived for a long time in Xi'an during their lives. Xi'an Forest of Stone Steles Museum has collected some of the most valuable calligraphy works in China, including the works of Wang Xizhi (303 AD - 361 AD, whose works are regarded as the highest artistic value) and Yan Zhenqing (709 AD - 785 AD, who is regarded as the most influential calligraphist in Chinese history). 

Xi'an Art District

The art district is located in the abandoned textile town of Xi'an. Initially, a couple of young graduates for art schools are eagerly to run their own studio however could not afford to rent a place. The empty factory buildings of the textile town became their best possible choice. Gradually, more artists moved to the textile town, where became an art district. It is where you can look into the mind of the Chinese young generation.

Try this Xi'an local culture tour to explore those local arts: 

Tailor-make a China tour with Xi'an.

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