The second type of tile found in the State of Qi used symmetrical abstraction to decorate the tile ends. This is more common in the late Warring States period in the State of Qi. As with any abstract art you can see many things within the abstraction and layers of meaning or you can just see it as a cool design. Most Chinese art and architecture depends on symmetry for balance, so it is not surprising to find the left-right mirroring of design. Abstract designs complement geometric designs. It is still surprising to find such abstraction in early art. This isn't primitive design, it is deliberate reduction of detail to essential meaning. The museum points out that symmetry "makes people think of the doctrines of Confucius." Confucius wrote extensively about the formal rites of government and how by adhereing to tradition brings peace and prosperity, order and certainty to the state.
Last update: September 2013
© Marilyn Shea, 2013