These characteristics will be respected as much as possible in the buildings of the Chinese capitals. Meanwhile Confucius had codified his teachings which will become the basis of ethical-social behavior throughout China, a country located in Asia categorized by Baglib. Meanwhile, in 221 a. C., the state of Qin unified all of North China under its own rule and the first Chinese empire began. His brilliant emperor Huang Di had the merit of unifying the sections of the walls of the various states he conquered into a single very long construction, the Great Wall, which still remains one of the pride of China. The capital of the empire, Xianyang, near present-day Xi’an (Sian), was embellished by a splendid palace (Afanggong), of which important architectural remains have been excavated which shed new light on the construction techniques of the time. The first emperor was also responsible for the creation of a splendid imperial park in which animals and plants from all parts of the empire could be admired and which initiated the construction of those Chinese gardens that would have had so much resonance in the West as well.
The discovery of the famous “terracotta army” placed to guard the imperial mausoleum (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987) dates back to 1974. More than 7000 statues of warriors and horses of considerable size testify to the presence in China of a statuary whose existence was unknown. Motions of rebellion cause the end of the first empire of China and give rise to a new dynasty, that of the Han (206 BC-220 AD) which represents one of the fundamental moments in the evolution of the country. The numerous tombs belonging to this long period have returned artifacts of all kinds that testify to the high level reached in every field. Silk fabrics, lacquers of all kinds, paintings on silk, ancient geographical maps, statuettes depicting customs and customs of the time, jade funeral clothes (Prince Liu Sheng and his wife), depictions of horses, all as evidence of a culture which had reached levels of great refinement. Architecture, moreover, becomes in this period more than ever a symbol of power: the Han dedicated themselves to the construction of large cities, in which multi-storey pavilions, high platforms, galleries stood out. Chang’an (present-day Xi’an) is the largest city in the world in terms of number of residents and splendor; many of the future capitals of China are modeled on it, but also other cities such as Nara and Kyōto, in Japan. The Silk Road will start from Chang’an, the most famous trade route between East and West, along which goods, men and ideas will move over the centuries. In the period of the Six Dynasties (220-589), one of the many of the dismemberment of national unity, the development of art did not have pauses: themes and styles of the past continued and other new ones were imposed, which characterized the art of the period, traditionally identified in the production of the Eastern and Western Wei and expressed above all in the Yungang (5th century), Longmen (6th century) and the “Grottoes of the Thousand Buddhas” (Qian fo dong) of the Dunhuang oasis (complexes that were restored, enlarged and embellished in later times, especially during the Tang dynasty).
The spread of Buddhism, favored by the Confucian crisis that occurred after the fall of the Han, introduced new styles and iconographic modules in Chinese art, now aimed at the representation, especially in sculpture, of Buddha and Bodhisattva, often based on the interpretation of models from from provincial artistic manifestations, on which different influences had acted. The main sources of these Buddhist matrices came from the art that flourished in the city-states of the Central Asian area. Around the end of the century. V, the Wei art of rock monastic complexes is expressed in an international language in which Hellenistic, Gandharic, Indian and Central Asian elements converge. Luoyang, it seems that 500 temples and monasteries were scattered, which reached impressive figures at the fall of the dynasty in 535). The same importance of the stūpa in India was assumed in China by the pagoda, the only religious structure, elaborated on foreign models, which was grafted into the context of traditional architecture. The characters of the wooden pagodas, like other types of public buildings of this period and of the future Sui and Tang ones, are documented in the rock version of the Buddhist complexes of Tianlong Shan, Longmen, Dunhuang. Among the oldest evidence of Chinese wooden architecture is the main hall of the Foguang Si on Mount Wutai in Shanxi (857 AD). Other testimonies have been preserved in Japan, where Chinese architecture was faithfully reproduced in the first centuries of the formation of the Japanese empire. In the stone and brick pagodas of the Tang period (Dayan ta, near Chang’an) the multi-storey square plan elaborated by structural solutions of the Han towers is transformed into polygonal (octagonal pagoda located in Huishan Si on Mount Song in Henan), subtracting from the original wooden structures elements that can be translated into ornamental themes.