The art of Zhejiang province boasts a long history, from the primeval to contemporary times, covering different categories, from paintings, sculpture and calligraphy, to architectural arts.
The earliest known relic was the recently discovered Kuahuqiao Neolithic Site in Xiaoshan, which has a history going back 8,000 years. The discovery also led to the unearthing of large quantities of other relics such as sophisticated painted pottery, unglazed pottery, stoneware and jade artifacts.
The historical remains of the pre-Qin period (the Qin Dynasty reigned from 221 BC to 206 BC) were mainly products like bronze wares, impressed potteries and primitive porcelains.
Represented by the bronze wares, which were similar to those found in Central China in the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th-11th century BC), the decorations on the bronze wares contained deep lines, lifelike patterns, were solid and stable in structure; and symbolized the stateliness, power and will of the slave-owners.
During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC), the bronze ware industry in Zhejiang was prospering and achieving a distinct local style. Seventeen bronze wares were excavated in Potang village in the city of Shaoxing, including small bronze houses and soup vessels; boasting various shapes, delicate processing and beautiful decorative patterns. These appear to be examples of some of the most highly skilled craftsmanship of the time.
From the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the economy south of the Yangtze River Delta prospered, including its handicraft industry which boasted a large variety of products and displayed a unique artistic style.