LIAO (907 – 1125AD)

Although the Liao empire imported Chinese handicraft articles and imitated Chinese art in all different kinds of art spheres, there are also many items and objects showing a genuine Khitan style, for example architecture as seen in the main hall (Guanyinge - the oldest preserved timber-made temple hall) of the Dule Monastery in Jixian, the brick stupa of Tianning Monastery Beijing, the pagoda in Ningcheng and the Timber Stupa of Fogong Monastery in Yingxian. All these stupas were octagonal and did not have a hollow interior like it was usage for the Tang and pre-Tang Buddhist architecture. This was a new architectural style that was typically for the Liao and Jin periods, while other Liao stupas like the white brick stupa of Linxi (near Chifeng) had a hollow interior until the top storey. In Huayan Monastery in Datong some Buddhist clay statues of Bodhisattvas of the Liao period are preserved.

Porcelain and glazed earthenware was produced by the Khitan craftsmen, and their art did not only copy or imitate the Song porcelain style, but the shapes of drinking vessels imitate the shape of the old Khitan leather bags fixed to the horse saddles. The Song period is known for the famous landscape paintings of Chinese artists. Khitan artists also engaged in painting and made painting presents to the Song emperors, like the hunting scenes painted by Emperor Liao Xingzong, or paintings by Yelü Bei. In the tombs of the Liao rulers in Kulun Banner we find mural paintings that show a clear influence of Tang mural painting .