Chinese President Xi Jinping has told artists, authors and actors that their work should present socialist values and not carry the "stench of money".
Mr Xi delivered a speech to some of China's leading creative figures, according to state news agency Xinhua.
He told them not to pursue commercial gain at the expense of artistic and moral value, Xinhua said.
Artists should not be "slaves" to the market or "lose themselves in the tide of market economy", Mr Xi told them.
Nor should they "go astray while answering the question of whom to serve, otherwise their works will lack vitality", he warned.
"Fine art works should be like sunshine from blue sky and breeze in spring that will inspire minds, warm hearts, cultivate taste and clean up undesirable work styles," the president told them.
China imposes tight controls over art and culture but has relaxed some cultural controls from the 1970s.
Xinhua reported that Mr Xi said artistic creations should inform the public in a "covert but influential" way what should be praised and what should be denied.
He addressed a symposium in Beijing of some of the country's "most renowned" authors, actors, scriptwriters and dancers, Xinhua said, without naming the attendees.
Works of art should present patriotism as the main theme and foster "correct" viewpoints of history, nationality and culture, as well as strengthen pride in being Chinese, he explained.
Chinese media compared Mr Xi's comments to a famous 1942 speech by Mao Zedong in which he said literature and the arts could contribute to the Communist cause.
The most famous Chinese artist around the world is Ai Weiwei, who is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and is banned from travelling abroad.
Before his detention in 2011, Mr Ai said China had "a society that sacrifices people's rights and happiness to make a profit".
According to a recent report, China has nearly a quarter share of the £39.7bn global art market.