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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Zoomorphic Imagination in Chinese Art and Culture

Editors:
Jerome Silbergeld; Eugene Yuejin Wang

Publisher:
University of Hawaiʻi Press

Publication Date:
2016


Abstract:
China has an age-old zoomorphic tradition. The First Emperor
was famously said to have had the heart of a tiger and a wolf. The
names of foreign tribes were traditionally written with characters
that included animal radicals. In modern times, the communist
government frequently referred to Nationalists as “running dogs,”
and President Xi Jinping, vowing to quell corruption at all levels,
pledged to capture both “the tigers” and “the flies.” Splendidly
illustrated with works ranging from Bronze Age vessels to
twentieth-century conceptual pieces, this volume is a
wide-ranging look at zoomorphic and anthropomorphic imagery
in Chinese art. The contributors, leading scholars in Chinese art
history and related fields, consider depictions of animals not as
simple, one-for-one symbolic equivalents: they pursue in depth,
in complexity, and in multiple dimensions the ways that Chinese
have used animals from earliest times to the present day to
represent and rhetorically stage complex ideas about the world
around them, examining what this means about China, past and
present.

In each chapter, a specific example or theme based on real or
mythic creatures is derived from religious, political, or other
sources, providing the detailed and learned examination needed
to understand the means by which such imagery was embedded
in Chinese cultural life. Bronze Age taotie motifs, calendrical
animals, zoomorphic modes in Tantric Buddhist art, Song
dragons and their painters, animal rebuses, Heaven-sent
auspicious horses and foreign-sent tribute giraffes, the fantastic
specimens depicted in the Qing Manual of Sea Oddities, the
weirdly indeterminate creatures found in the contemporary art of
Huang Yong Ping—these and other notable examples reveal
Chinese attitudes over time toward the animal realm, explore
Chinese psychology and patterns of imagination, and explain
some of the critical means and motives of Chinese visual culture.

Table of Contents:

The taotie motif on early Chinese ritual bronzes / Sarah Allan

Labeling the creatures : some problems in Han and Six Dynasties iconography / Susan Bush

Representing the twelve calendrical animals as beastly, human, and hybrid beings in medieval China / Judy Chungwa Ho

The didactic use of animal images in Southern Song Buddhism : the case of Mount Baoding in Dazu, Sichuan / Henrik H. Sørensen

The evolution of soushan tu paintings in the Northern Song period / Carmelita Hinton

Animals in Chinese rebus paintings / Qianshen Bai

The pictorial form of a zoomorphic ecology : dragons and their painters in Song and Southern Song China / Jennifer Purtle

The political animal : metaphoric rebellion in Zhao Yong's painting of heavenly horses / Jerome Silbergeld

How the giraffe became a qilin : intercultural signification in Ming Dynasty arts / Kathlyn Liscomb

Weird science : European origins of the fantastic creatures in the Qing court painting, The manual of sea oddities / Daniel Greenberg

Huang Yong Ping and the power of zoomorphic ambiguity / Kristina Kleutghen

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