Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas
In late 19th-century France (1870-1900), due to openings of ports by the two Opium Wars, more bourgeois people were able to form large-scale collections of Chinese art, through acquisitions in Parisian curio shops or travels to China. Seeing display as an important form of cross-cultural representation, this thesis looks at how these artworks were displayed in domestic homes and museums, and how Chinese culture was interpreted by bourgeois collectors. In terms of scholarship on 19th-century western interpretations of the east, Orientalism by Edward Said has been very influential, with its approach and argument widely applied in studies of different forms of representation of different eastern cultures by different western countries. On one hand, I conceptually agree with the post-colonialist discourse that a display of non-western art is not neutral, such that objects on display have gone through the process of de-contextualization and re-contextualization. On the other, I insist on examining the contextual details and aesthetic effects of different cases in order to analyse if western superiority is a major representation, and the various meanings of each individual display.
Therefore, this research is both macroscopic and microscopic. I look into different elements of each display (its geographical location, architectural structure and style, division of space, system of categorization, and decoration), each collector’s attitude to and interpretation of Chinese culture, and the reasons behind these interpretations in relation to larger French social-political contexts, not limited to western expansionism in China. Considering these three groups of issues, I argue that most displays in late 19th-century France represented an appreciation of Chinese culture, and that such an appreciation was usually emphasized through effects of correlation and equivalence between Chinese and European cultures. The thesis discusses four individual displays that were relatively well known at the time, in the sequence of their formation. They include the house of the d’Ennery couple (1875), the house of Henri Cernuschi (1875), the Musée Guimet of Emile Guimet (1879), and the installation of the collection of Ernest Grandidier in the Louvre Museum (1894). While the first chapter provides an overview of the history of collecting and display of Chinese art before the late 19th century, each of the following four chapters focuses on one display. These four cases demonstrate a set of different but positive interpretations of China, pointing to different aspects of Chinese culture, as well as various forms of symmetry between Chinese and French cultures, such as analogy, comparative studies, and presentation of the history of Sino-French interaction.
Supervisor: Prof. D. Clarke
This study examines Pang Xunqin 龐薰琹 (1906-1985)'s wartime paintings created between 1937 and 1946. An artist who studied art in Paris in the 1920s, Pang actively promoted Western modernist art in Shanghai in the 1930s after returning to China and fled to the southwestern China when the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, along with numerous Chinese intellectuals and institutions. During this journey, he joined the Central Museum then in Kunming and undertook a task to study the folk art and culture of ethnic minority people in Guizhou and accumulated abundant textual and visual materials, which later became the main sources and inspirations of his wartime paintings.
Depicting the ethnic minority people and their native handicraft, Pang's wartime paintings seemingly bear no direct visual relationship with the war; it is argued in the first chapter however that his depiction of the ethnic people belongs to an important type of wartime art displaying the new environment and people that artists encountered in western China. While many artists became interested in and travelled to the west frontier area independently, Pang's encounter with ethnic people occurred within an ethnographic project designed by the Central Museum. The second chapter, by exploring the founding background of the Museum and the social contexts from the 1920s to the 1940s, unveils how the Guizhou Study relates to the museum's vision and function to display a complete and modern China, and how it fits into the social contexts of wartime national crisis.
Distinctly different from the usually biased and utilitarian illustrations of ethnic minority in early Chinese history, Pang’s paintings meticulously depict the highly characteristic ethnic costumes and decorative patterns, based on respectful and admiring attitudes. At the same time, many textual and visual evidences also show Pang’s conscious beautification and idealization of the ethnic figures and environment in his painting. The third chapter, by analyzing comparative visual examples, discusses how Pang’s methods affect the reception of his art in the specific context of wartime period. The fourth chapter discusses Pang’s various methods in the representation and application of decorative patterns in his paintings. Linking the interest in fabric patterns to Pang’s practice in design, this chapter reviews Pang’s design approach and theory developed from the 1920s to the 1940s, and argues that Pang’s paintings were impacted by his design in terms of pattern application and composition method.
Ultimately, Pang Xunqin’s wartime paintings with modern subjects and a synthesized style reflect the artist’s effort to modernize his art by assimilating various sources and inspirations. Comprehensively charting and analyzing the artistic life and art creation of Pang Xunqin during the wartime period, this thesis examines his wartime paintings from different new perspectives by situating it in corresponding social and historical contexts and aims to shed lights on this important topic.
Supervisor: Dr. O. Mansour
Since the rediscovery of the Le Nain by Champfleury in the late nineteenth-century, their unique representations of the poor have both fascinated and puzzled viewers and scholars alike. The Le Nain brothers' work and career have failed to fit in neatly within the aesthetic values of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, or in later art-historical narratives of the rise of classicism in French painting. The singularities of the three brothers' work have generated a large body of interpretation, both iconographic and stylistic in its approach, that has sought to define and explain the nature and motivation of their "realism". This dissertation proposes a fresh approach to this issue, one that is grounded in contemporaneous discussions of the nature of pictorial naturalism, on the Le Nain's attempts to define their status as painters in the context of Paris in the 1630s and 1640s, and on the analysis of their work as portrait painters - an aspect of their work that remains under-studied.
While the fact that the Le Nain brothers were portraitists throughout their careers has long been known to scholars, the implications of this have not been fully explored. This thesis argues that the Le Nain incorporated conventions of portraiture in their paintings of everyday life, and that this practice is one of the reasons why it has proven difficult to interpret their work in conventional terms, whether in terms of the influence of Northern genre, or the academic dichotomy between high history-painting and low genre. It considers the brothers and their œuvre, and argues that the Le Nain's distinctive fusion of genre and portraiture provides an important framework for understanding their work. It also demonstrates how identifying as portraitists became central to the brothers' claim for status in the social milieu of mid-seventeenth-century Paris.
Supervisor: Dr. R.L. Hammers
This thesis examines the evolution of literati portraiture by studying a few extant portraits of literati with different personal backgrounds made at different times during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). I contend that the change in the identity of shi 士 in the Song dynasty (960-1279) and in the Yuan dynasty prompted the development of new modes of representation in literati portraiture. The Northern Song (960-1127) literati who did not have an aristocratic background and joined the rank of shi explored new ways to represent themselves other than in established formats of portraiture designed for the court and aristocrats. In the Yuan dynasty, the literati tried to emphasize multiple and different aspects of their identity and personality by reinventing or amplifying traditional genres of paintings and modifying established modes of representations for portraiture. In particular, a group of wealthy men without an aristocratic or bureaucratic background rose as a result of the blooming economy of Suzhou and its neighbouring areas strove for recognition and affirmation of their status in the literati circles and as shi. They created new modes of representation to define the changing and expanding identity of shi which based on the cultural accomplishment the gentleman and his status within the established community of educated scholars, the local and the Jiangnan literati circles. Yuan literati portraits became increasingly complicated in terms of their pictorial composition, style, practices and larger production as a whole in the Yuan dynasty to cater for the changing and expanding identity of shi. In early Yuan, Zhao Mengfu 趙孟頫 (1254-1322) added a landscape to his self-portrait to explain his complex identity as a recluse at court. In mid-Yuan, four renowned scholars who had served at the capital were represented in the Portraits of four scholars by incorporating iconography of Confucian worthies and more specifically of the Song Daoxue 道學 (Learning of the Way) scholars to emphasize their identity as successors of Daotung 道統 (Transmission of the Way). From mid to late Yuan, the rising wealthy literati residing in Suzhou and its nearby areas in the east of Lake Tai adopted three new formats in portraiture to define their new identity. The first mode was to represent the subject in a seated position with scholarly accoutrements accompanied with writings in the form of inscriptions or colophons by the subject and/or friends. The second format depicted the wealthy literati in their thatched halls. Some of these representations of thatched halls could also be read as pictorial representations of the sobriquet of the subject such as The Thatched Hall of Zhuxi made for Yang Qian 楊謙 (b. 1283). The third format, the all-embracing "painting package," possibly invented by Yang Qian was exemplified in the Small portrait of the reclusive gentleman Yang Zhuxi. I argue that Yang Qian not only sought to gain recognition in the literati circle as a cultivated recluse through these two portrait commissions. He also endeavoured to establish himself as a leader in art who set the new standard of representation of the literatus self so as to compete for cultural authority with other wealthy elites. The modes of representations Yang Qian developed were used and further developed by the literati in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
Supervisor: Dr. Y.W. Koon
At the turn of the twentieth century, as Japan expanded its territory by colonizing other Asian nations, the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was signed in 1910 and Korea lost its sovereignty. In Political turmoil, the formation of national and cultural identity was constantly challenged, and the struggle was not argued in words alone. It was also embedded in various types of visual cultures, with narratives changing under the shifting political climate. This thesis focuses on paintings exhibited in the Joseon Mijeon (The Joseon Fine Art Exhibition) (1922-1944), which was supervised by the Japanese colonial government and dominated, in the beginning, by Japanese artists and jurors. By closely examining paintings of 'local color' and 'provincial color', which emphasized the essence of a "Korean" culture that accentuated its Otherness based on cultural stereotypes, the thesis explores how representations of Korea both differentiated it from Japan and characterized its relationship with the West.
In order to legitimize its colonial rule, politically driven ideologies of pan-Asianism (the pursuit of a unified Asia) and Japanese Orientalism (the imperialistic perception of the rest of Asia) were evident in the state-approved arts. The thesis explores how the tension of modern Japan as both promoting an egalitarian Asia and asserting its superiority within Asia was shown in the popular images that circulated in the form of postcards, manga, magazine illustrations, and more importantly in paintings. Moreover, this project examines both the artists who actively submitted works to the Joseon Mijeon and the group of artists who opposed the Joseon Mijeon and worked outside of the state-approved system to consider the complexity of responses by artists who sought to be both modern and Korean under Japanese colonial rule.
Supervisor: Dr. Y.W. Koon
Wu Li 吳歷 (1632-1718) was an early Qing scholar artist who dedicated half his lifetime to religious pursuits. He was not only one of the many Chinese Christian converts in the seventeenth century, but one of the few early Chinese Jesuit priests. He was part of the educated elite community in Changshu, where foreign Catholic priests would visit and stay. Although Wu Li was exposed to Christianity at an early age, it was only when he was around forty sui that he turned to Christianity, possibly prompted after the deaths of close friends and family. Thereafter, he assisted European missionaries for a few years before leaving home to study in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macao. On becoming a priest, he dedicated all his efforts in spreading his faith, and to take care of the Christian communities in Shanghai and Jiading. Throughout his priesthood, Wu Li continued with his scholarly practices including painting and poetry. It is in his poetry where elements of his Christian faith are most pronounced and there have been numerous research efforts focusing on this area of his metier. In contrast, current scholarship seldom examines the role of his faith in painting, and when there are interests, the tendency is to focus on the tension between his training in the Chinese literati painting tradition and his exposure to imported western artifacts. The predominant conclusion is that, as a painter, Wu was not influenced by western styles and elements, and maintained his status as an orthodox style painter. However, given Wu’s dedication to the church, his many poems on the Christian faith, and the close connection between poetry and painting, it is unlikely that Wu’s paintings remained untouched. This thesis unveils how Christianity, which had taken a new form in China and had captured the attention of the scholar-elite class, directed Wu Li’s approach to life, shaped his perception of nature, and, as I will show, inspired new ways of painting landscapes. I will scrutinize the Christian environment in seventeenth century China and within Wu Li’s immediate circles, and use the lens of religion to enrich a more nuance reading of Wu’s pictorial language. One of the key ways of breaking new investigative ground is to consider the function of paintings. As Wu Li presented gifts, including both didactic Christian artifacts and non-didactic landscape paintings to Christian converts, I examine the reciprocating relationships between Wu Li and his recipients, as well as his messages for them, which were driven by his priestly duty and ultimately his Christian faith.
Supervisor: Dr. R.L. Hammers
This thesis addresses the question of how the Mongol imperium’s patronage in combination with Quanzhen Taoist proselytism inspired the mural paintings and architectural forms of the Yonglegong永樂宮. The Taoist temple of Yonglegong was constructed during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) on the site of the former residence of the Taoist immortal L? Dongbin呂洞賓. During the period of the temple’s construction from 1244 to 1358, the Quanzhen 全真order, to which the Yonglegong was affiliated, thrived under the Mongol imperium. Previous scholarship has emphasized the Quanzhen order’s autonomous and exclusive role in the formation of Yonglegong. An analysis of the development of the Quanzhen from its establishment in late Jin dynasty (1115-1234) to its rise to prominence during the Yuan suggests that it received significant imperial supports and thus was not wholly autonomous. The Quanzhen order’s development was intertwined with and propounded by imperial patronage. The Yonglegong’s status as one the three holiest patriarch halls of the order ensured its centrality as a showpiece of the Mongol-Quanzhen collaboration. This study explores the iconographic innovations of Chaoyuantu 朝元圖 (Paying homage to the Origins), a representation of the Taoist universe, a subject that existed in pre-Yuan art; and the Hagiography of L? Dongbin, a new category of Taoist imagery. These two mural painting programs show different modes of appropriation. In the Chaoyuantu, the Mongol imperium altered the scheme of depiction and inserted new iconography in order to register their claims over established traditions of representation. As for the depiction of L? Dongbin, prior to Yonglegong, the immortal was only represented in single scenes, not in a fully developed biographical narrative. The Hagiography of L? Dongbin represents arguably a new genre of narrative depiction that facilitated an alternative ideology. Such alterations are regarded in this thesis as evidence that illustrates the shared interests of the Mongol imperium and the Quanzhen order as they intersected. In comparison with the mural paintings, the Yuan dynasty architectural structures’ significance has not been adequately recognized in earlier scholarship. This thesis reexamines the implications of the architectural features’ parameters and the unique alignment of structures in the Yonglegong. As such this study acknowledges the Yonglegong’s multiple identities as a complex that serves both the imperial and religious interests. It also evaluates the extent to which the architectural structures directed the organization and presentation of the mural paintings they housed. Through the reclamation of Yongleong’s historical context, aligned as it was with a Mongol-Quanzhen collaboration, this study recognizes the larger significance of the temple complex. The Mongol imperium in combination with the Quanzhen order have given rise to a new formulation of Taoist mural paintings and architecture with new iconography, themes and modes of representation.
Supervisor: Dr. Y.W. Koon (primary); Prof. G.M. Thomas
During the early to middle Qing period, from 1644-1796, Manchu emperors were keen collectors of so-called ‘strange machines’ from Europe. These included scientific, primarily astronomical, instruments such as globes, armillary spheres or sundials, as well as mechanical clocks, watches and automata. European missionaries and trade delegations introduced these items as gifts to the Qing imperial emperors to further their respective religious and commercial agendas. Manchu rulers initially appreciated clocks and scientific instruments as a means of facilitating the control of time and space, essential in asserting imperial legitimacy. By incorporating European objects into the multicultural identity cultivated at court, they confirmed their status as universal rulers. This thesis examines the changing role of European objects within the visual and material culture of the Qing courts across the reign periods of emperors Kangxi (r.1662-1722), Yongzheng (r.1723-1735) and Qianlong (r.1736-1796). It will show their transformation from statecraft instruments of high political and ritual significance to decorative domestic collectibles, ultimately rejected as insignificant toys. European clocks and instruments will be investigated not as technical, but as art objects in their own right in an examination of Qing court painting, architecture and decorative arts alongside key examples of the objects themselves. As patronage and collecting were regarded as an essential imperial duty, requiring high personal involvement from each emperor, the way in which European objects were integrated into Qing court culture varied considerably under each ruler. Kangxi created the foundation for the role of clocks and instruments at court through his engagement with the European sciences, which he employed to fully consolidate his emperorship. Yongzheng maintained, but did not further develop, his father’s legacy with regard to objects from Europe. Qianlong embraced the ‘strange machines’ from Europe, albeit less as tools for statecraft, but as highly decorative collectibles, which appealed to his taste for foreign exotica. Over time, and with flourishing production in the imperial palace workshops, curiosities from Europe became highly integrated into the visual culture developed under each emperor, remaining foreign by nature, but appearing increasingly as familiar court objects, enhanced with symbolic ornaments reflecting the different cultures within the Qing empire, or merged with traditional signifiers of imperial power. This development highlights the way in which the concept of Europe, and its representation through certain types of objects, was actively used to shape the ‘otherness’ that defined the visual identity of the Manchus, thereby promoting the emperors’ legitimacy as universal rulers. Each emperor’s personality and taste influenced the visual expressions of their reign through patronage and collecting habits. In their roles as collectors and patrons, Qing emperors exercised their own form of time and space control over the ‘strange machines’ they owned through manipulation of their context, form and original function.
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas
This thesis explores the various roles of food in Impressionism by examining paintings of food so as to sort out their relationship with one another and their linkage to modern life in Paris in the 19th century. Food was related to spectacle, class reconfiguration, gender relations, consumerism and capitalism, and leisure, all of which were part of the revolution of modernity in Paris. By analyzing Impressionist images of food production, display and consumption in relation to these modern social and historical developments, the thesis explores the relationship between food and people, meaning the social dimension of food culture. In addition to standard art historical approaches, two research methods are especially important. First is to understand the general historical context of food imagery by examining 19th-century cookbooks, novels and treatises related to food, and popular visual culture including posters, menus, and prints. Second is to identify and analyze particular food motifs by studying recipes, statistics, and dictionaries of food. Five chapters deal with five aspects of food. Chapter one talks about the crystallization of food into spectacle as a result of the conspicuous consumption facilitated by the construction of Les Halles, the central food market. Chapter two examines two different kinds of food production – rural agriculture and urban artisan cuisine – as expressions of two dissimilar attitudes towards labor, linked to competing conceptions of time as continuous and discontinuous. Chapter three raises the issue of sociability, where the pleasure of eating can only be obtained through the engendering of a semi-private space linking private eating to public identity. Chapter four shows how the coalescing of food and women in Impressionism intensifies the pleasures of visually and physically consuming the female body, while paradoxically entrapping male viewers in desire. Whereas these first four chapters emphasize social aspects of food, chapter five shows how food affected the interiority of particular artists, demonstrating the embodiment of psychological traits in Impressionist still lifes of food. Overall, the thesis shows that Impressionist paintings of food actively interpreted and defined modern food culture as a continuous process of spectacularization and systemization, and that they consciously draw parallels between food consumption and visual consumption as similar processes of pleasurable consumption. By revealing that Impressionist food imagery sometimes does not comply with other Impressionist genres in interpreting modernity, the thesis opens new ways of thinking about both food culture and Impressionism.
Supervisor: Dr. R.L. Hammers (primary), Dr. C.D. Muir
This thesis addresses the evolution of ting 亭 (pavilion) into a multivalent architectural motif in Chinese painting up to the Yuan dynasty (1260-1368). Ni Zan 倪瓚 (1306-1374), one of the four great painting masters of the Yuan, explored the representation of ting and modified this architectural structure into his signatory motif. His landscape paintings are famous for the feature of the empty ting, but the implications of this iconography are often overlooked. Traditionally the scholarship on Ni Zan’s paintings relies on embellished biographical myths of the artist. By reexamining Ni Zan’s historical circumstances, I contend that Ni Zan did not live a leisurely life after he lost his home, the time during which he created the empty ting motif. A survey on Ni Zan’s oeuvre attests that Ni Zan painted figures in the ting in early paintings – a controversial point not recognized in earlier scholarship.By scrutinizing Ni Zan’s writing on tings, this study shows that Ni Zan altered his conception on this building; it became associated with desolated landscape while at the same time suggested a place of refuge. This shift was parallel to the imagery in Ni Zan paintings in which he transformed the ting into empty structure in his later years. To comment on the literati frustration he experienced with the dynastic change, Ni Zan reinterpreted the empty ting as a complex iconographical motif in painting. Contemporaneous viewers saw nuanced meanings in the empty ting, regarding them as nostalgic and/or unhappy meditations on the transitory nature of living. I contend that the empty ting represented a personalized architectural structure for Ni Zan. It was a place of refuge in which personal feelings and memories were lodged so that viewers, his circle of friends, could gather again metaphorically in the pictorial structure in order to grieve about the transitory nature of happiness, to remember personal loss and to lament their bad fate of living during dynastic change. The depiction of the ting for personal expression relates to the larger history of the use of architectural motifs to make meaning in painting. By exploring the history of the inclusion of architecture as subject matter for painting, this study illustrates how architecture, in addition to its physical functions, was an established venue to convey cultural contents. The ting, in particular, was favored by the literati and became a theme in their literary pursuits. In the Yuan dynasty, the ting also had become a distinct subject in painting. It was in this context that Ni Zan created his painting with the ting. The ting’s association with literati culture motivated Ni Zan to explore its representation, and was pivotal in the establishment of his literati status. Through detailed analysis of the representation of architectural motifs in painting, this thesis evaluates Ni Zan in art history and reclaims the meanings of his empty ting motif in his historical context.
Supervisor: Dr. C.D. Muir
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
This thesis aims to point out primarily the layered meanings behind Taiping art. It will provide an overview of the art made by the Taipings, and thereafter show how different political parties in post-Taiping China have manipulated the images and values of the Taipings to their advantage. A discussion of each party’s ideology will also be included. The contextual approach adopted by this thesis intends to illustrate the relationship between art and the Taiping Rebellion over time.
The visual materials discussed in this thesis are the murals and wood engravings of the Taipings, a series of paintings made in 1886 as part of an imperial project and Shanghai lithographic illustrated publications in relation to the project, and the visual propaganda of Nationalists and Communists of the twentieth century which embody the two parties’ own interpretations of Taiping history.
In view of the complexity of the subject, this thesis is primarily an information collecting exercise, offering a wider academic perspective, and revealing the characteristics of the visual works related to the Taipings, so that there can be more interpretations of the nuances of the Taiping Rebellion in the study of Chinese art history.
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker
This study examines the transformation in the aesthetics of tea culture in Japan during the period between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries. For this study, I have chosen Muqi and Yujian’s Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, because several works of these two painters are preserved in Japan.
Firstly, I explore Muqi and Yujian’s biographies and their style of painting through Wu Taisu’s Songzhai meipu and some other Chinese materials. Muqi’s background of his Zen circle and his painting method which used yipin style and the gradation of ink colour can be observed. For Yujian, his excellence is demonstrated by his ability in three aspects: painting, composing poems and calligraphy. Additionally, he had a keen eye for nature. These aspects all appear in his landscape paintings. Through Japanese material, Tōhaku gasetsu, I observed a reversal in the assessment of Muqi and Yujian which occurred in the late sixteenth century.
To examine the reception of Muqi and Yujian by Japanese tea society, I divide the period between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries into three parts. The first part corresponds to the fourteenth century which I term “the dawning of tea ceremony.” For this part, I chose Japanese materials Butsunichi-an komotsu mokuroku, and Ōraimono. Muqi’s good reputation is observed. The tea gathering of this period was showy and extravagant ceremony. The ornamentation for this ceremony required that multiple paintings and art works be displayed together.
In the second part, which corresponds approximately to the fifteenth century, I focus on “Shoin no cha.” Muqi and Yujian’s Eight Views of Xiaoxiang are recognized in Gyomotsu on’e mokuroku, Muromachi-dono gyokō okazariki and Kundaikan sayū chōki. Ashikaga shogunate, and the dōbōshū were at the centre of artistic activities of this period. Muromachi-dono gyokō okazariki demonstrates its significance in the exhibition arranged by the noted connoisseur, Nōami. Ashikaga shogunate displayed his cultural hegemony by the exhibitions of masterpieces of Chinese paintings and art. The tea ceremony during this period seemed mainly to be held in the large space with an elegant exhibition.
The last part corresponds to the middle of the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries. I focus on “Sōan no cha.” This part demonstrates the mature period of tea ceremony and the developed concepts used in selecting tea utensils. Consulting Yamanoue Sōji ki, we can see that Yujian’s paintings were evaluated as being higher than Muqi’s. In Sōji’s critical assessment, Muqi’s paintings were assessed as being out of date. Sōkyū’s unique expressions are also noticeable. Behind the fashion of the tea ceremony exists the patronage of the circle of rengashi, Zen monks and rich merchant in Sakai. It is also observed that the poetics of renga seem to have had an important influence on tea ceremony. In addition, the tea ceremonies arranged by Toyotomi Hideyoshi show the political and economical powers which were attached to a tea ceremony.
Through this study, the changing context of tea ceremony which associated with a developing aesthetic sense is explored.
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas
The understanding of realism in art has been multi-faceted and constantly changing over time and in various cultures. In approaching realism, all of the divergent understandings have generated an extremely high level of complexity and obscurity. The great variety of opinions about what constitutes realism over the last two centuries has made it especially problematic to sort out exactly what is meant by ‘realism.’
Based on the assumption that there is no single, fixed definition of realism, this thesis examines the complexity of realism as a concept in painting by proposing a five-dimensional approach. This approach suggests that there are five fundamental, distinct, and dissimilar perspectives through which realism has been understood. The five perspectives are: (1) the dimension of the represented, which concerns what is represented in a painting; (2) the dimension of the method, which concerns the methods, approach, or techniques adopted by a painter to represent the represented; (3) the dimension of the picture, which centers on the painting itself as an object or as a representational system presenting specific pictorial cues; (4) the dimension of the viewing process, carried out by the spectator when viewing a painting; and (5) the dimension of the experienced, which deals with the effects or feelings experienced by the spectator in the process of viewing a painting.
The first chapter of the thesis lays out this five-dimensional model, based on a detailed analysis of six theories of realism in art presented by Leon Battista Alberti, Ernst Gombrich, Nelson Goodman, Michael Fried, Svetlana Alpers, and Norman Bryson. Three subsequent chapters then focus on writings about John Constable, whose landscape paintings are widely considered landmarks in the development of realism in Western art. Each chapter analyzes the diverse approaches to realism found in critical and historical writings of a particular period, beginning with Constable’s contemporaries in 1802 and stretching to the present.
By combining these theoretical and historical forms of analysis, the thesis argues that the five-dimensional approach helps systematically explain and clarify the complexity and sophistication of the scholarship on both Constable and realism. It also helps us understand in what ways all the dissimilar approaches adopted by scholars in analyzing Constable’s realism are interrelated, especially in exploring both the processes of art making and the processes of art receiving. By embracing highly diverse approaches to realism in scholarly writings about Constable, the five-dimensional model helps us learn more about the ways in which people have conceptualized and interpreted art in European culture.
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas
The Bible fundamentally defines Jewish identity. Its meticulous descriptions of Jewish history, faith and geographical movements have deeply affected how Jews and Gentiles alike have perceived Jewish people. The biblical identities designated to Jewish people are of two kinds; first, they are the descendents of ancient Israelites, and second, the brothers of the Arabs. These two identities played a crucial role in defining Jewish people in the Orient in art of the 19th and early 20th century.
The major aim of this thesis is to explore the relation between Jewish imagery and Orientalism. This thesis does not follow Edward Said’s approach in understanding the Orient by imperialistic terms and by focusing only on the Islamic population. Instead, it extends the scope of Orientalism to Jewish imagery of the Orient to scrutinize various concepts of Orientalism and visual elements used for Jewish identity by both Jewish and non-Jewish artists.
Chapter one overviews the development of Jewish imagery from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. It demonstrates a general trend from symbolic representations to objective realism in Jewish imagery, introducing the consistent use of visual codes to indicate Jewish Otherness, early Orientalist depictions of Jews, and more objective representations of Jewish life.
Chapter two deals with Jewish imagery in French Orientalist art. It seeks to show that painters’ association of Jews as Israelites and as Arabs led to an admiring representations of Jews, with Jewish festivity and costume elements in exoticizing Jews. It also examines the intertwining of Judeo-Arabic identity.
Chapter three studies Jewish imagery produced in Central and Eastern Europe. It first surveys the various genre scenes of contemporary Jewish life that had no connection to Orientalism. Then it examines Jewish artists’ responses to Orientalism, which were based on a Jewish search for roots and a return to the homeland, rather than on imperialistic expansion. Examples demonstrate Jewish artists’ self-projection of biblical identities onto themselves and fellow Jewish people to reinforce their links with Palestine and the enriching function of Arabic identity in constructing Jewish identity.
The final chapter focuses on the Jewish national movement, Zionism, and its art in the Middle East. It analyzes art created by the Bezalel Art School and the Modernists, most of whom were Jewish artists who traveled to Palestine and worked there in the first three decades of the 20th century. It particularly examines art with different Orientalist tendencies that were still based on biblical associations to call for a national return, to paint local Jewish models, and to set the local Arabs as a contrasting image to Jews in order to refashion a new and tough national Jewish identity.
This research aims to generate alternative perspectives in understanding Jewish identity as represented in art in the context of Orientalism, and to stimulate more critical analysis of both Jewish art and Orientalism.
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker
Dream, pilgrimage and dragons are remarkable themes in Kegon engi, the illustrated narrative picture scrolls in the Japanese Kamakura period (1185-1333) which tells the legendary tales of two Kegon (C. Huayan) sect patriarchs, Gangyō and Gishō. Gangyō becomes enlightened after having a demonic dream. He is recommended to the emperor by a dragon king and then becomes one of the patriarchs of the Silla Kegon sect. Gishō makes a
pilgrimage to China and meets a beautiful lady Zemmyō. She has transformed into a dragon and used her supernatural power to help him to achieve his Buddhist goal.
Living in an era of warfare and disasters, many Kamakura people believed that they were living in the time of mappō, the end of the dharma. In this hopeless time, besides the old Buddhist sects, many new Buddhist sects arose to answer people’s need for salvation. Some Buddhist sects created narrative picture scrolls as their didactic tools, which illustrate the stories of their patriarchs or the eminent priests. Kegon engi is seen as the didactic tool of an old Japanese Buddhist sect, Kegon sect, to revive against the new Buddhist sects.
Previous research has discussed the dating, attribution, stylistic analysis and reconstruction of Kegon engi, and the analyses have mainly focused on discussing the creation and the narration methods. However, the meaning of a narrative is generated through a narrating process, not a creative process, in which the narrator communicates with the audience. To recount a story, the audience inevitably needs to re-interpret the meaning conveyed in a narrative. In this process, values and thoughts of the audience will unconsciously affect their interpretations of the narrative. Thus, to study this kind of ideology of a narrative picture scroll, we can also find out what kind of ideological belief existed at that time.
From Gangyō’s dream we can see that the audience perceived the universe as a non-dual totality, therefore the dream sometimes does not differentiate between the illusion, vision or reality. We can find that the demon and the good teacher are two complementary subjects in a pilgrimage and the pilgrimage was perceived as a reflection of a karmic life. By analysing the story of the dragon-lady Zemmyō, we can see the perception of viewing woman’s body as inferior and defiled that hinders woman from obtaining Buddhist enlightenment. The analytical methods used in this thesis include studying the Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist narrative arts, examining the legendary tales in Japan and China, and studying ideological analysis derived from Western culture.
The development of narrative picture scrolls reached its zenith in the Kamakura period. The various genres and artistic styles of scrolls in this period reflect the social and cultural complexity of this era. Examining the ideology in Kegon engi gives a way to look into the Kamakura society from another interesting and valuable perspective.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan, Prof. G.M. Thomas and Prof. David Clarke
Art schools and the modernization of Chinese art is one major topic in twentieth century Chinese painting studies. Art schools are viewed as evidence showing Chinese art responded to the ‘Western Impact’ and were an integral part in the Westernization process of Chinese art. Grounded on solid primary sources, this research looks at the first 25 years’ history of the most important and influential art school in Shanghai, the Shanghai Art College, by focusing on the art school’s interactive process with the modernization of Chinese art. It argues the Shanghai Art College did not only respond to modern conditions but also contributed to the modernization process. It created a new mode of art education institution, new form of art education, new artists and through art education and artists it also changed art. A theoretical framework is formulated by taking approaches including Functionalism in Sociology of Education, micro-economics, an art historical approach and an art institutional approach in Shanghai visual culture studies. The art school is viewed as an organization that had operational goals and two most direct outputs of art education and artists.
The first chapter views the organization as a whole. It shows the emergence of private Shanghai art schools as a result of public demands for art and Liu Haisu created the typical Shanghai private art school mode with a ‘market character’: the school followed and mastered free market principles and the only operational goal was seeking survival and development. Chapter Two argues that under the influence of the operational goal, the school created a new form of art education. It created a popular mode of Western painting education and commenced modern research on art-related subjects. Chapter Three shows the Shanghai Art College modernized artists by incorporating them into public space. It moved artists’ teaching and learning into the public environment, incorporated artists’ economic mode into the public fabric and provided a shortcut for artists to achieve fame. It also expanded the public space for artists’ activism and assisted women artists in entering public space. Through art education and artists, the Shanghai Art College also modernized art by broadening the practice and study scope of art and ‘socializing’ art. It developed more social functions of art and exposed art to more social influences. Besides, it also participated in the modernization of literati painting, a process that scholarly thought was dismissed from painting.
The conclusion is that modernization in the Shanghai Art College was not a simple process of ‘Westernization’. The Shanghai Art College contributed to new meanings of modernity.
Supervisor: Dr. C.D. Muir and Dr. Edwin Lai
Publications related to women artists in Republican China are scarce and most of them only give a cursory glance at the subject. Thus, in order to have a better understanding ofwomen artists in that period, an in-depth research is necessary. This thesis focuses on the first consciously formed women’s art society in modem China, the Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Painting Society. It was founded by a group of Shanghai women artists in 1 934 and it lasted for about thirteen years. Its members came from different Chinese provinces and cities, and most of them belonged to the middle or upper classes in China. Mainly through holding public exhibitions, its main objective was to gather women artists together so as to promote them and raise their status.
This thesis considers the Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Paintìng Society through five main aspects: 1) the historical context for its emergence, 2) its activities which included mainly the annual exhibitions, 3) the membership numbers, the background and roles of the founding members and its expansion, 4) the members ‘ artworks and ways of selling them, and 5) a comparison ofthe Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Painting
Society with three other groups, each with elements in common but with key differences. The three groups are earlier Chinese women artists, Shanghai contemporary women, and a male- dominated contemporary art society, the Chinese Painting Society.
This research project mainly relied on primary materials, namely interviews with a member ofthe Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Painting Society, friends and students of the members, contemporary publications such as newspapers and j oumals, combined with secondary sources. Based on all these available materials, I conclude that the Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Painting Society was not only a gender-specific society, but was also an art society founded mostly by a group of celebrated and affluent women, most of whom promoted Chinese painting. The Society and its members were a certain degree both modem and feminist.
This research project, which aims to give an in-depth study ofthe Chinese Women’s Calligraphy and Painting Society, attempts to place it within the context of early modem art history in China. It is not merely a case study of an art society, but, as importantly, studies different aspects of and issues relating to Chinese women artists in the Republican period.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan and Prof. David Clarke
Ren Bonian (1840-1895), a leading painter of nineteenth century Shanghai, was well known for his technical skill and versatility. Among the wide range of subject matter that he mastered in his career, he showed particular interest in the subject of Zhong Kui, the queller of demons in Chinese folklore. Ren painted Zhong Kui repeatedly throughout his career with considerable variety and invention. More than forty works are known, making it his most repeated figure painting subject.
The four chapters in the thesis consider Ren’s Zhong Kui paintings from different angles. The thesis begins by examining the features of Ren’s Zhong Kui paintings first in terms of style, then the representation of the deity. The artist shows considerable familiarity with the conventions of the subject, while his works are distinguished by clever manipulation of compositional elements to generate visual interest as well as ease in the adaptation of a variety of sources, both past and present. The thesis goes on the consider Ren’s Zhong Kui paintings in relation to the continued belief in the deity in the nineteenth century. It is found that the works are directly connected, in their dating and visual elements, to the popular custom of displaying Zhong Kui images to expel evil around the fifth lunar month. The ready demand for such images following seasonal practices presents a significant reason for the artist’s repeated painting of the subject. The final chapter of the thesis discusses the trends in nineteenth century Zhong Kui paintings, notably the use of the subject for satire and social criticism. It argues that such meanings are not a major concern in Ren’s depictions of the deity. Instead, the artist presents Zhong Kui in a largely sympathetic light as a humanised figure – a manner of portrayal that would have lasting influence on later representations of the subject.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. G.M. Thomas
Contextualized with the global (American-centred) public art discourse, related practices in China, and growing interest in the local public at a time of political change, this thesis examines public art in Hong Kong between the mid 1990s and early 2000s. The social and political context of Hong Kong makes this study an important example contributing to the international discourse of public art and challenging our understanding of that discourse.
An emerging interest in art in the public realm is spotted at the historical moment of Hong Kong’s handover. A public performance by Pun Sing-lui, the Pillar of Shame, the Forever Blooming Bauhinia, the Monument in Commemoration of Hong Kong Reunification with China and the Hong Kong Tripod illustrate how art played a part in the obsessive contestation of public meanings. The examples reveal that the “public” was a discursive sphere, where empowered discourses (directed by agents with power over whatever form of public space – physical, political, the press, etc.) contended with one another. Art was instrumental as it configured opinions and imagination.
In the first few years after the establishment of the Special Administration Region, public art was pursued for fashioning, representing or rethinking the local public character. The municipal “Public Art Scheme,” the Mass Transit Railway’s “Art in Stations,” Artist Commune’s painting on electricity supply boxes project, Kacey Wong’s City Space – Mysterious Art Installation in the City, Sabrina Fung’s Art Windows, Siu King-chung and Howard Chan’s Home Affairs, and Young Hay’s Landscape demonstrated a variety of approaches: installing art in physical public space, temporarily annexing public space and approaching the public as a subject of inquiry. This methodological variety was conditioned by the agents’ varied levels of access to public space and has two implications: when space is all owned, as in the present case, public art has to negotiate with spatial confines for public connection; thus public art, in no definite form, can be interpreted as an orientation towards the public in any form of art.
This orientation can also be found in general art practices. Seen in perspective of modernism’s art for art’s sake and contemporary art’s rekindled interest in real life, Kwok Mang-ho’s advocacy for art everywhere, Kith Tsang’s Hello! Hong Kong Part Four and his involvement with the June Fourth flower presentations to Cesar’s The Flying Frenchman, Young Hay’s Bonjour, Young Hay (after Courbet), So Yan-kei’s Bitter Gourd No. 5 and Memo, and Kacey Wong’s Drift City exemplify public orientations in works that are not specifically conceived as “public art.” Without presuming any positive relationship between art and the public, these works offer a critical view to the distance between the two paradigms. As the artists approached the paradigmatic divergemnce differently, the varying interfaces provoke different kinds of Foucauldian heterotopias, all reflective of the art-society relationship.
Public art, besides being an ideological category, is also a field for understanding the correlation between art and society. This survey on public art in Hong Kong calls for a new conception of art and new standards for evaluation.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
Deng Shiru (鄧石如, 1743—1805) was one of the most remarkable and influential calligraphers and seal engravers in the Qing (1644—1911) period, and made a considerable contribution to Chinese art history. However, there have been only few studies of his life and artistic career in any language, especially in western languages.
By introducing several calligraphic elements, such as calligraphic scripts, calligraphic techniques and calligraphic styles into his seal making, Deng Shiru has made great contributions to the development of seal-engraving art. He enriched the appearance of seals by the adoption of different calligraphic scripts and the application of his sophisticated skills and knowledge. He also imported calligraphic styles into his seal-engraving, and started a tradition of stylistic association between these two art forms. As a result of his influence, calligraphy became a very important element during the revival period of seal-engraving. He eventually gained lots of followers, which allowed him to own his seal school, the Deng School (Dengpai 鄧派), and it became extremely influential for the subsequent development.
The study involved a survey of the primary and secondary literature on Deng Shiru’s life and his artistic career, and particularly a stylistic analysis of his seal-engraving techniques. An analysis of the relevant historical sources enables his career to be reconstructed on a sound chronological basis, and allows his work to be seen in its proper context.
Moreover, the study makes an important contribution to a relatively little-studied area of Chinese art history. It corrects a number of misconceptions in previous studies and helps to establish a more reliable history of the seal-engraving art, and also widens our knowledge of Deng Shiru and his art works, especially those of his seal works. It is hoped that it will serve as a platform for other researchers for further studies.
Supervisor: Dr. R. Ghose and Prof. G.M. Thomas
This study discusses contemporary Indian painting by women, a newly documented field, while focusing on the work of Arpana Caur. A brief overview of selected periods of Indian painting in chapter one explains the evolution from the modern period to the present and notes how references to Indian art history surface in contemporary painting. Chapter two then concentrates on the effects of history, society, and sociocultural legacies on the work of Indian women artists, which enables their art to be contextualized and their thematic choices analysed. These artists have been impacted by history, society, and personal experience, weaving these elements together on the canvas and expressing themselves to the world around them to voice what is shaping their identity and values.
Keeping this in mind, Arpana Caur's work is examined in chapter three. A consideration of her background, where religion and personal elements prevail, is reflected and revealed distinctly on the canvas. The study pinpoints the existence of direct links between her images and her life, together with a strong acknowledgment of her Indian heritage and emphasis on contemporary social themes.
The artist is then placed in the context of her peers by analysing the works of eight living Indian women painters residing on the subcontinent. Analysis of at least one image by each artist discloses that, like Caur, they boldly incorporate a personal ethos in piecing together their identity by painting the body, portraying the strength of Indian women in facing multiple and often contradictory social roles.
This thesis then traces the progress of images of women in Indian art in order to discern an evolution from previous objectified forms prevalent since the Indus Valley civilisation. It is argued that the image of women has indeed evolved in modern times, becoming both contested and celebrated by women painters as they often incorporate their own sensibilities, emotions, criticisms, and experiences on the canvas.
This research and critical analysis suggests that contemporary Indian women painters are confidently carving out an important space for themselves in the Indian art world, as well as universally. Dramatically examining the intersection of public and private worlds through their paintings, these artists are passionately representing Indian women's varied experience, forging their resilient identity as they establish their place in the world of Indian art.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke
This thesis addresses the development of Modern Dance choreography in 1990s Hong Kong. Professionalism in Hong Kong Modern Dance was marked by the establishment of the first Modern Dance company in Hong Kong, City Contemporary Dance Company, in 1979. However, it was during the 1990s Modern Dance developed as a culture in Hong Kong. This research aims to provide the first comprehensive study of local Modern Dance choreographies in 1990s. The thesis focuses in particular on works of three prominent Modern Dance choreographers, Mui Cheuk Yin, Yuri Ng and Pun Siu Fai.
There are altogether five chapters in the thesis: Chapter One is an outline of the situation of Hong Kong Modern Dance up to the end of 1980s. Establishments of two professional performance companies that deal with Modern Dance, CCDC and Zuni Icosahedron are discussed. Works created by the two companies by Willy Tsao, Helen Lai, Danny Yung and Edward Lam are analyzed. The role of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and the Arts Development Council are also analyzed; Chapter Two is an analysis of Mui Cheuk Yin’s works. She practiced Chinese Dance before she came to choreograph for CCDC. This chapter discusses her Chinese Dance training and her involvement in Contact Improvisation. Both her solos and group dances are analyzed; Chapter Three is an analysis of Yuri Ng’s works. He practiced Ballet Dance before he came to choreograph for CCDC. This chapter analyzes how he adapted choreographic ideas from classical ballet to the local Hong Kong environment; Chapter Four is an analysis of Pun Siu Fai’s works. He practiced Chinese Dance before he worked for CCDC. This chapter analyzes how he expressed his discontent against traditional Chinese Dance performance structure and examines his Environmental Dance series in 1998 and 1999; Chapter Five highlights other choreographers who also presented works in 1990s Hong Kong. The influence in their dance training, whether in Hong Kong or overseas, will be analyzed. Main dancers and the associated Companies mentioned included: Jacky Yu from E-side Modern
Dance Company, Andy Wong and Francis Leung from DanceArt Hong Kong, Victor Ma and Mandy Yim from Y-Space, Abby Chan and Yeung Wai Mei from McMuiMui Dancemble, Dick Wong and Daniel Yeung.
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker
Kayarna Matazo (b.1927) is a leading Nihonga artist who has the reputation of being a Rimpa artist. However, none of the art critics responsible for creating this image have given sufficient reasons to justify this simplistic classification of Kayama's works. Understanding whether he should be considered to be a Rimpa artist or not is particularly important because how his works are looked at or from which fixed ideological viewpoints they are studied depends on how they are classified. If one wishes to categorise him simply as a Rimpa artist, then his major project, to establish a new Nihonga, would be left in the wind. The aim of this study is to focus on what Kayarna attempts to paint in his works, and how he helped Nihonga to recover its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.
This research is cartied out through various sources including magazines at the time, his biography, his contemporary Nihonga (Japanese-style) and yoga (Western-style) artists as well as art critics from both sides, while also considering the socio-political background. Particular attention is paid to interpreting possible meanings for Rimpa and Nihonga.
After an introduction in the first chapter, the second chapter begins by clarifying the origins and definition of the Rimpa school and moves on to discuss whether Kayama should be viewed as a Rimpa artist or not.
Then, in the third chapter, the meaning and usage of the term Nihonga, which is a particularly topical subject, is studied with special attention paid to the writings of Kitazawa Noriaki and Sato Doshin. However, this chapter concentrates more on the pertinent question of what Nihonga is to Kayama, rather than digressing into a purely academic debate about the meaning of the word.
In the fourth chapter. a study of Kayama's biography from the 1920s to the 1940s is conducted in a way that includes a look at his contemporaries, possible influential figures and the socio-political background of the time. In this way, his works and their development are studied from various points of view.
Chapter five discusses the significance of Kayama's works and his ideas of Nihonga through his biography and his works in the 1950s and the 1960s. A plausible assessment is developed by considering his notion of decorative art, the relation between art and craft, and the relation between his works and his own religious beliefs.
The main contribution of this research is to introduce a contemporary Nihonga artist in English, which is important since there are so few critical books regarding Nihonga. The analytical study of Kayama Matazo as a contemporary artist will make possible a more accurate understanding of Nihonga itself, which hopefully will allow his works to be appreciated from a much wider perspective.
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas
This study of Whistler, the artists' colony of St Ives and Australia 1884 - 1910 is a compendious analysis of the complex relationships between the British American artist James McNeill Whistler and the aesthetic movement, between Whistler’s aestheticism and the development of modernist art practice both in England and Australia, between the art establishment and the development of a modern market for art, between artists and their social, economic and political environment, between artists and their audiences, and between notions of artistic identity and nationalism. These are not simple binary concerns but multilateral issues that impact on each other in many different ways. The artists’ colony of St Ives in England at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century is an important site for exploring all of these issues.
Whistler was of central importance to the establishment of the artists' colony of St Ives. His aestheticism and assertion of the centrality of individual artistic identity gave the colony not just a style and motif but a whole raison d'être. Moonlit paintings and seascapes became vehicles for exploring particular concerns with aspects of modern life and formalist aspects of contemporary art practice.
A number of Australian artists also played an important role in the on-going vitality of the artists' colony of St Ives. Concomitantly, their experience of living and working at St Ives was fundamentally important in facilitating the transmittal of important developments in contemporary art to Australia at a decisive time in its cultural development.
Supervisor: Prof. G.M. Thomas and Prof. David Clarke
In view of the overwhelming emphasis in art history on Japanese art and its influence on modern Western art, this research sets out to establish some of the contributions of Chinese art to the development of modern Western art. This issue will be examined on various levels, including political engagement among Britain, France, and China in the nineteenth century, the Western perception of China at that time, collecting practices, and the artistic engagement of the European avant-garde with Chinese art and culture.
James McNeill Whistler, the great avant-garde artist who was then active in the British and French art scenes, has emerged in this research as a major focus because of his profound interest in collecting Chinese blue and white porcelain and his ability to translate the Eastern aesthetics derived from blue and white into his own works. Whistler’s circle, including such artists as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and James Tissot, also forms part of this scrutiny.
Chapter one sets out two goals. The first is to re-examine the two dominant Western interpretive models of Far Eastern cultural influence, i.e. Chinoiserie and Japonisme, and see how these two models obscure certain facts and create a gap in our understanding of China’s influence while diminishing China’s visibility in nineteenth-century British and French art. The second goal is to show how China was configured on various levels in nineteenth-century Britain and France, the two imperialist powers, as a way to reinforce their European identity.
Chapter two deals with nineteenth-century collecting tastes in London and Paris, and the British and French perceptions of Chinese material culture. The relations between collectors and artists, and artists as collectors, are highlighted. Focusing especially on the activities of A.W. Franks, Henri Cernuschi, Théodore Duret, Émile Guimet, and Whistler, it shows that collecting China in the nineteenth century was closely connected with the development of museums, expedition, and Oriental warehouses.
Chapter three tries to establish, through an analysis of Whistler and his circle, that the craze for Chinese blue and white was a key note of European engagement with Chinese aesthetic value, thereby creating a new aestheticism in Western modernist art. By analyzing Whistler’s many depictions of blue and white porcelain and his occasional blending of Chinese and Japanese motifs, the chapter demonstrates Whistler’s eclectic approach to receive and assimilate Far Eastern art.
One of the ultimate purposes of this thesis is to critically re-examine the discourse of Orientalism and Japonisme, so as to emphasize the importance of cultural eclecticism in nineteenth-century art history. By singling out China’s influence on nineteenth-century European art, this thesis aims to participate in the discussion of a well established discourse while opening up a new dimension for cross-cultural studies.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. Q.L. Wan
This thesis attempts to explore the impact of Western art on modern Chinese art by studying the introduction and reception of Western art history in Republican China. As a part of Western culture history, the history of Western art attracted a broad interest among Chinese intellectuals as well as among the artists. Therefore, not only artists but also other intellectuals, including writers, editors and translators, took part in introducing Western art history. Artists who had studied abroad, especially in France and Japan, played an important role to disseminate knowledge of Western art and its history. Feng Zikai, Liu Haisu and Ni Yide were the most productive authors of Western art history. Modem Western art movements, especially Post-Impressionism and the later art movements were the most frequently discussed topics in Chinese writings. Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin were popular to Chinese readers.
In the process of Western art history being introduced into China, to some extent, this foreign culture did not influence China directly. A third culture, Japan, which inherited the old Chinese culture and learnt from the West prior to China, acted as a bridge between China and the West. In this early stage of studying from the West, for various reasons, Chinese study of Western art history relied much on Japan: from the preference of Post-Impressionism and later art movements, to the interpretation of them and the input of artistic terms.
The Chinese reception of Western art history relied much on written texts. Some characteristics of the written texts might have influenced the understanding of Western art history. Due to the rapid reform of Chinese in vocabulary and grammar at the time, some texts were quite difficult to understand. Depiction of certain characteristics of Western art did not form a definite and correct knowledge of it but provide with the latitude of imaging and associating. The comprehension of Western art history was also associated with the comparison with traditional Chinese art. The similarities of the theories of modern Western art and those of literati painting, for example, Shitao's art theory, were pointed out in some Chinese writings about Western art history. It should be noted that the vocabulary of interpreting traditional Chinese art was mixed with foreign one, which resulted from the study of Western art history and also reflects the influence of Western art in China.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. Q.L. Wan
Contemporary Chinese art has been flourishing and gaining recognition through international exhibitions since the 1990s. This has led to an increased study of Chinese art in the 20th century. Nearly all scholars regard the Stars (Xingxing) Exhibitions that take place in Beijing in 1979-80 as a marking of the emergence of contemporary Chinese art in the post-Cultural Revolution era. However, very little attention has been paid to the significance of the Stars Exhibitions of 1979-80 and to the diversity of the works in the exhibitions.
In this thesis, the Stars demonstration, the 1979-80 exhibitions and the works displayed in them are considered contextually, and placed in relation to their specific historical period. The artistic development of the individual artists in the period after the Stars Exhibitions is also considered.
This thesis is based on information collected through extensive interviews with the Stars artists, art critics, professors, other artists and participants in the democracy movement. It also draws upon historical documents such as the unofficial journals, art journals and news reports. By a contextual approach, this thesis will focus on the relationship between the context they experience and the production of works of art.
The Stars Exhibitions were unusual because they represent an unofficial and underground cultural current's triumph over authority and official culture, and signal the development of unofficial art in the 1990s. The integration of foreign resident community in their activities and exhibitions has permitted a new artist-patron relationship between Chinese artists and foreign patrons to develop in the following decades. A large number of the works in the exhibitions are analyzed and compared with that of their contemporaries. The works include those reinterpreting tragic incidents, works addressing the problems of society, representation of cultural nationalism, representation of ordinary life subjects, portrayal of nudes and works exploring different subjects. The analysis of the artistic development of thirteen Stars artists, including five living abroad, seven living in the PRC and one who died in 1996, shows that they have created rich and diversified works in the last 20 years. Since the mid 1980s, Wang Keping, Ma Desheng and Li Shuang have been living in Paris; Qu Leilei has been living in London and Huang Rui in Osaka. After living in the West for some time, Shao Fei, Ai Weiwei, and Mao Lizi are at present residing in Beijing and Yan Li is in Shanghai. Yang Yiping and Bo Yun have been living in Beijing while Yin Guangzhong remains in Guiyang. However, Gan Shaocheng died in 1996. The contexts in which they live have affected their artistic development in different ways.
This thesis offers a new picture of the Stars Exhibitions and the works in them. This is the first compilation of the individual works that helps to unmask the invisibility of the Stars artists after the group disbanded in the 1980s.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke
This thesis explores the art of Hong Kong between 1984 and 1997. The year 1984 marked the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration over the future of Hong Kong, and the year 1997 Britain's handover of the political sovereignty of Hong Kong to Mainland China. It is an important transitional period at the last part of Hong Kong's colonial history. During this period, a number of significant social and political events took place. They include the June 4th Event in 1989, and the democratic reforms introduced by Christopher Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong. Many local artists have responded to the changing social and political environment by mapping them with their works. This thesis concentrates on the works of those artists who attempted to capture this important historical era with words and images.
This thesis comprises of four chapters. The first three are devoted to individual studies of the art of Antonio Mak Hin-yeung, Oscar Ho Hing-kay, and Wang Hai. Mak, a bronze sculptor, was renowned for his witty plays with visual-verbal puns and paradoxes which address the human conditions as well as the pre-1997 political milieu. Ho is well-known for his mixed-media drawings where cartoon-like images and long inscriptions are employed to portray the hysterics of the local community before 1997. Wang, trained in Mainland China, takes an outsider's interest in the colonial aspects of Hong Kong. He comments on the local culture and politics with curt statements and appropriated images on the basis of certain feminist and post-colonial theories.
The final chapter investigates the diverse usages of words and images by a number of other Hong Kong artists: Lee Ka-sing, Choi Yan-chi, Ricky Yeung Sau-churk, Edwin Lai Kin-keung, Kith Tsang Tak-ping, Warren Leung Chi-wo, Phoebe Man Ching-ying, Anthony Leung Po-shan, Wong Shun-kit, Leung Mei-ping, and Chan Yuk-keung.
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker
The intent of this paper is to analyze in detail the spirit of asobi. This spirit is often translated into English as 'playfulness', but it is much more than that. Actually, it might be one of the most significant characteristics of the Japanese arts. This paper attempts to describe and evaluate a tendency that in some ways is a mystery because even though this spirit is easily seen inside Japan, it seems to be less appreciated outside Japan. The topic of asobi could touch many aspects of the Japanese arts, yet it seems that the purpose of this paper is best served by focusing on some concrete evidence. This paper discusses certain characteristics of asobi through Tawaraya Sotatsu's 俵屋宗達 works, which have some of the significant characteristics of Japanese art, such as decorativeness, narrative style and emotional evocativeness. The artworks of Tawaraya Sotatsu, who is regarded as a founder of Japanese decorative art, provides a variety of examples with which to illustrate these relationships.
Although the details about Sotatsu's life are not clear, we know that he was active primarily from 1600 to 1630. During the span of his life, the political and artistic environment changed dramatically. The first recorded evidence of Sotatsu describes him as a mere artisan, a maker of fans and underdrawings. However, Sotatsu was able to attract the interest of some famous artists in Kyoto, with whom he collaborated, as well as the interest of rich merchants and members of the imperial family through his artworks. Eventually he achieved the top ranking title for a painter, Hokkyo.
This paper provides a comprehensive review of the artworks attributed to Sotatsu. By reviewing his work in chronological order, it shows how his style developed from small and commercial items into fine arts displayed on sliding doors and screens. In addition, this paper analyzes the various ways Sotatsu shared his own asobi, including asobi in techniques, such as brushwork and composition, and his general sense of humour.
A major aspect of Sotatsu's art is an absentminded playfulness which was appealing not only to Sotatsu's contemporaries, but also to viewers several hundred years later. In particular, Sotatsu's emotional expressiveness displays his affection for his subject matter. Furthermore, in his art Sotatsu celebrates a kind of carnival culture, turning serious subjects into humorous ones, inverting the traditional order and celebrating laughter for its own sake.
In a certain sense the spirit of asobi, as seen through Sotatsu, is a type of emotional response, yet it seems to touch a deeper nerve in all who view Sotatsu's artworks. The spirit of asobi, seen in Sotatsu's work, is shown to share similarities with the concept of carnival, as identified by Bakhtin. This principle may be seen to be rooted in archetypal aspects of human behaviour, and consequently to have contributed to the widespread and lasting appeal of Sotatsu's artistic achievement. By understanding Sotatsu's artworks, it is possible to develop a better understanding of the spirit of asobi as defined here.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
There has been little academic research conducted on Wang Yiting (Wang Zhen 王震, zi Yiting 一亭, hao Meihua Guanzhu ·梅華館主, Haiyun Louzhu 海雲樓主 and Bailong Shanren 白龍山人) and he does not occupy any major position of consequence in contemporary Chinese art history. The purpose of this thesis is to examine and analyze the available materials regarding Wang's important achievements and contributions which made him a unique figure in the art field in his time.
For the sake of putting Wang's life and art into the context of his era, this thesis begins with a general account of the time background, particularly the economic and artistic environment of Shanghai at the time. Included is a review of the existing literature which concluded that the existing materials have, on the whole, been recycled. It continues with a discussion of the development of Wang' s artistic interest and his sponsorship and accumulation of power in the commercial, political and charitable fields, which enabled him to be a patron in the art circle. The next step is to review the development of art associations and Wang's leadership in art associations. Afterwards, his support for the publications of art periodicals and assistance given to young artists to cope with the commercialization of art are explained. After that, the focus shifts to a discussion of the establishment of Wang' s friendship with the Japanese and his role as a bridge for communication between the art fields of Shanghai and Japan. It continues with an examination of Wang's significant contribution to the golden career of Wu Changshuo by highly recommending him to Japanese collectors. Then, Wang Yiting's artistic development and establishment are thoroughly analyzed before, finally, an evaluation of his artistic contributions to the shanghai Painting School, especially concentrating on his endowment of a free painting style and his outstanding Buddhist images is made.
This thesis concludes that Wang Yiting has generally been under evaluated by art historians and he deserves a much greater position in contemporary Chinese art history.
Furthermore, 'The Chronicle of Wang Yiting's Life' has been constructed and is attached to the thesis.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
The late Qing period (1796-1911) witnessed a calligraphic renaissance characterized by a fresh challenge to the sole orthodoxy of the millennium-old tiexue (the school based on model writings derived from duplication of original ancient handwritten works), posed by the emergence of the progressive and innovative beixue (the school based on monumental inscriptions on engraved stelae). Such a vigorous calligraphic transmutation in terms of both aesthetic conception and style marked the blossoming of the Beixue Movement.
Kang Youwei's (1858-1927) Guang yizhou shuangji, a treatise on calligraphy dealing with the rationale of the Beixue Movement, forms the core of this study. The treatise is examined within its historical and cultural frame and the analysis is complemented by an illumination of its significance.
Chapter One provides a terminological explanation, tracing the origins of frequently applied terms and concepts including bei, tie, beixue and tiexue. It also describes the debate about the controversial Guang yizhou shuangji and reviews the existing state of knowledge of studies conducted on it.
Chapter Two examines the events that facilitated the birth of the treatise, including Kang's intellectual commitment to the Gongyang (see p. 62) and New Text (see p. 61) traditions. Other related political and cultural incidents are also brought up in the discussion. Among them, the internal and external political crises of the Manchu regime was found to be of prime importance, since it created an opportunity for the rise of Kang as a political and cultural reformer and prompted the shift of aesthetic concept from being delicacy-oriented to forcefulness-oriented, thus stimulating the growth of the beixue and the birth of the treatise.
Chapter Three analyzes the three preceding counterparts of the Guang yizhou shuangji—Ruan Yuan's (1764-1849) Nanbei shupai lun and Beibei nantie lun and Bao Shichen's (1775-1855) Yizhou shuangji. This is followed by Chapter Four which critically evaluates the Guang yizhou shuangji proper in terms of four specific themes: (1) reverence for bei and demotion of tie; (2) demotion of the Tang calligraphy; (3) grasp and mastery of brush; and (4) theoretical foundations for the beixue.
Chapter Five explores the significance of Guang yizhou shuangji. Through a comparison of the treatises of Ruan Yuan, Bao Shichen and Kang Youwei, Guang yizhou shuangji has been shown to be the most preeminent and influential—it played a much more active role in promoting the beixue by establishing rigorous theoretical foundations with strong dedicated efforts. In addition, its enormous impact is evident in its huge number of reprint versions and the practices and philosophies of its adherents including Kang Youwei himself and a considerable number of his students such as Xu Beihong (1895-1953), Liu Haisu (1896-1994) and Xiao Xian (1902-), who as influential calligraphers and educators made great efforts to fan the flames of the Beixue Movement.
Supervisor: Prof. J.H. Chou
This thesis attempts to make a thorough study of the Anhui landscape painter Xiao Yuncong (1596-1669) in the context of seventeenth century China. Living through the tumultuous time of dynastic transition, Xiao Yuncong relied on his skill in painting for survival. The geographical environment, the patronage of the rising merchant class and Xiao's own circle of acquaintances provided the setting for his life and art.
The painting career of Xiao Yuncong spanned over a period about forty years, from the 1630s to the 1670s. Although he was receptive to many styles of the past masters, he did not adhere himself to any particular tradition. His paintings show a gradual stylistic evolution and gain greater depth and breadth with age. He ultimately achieved an individual style which is sufficiently unique and can be easily identified. His mature landscape is abstracted into blocky structures with subdued texturing surfaces and depicted in a bold and vigorous brushwork. His handscroll paintings are quite distinguished revealing his proficiency in handling the format. In contrast to other Anhui painters who were always inclined towards depicting an unpeopled and sparse landscape suggestive of a wintry desolation, Xiao excelled in the depiction of human activities, as can be seen in many of his paintings showing that the figures are always his concern.
Xiao Yuncong exerted impact on the local art circle and is credited to have founded the Gushu School. His woodblock prints, the Taiping Shanshui Tuhua found the way into Japan and influenced the style of that genre in Japan. Xiao's peculiar approach in painting projects its influence on the development of the seventeenth century landscape painting due to its divergence from the dominant trends of his contemporary artists, in particular, the orthodox style of the Four Wangs.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
The richness and complexity of Zhang Daqian's life and art contributed to the great success of his career on one hand; and created many controversies in evaluating his position in history on the other. With his many cross-boundary features such as tradition versus modernity, literati versus professional, there lacks a precise term to coherently describe his pursuits.
Many features of Zhang Daqian's life and art reflect his nature of and affinity for professionalism, which have not been thoroughly discussed. The characterization of 'professional painter' did not appear in pre-Song times. All the ancient painting masters were graded solely on their painting achievements. These masters possessed prominent features of professionalism and established one of the greatest painting traditions in history. To acknowledge both features of the professionalism and the significant influence on painting history of these masters, this paper will coin a new term, 'classical professionalism', for the painting tradition of the pre-Song masters. Nowadays, Pre-Song painting styles are best illustrated by Dunhuang Murals, Tang figural paintings and the ancient monumental landscape of the Five Dynasties. All these paintings paid important roles in Zhang Daqian's artistic development.
This paper seeks to establish an understanding of Zhang Daqian's artistic pursuit and how he relates to the tradition of I classical professionalism'. A study of his sojourn in Dunhuang, his life, his artistic beliefs and style, together reveal a consistency pointing to a professional spirit. Zhang Daqian's life incidents reflect his recognition and acceptance of professionalism. His artistic development shows his conscious efforts in acquiring professional specialization of the different ancient painting traditions. His paintings, though in diverse styles, all share a common expression of monumentality, grandeur and aesthetic richness. Throughout his life and creativity, Zhang Daqian was constantly pursuing technical excellence, unique artistic conception and aestheticism, all of which are the core characteristics of classical professionalism.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke
Guillermo Kuitca was born on the 22nct of January of 1961 in Buenos Aires where he still works and lives. His four grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated from Russia to Argentina at the beginning of the century. Kuitca is considered to be one of the most prominent contemporary artists to have emerged at the end of the 20th century in Argentina and Latin America. He has successfully developed an international career exhibiting one-person shows in important art institutions such as in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1991), the Whitechapel Gallery in London (1995) and the Museo Alejandro Otero in Caracas (1997). Kuitca has also participated in group exhibitions sharing the space with prominent international artists.
Kuitca's emergence in the art scene occurred at a time in history when the value of painting re-emerged with force in Europe and the U.S. during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a period when the Neo-Expressionist and the Trans-avantgarde "movements" were setting the aesthetic parameters in many of the western countries including Argentina. Kuitca was part of the artistic current of his time but he developed his own artistic independence.
This thesis is the first comprehensive study of Kuitca's artistic development focusing on the body of works that he produced between 1981 and 1997. The main theme of this thesis is the integrity of his work as a whole. It is the first time that the evolution of Kuitca's pictorial language has been studied closely and traced back demonstrating that clear links between each stage of his artistic production. The human condition is the underlying theme that unifies his whole oeuvre which is represented by the following groups of images: the interior rooms, the apartment plans, the city and road maps, and the institutional spaces. The structure of this thesis is based on these images with four chapters focusing on each of the groups of images respectively. This thesis explores the internal development of Kuitca's imaginary as well as the personal and cultural background of the artist, which also had an influence on his art.
A major characteristic in Kuitca's artistic development is that the significant influences for the construction of his images have mostly come from outside the sphere of painting. During the first half of the 1980s, Kuitca began an intense relationship with theater, particularly in response to the work of the German choreographer Pina Bausch. During the second half of the 1980s, he turned to architecture, which to the present day has remained the major source for the construction of his images. Other sources include literature, music, film and cartography.
The bed is the departure point for Kuitca's imaginary trip which leads from an interior space to an exterior one, from a private space to a public one, from the particular to the general. Kuitca takes us on a mental journey to a world of relations where nothing exists in isolation.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
In China, the term manhua is usually associated with Feng Zikai (1898-1975). It is through Feng Zikai that the term manhua became commonly used in China and unified the various terms used for this type of work.
Feng Zikai appeared in the art and cultural scene in the early 1920s when China was in turmoil, humiliated, and experiencing great transformations. Feng's contribution to the field of manhua is undeniable. He had written numerous articles introducing the concept of manhua to China from Japan. Throughout his life, he had created a lot of manhua which encompass different subjects and aspects of life. However, it is surprising for me to discover how little has been done in the research of Feng's manhua in an art historical context. Many of the articles written are journalistic in nature. They could undeniably provide valuable historical data and ideas, however a comprehensive study of Feng's manhua is lacking. It is out of this consideration that I started my research on Feng' s manhua.
Among the vast categories of his works, "children" is one of the most important categories, especially in his early years. Feng had done a lot of works about children, either in the form of manhua or suibi. Even though Feng Zikai interpreted his children manhua as a criticism against the adult society, it is questionable that it was conceived as such in the beginning. Feng's Buddhist belief prevented him to create really aggressive and satirical manhua in criticizing the adult society. Instead, Feng used the direct portrayal of children to contrast with the perverted world. Feng combined calligraphic brushwork and contemporary subject matters to produce works that are both Chinese and modern.
It is the main purpose of this thesis to investigate Feng's manhua on the theme of children, trying to find out why children is an important and recurrent theme in his works, the meaning behind his works, its relationship with other works and the circumstances, and its own development.
This thesis contains four chapters. As Feng Zikai's manhua are associated with his life and are projections of his own character and beliefs, the first chapter is an investigation of Feng's character and its transformation throughout his entire career, with an emphasis on the people that had left their imprints on him. The second chapter is an overview of the relationship between Feng and children, his opinion of children, and the significance and meaning of children to him. The third chapter is an investigation of Feng's children manhua, their relationship with Feng's other manhua, and their transformation in terms of content and style throughout his career. The last chapter is dealing with the aesthetics of Feng and issues about the interpretation of his children manhua.
Supervisor: Prof. J.H. Chou
As an art treatise, Huishi Fawei is best known to exist in a number of congshu. In these congshu, some compilers chose to include only the main text, others included prefaces by Chen Pengnian and Shen Zongjing in addition to Tangdai's own. One also incorporated a passage about Tangdai taken from Zhang Geng's Guochao Huazheng Xulu and another added a postscript.
There is also an independent volume printed in the time of Kangxi. This is probably the earliest edition and is important and unique in a number of ways. Firstly, it is only here that Tangdai's self-preface comes with a date. Without it, some confusion has arisen with regard to the completion date of Huishi Fawei. Secondly, there is an additional preface written by Ejin who claims to be Tangdai's elder cousin. Thirdly, thirteen art treatises have been incorporated as its appendixes. And finally, by the fact that nine out of its ten editors and proofreaders are shown to be Tangdai's students, we know that Tangdai was once a painting teacher.
In tracing the circumstances which led to the birth of Huishi Fawei, Wang Yuanqi emerges as the person whose theoretical interest influenced Tangdai to also explore the art theories; his beliefs also served as the foundation of Tangdai's beliefs. However, apparent differences exist between Huishi Fawei and Wang Yuanqi's major theoretical writing, the Yuchuang Manbi, differences which can be interpreted as Tangdai's response to his teacher's criticism of his inability to integrate his ideas on the art of painting.
Wang Yuanqi's theories can be summarized by longmo, kaihe and qifu which Tangdai inherited, but he simplified to delve only on kaihe. On the pictorial level, kaihe represents polarities in action, the placement and alternation of, for example, dense and sparse, light and shade, host and guest, front and back, etc. Alternatively, it also replicates the movement of the yin and yang forces of qi in the cosmos which brings about the formation of objects and determines their characteristics. This reflects Tangdai's cosmological view which is in fact part of the legacy of early Qing Neo-Confucianism. Huishi Fawei is significant for reflecting the Qing philosophical outlook and assumptions.
Within the context of Chinese art theory, Huishi Fawei is important for being the first comprehensive art treatise from the Qing orthodox school. After the Song Dynasty, comprehensive treatises were rare and views on art usually took the form of inscriptions and disseminated notes. Huishi Fawei, by reverting back to the full-bodied format which had been abandoned for centuries, paved the way for comprehensive treatises from the orthodox school later in the Qing Dynasty, for example, Shen Zongqian's Jiezhou Xuehua Bian a few decades later.
Huishi Fawei is also the first piece of art theoretical writing written by a Manchu. Through it, Tangdai set the precedent for later Manchu theorist like Buyantu, whose Huaxue Xinfa Wenda is likewise comprehensive, in that Manchu theorists do not attempt to rebel against Han art theories but rather form a part of this tradition.
Supervisor: Prof. Q.L. Wan
The Water and Land Rite for souls of the dead is preeminent among Buddhist rituals, and it is richly documented in Song and Yuan dynasties' literary and pictorial materials. This rite's extensive pantheon and its purpose can only be understood, however, by examining both texts and images. Used in conjunction, ritual texts and images transform temple space into consecrated areas.
Wall and scroll paintings introduce the god's presence into the ceremonial venue. This study, then, considers the liturgical texts, wall and scroll paintings, including those with a religious subject matter and those which were commissioned as acts of piety, and ritual paraphernalia, either of or connected with the Water and Land Rite.
Chapter 33 of the Song dynasty encyclopedia of Buddhism, Fozu tongji concerns festivals, rites and their arts. Its author, the monk Zhipan, also wrote a liturgical text for the Water and Land Rite, and his texts are the principal literary documents used in this study.
Shanxi province wall paintings, both in situ and in museum collections, document a wide range of ceremonial arts. Paintings from Guangsheng Si, Mingyingwang Dian, Xinghua Si and Yongle Gong show conversion rites, supplication and worship of the gods, for example. A Yuan dynasty Water and Land wall painting from Pilu Si, Hebei province depicts that rite.
Sets of ceremonial scroll paintings may range from a triptych to the over one-hundred Water and Land scrolls preserved in Baoning Si, Shanxi. Religious scroll paintings from the Ningpo region of Zhejiang province supply exensive pictorial documentation of cult practices in the Song and Yuan dynasties, particularly the cult of lohans, the Six Ways of Rebirth and the Ten Kings of Hell.
The significance of Buddhist cults and their ritual meanings is ascertained with the use of procedures from the History of Art and History of Religions disciplines.
Supervisor: Dr. P.R. Stanley-Baker
Sesshu ( 1420-1506), a figure of national pride, dominated the world of ink painting in the fifteenth-century Japan. Through the study of Chinese painting, he created his own personal realm of art by transforming such sources for new purposes. His paintings, marked by well organized composition and purposeful brushwork, show his successful attempt to blend elements from Chinese academic traditions.
Sesshu's life spanned a period characterized by strong cultural influence from China. The Muromachi period saw the wholesale importation of Chinese paintings into Japan. This renewed interest in Chinese culture was also evident in the fashions of collecting and display of Chinese paintings and other works by the Ashikaga shoguns. According to several documents of the day, the art of Liang Kai, Ma Yuan and Xia Gui was particularly esteemed. For this reason, many Muromachi painters, including Sesshu, tended to base their styles on works associated with the above Song academicians.
The biography of Sesshu, based on historical and literary documents, is given in the second chapter. His approaches to art and the styles which he developed were affected by trends in Chinese-style ink painting current in Muromachi-period Japan and by his experience in Ming China from 1467-1469. Sesshu's choices of models were influenced most significantly by his study under Shubun. Yet it was through his trip to China that Sesshu acquired better knowledge of Chinese painting and began to experiment with Ming academic styles exemplified by the Zhe School.
Nineteen acceptable works are analyzed in three traditional categories of painting: landscape, figure, and flower-and-bird. His paintings, incorporating a particularly wide range of styles and techniques, were largely inspired by Chinese academic traditions. Sesshu not only learned the brush techniques of Song models but also absorbed the new styles that he had encountered during his stay in Ming China. While synthesizing all his sources, Sesshu succeeds in defining a unique style. In a word, his reputation rests on his attempt to Japanize the imported sources and on his contribution to art education. Indeed, the strength of Sesshu's influence during the sixteenth century may be seen in the works of his followers.
In sum, this dissertation investigates Sesshu's relationship to Chinese academic painting by examining his life and painting and by reconstructing the cultural milieu in which he worked.
Supervisor: Dr. C.D. Muir and Prof. Q.L. Wan
In the first half of the 20th century, many artists (particularly those who had studied art abroad) sought to reform traditional Chinese painting through the application of Western concepts, media, devices and techniques. Xu Beihong [ 1895-1953] is one of the most important and influential reformist painters who aspired to improve traditional Chinese painting with what he had learnt from the West. Although Xu had spent a lengthy period of up to 8 years in Europe, little has been done to relate his painting career and reformist cause to the training and exposure he had in Europe and no scholars have yet undertaken to study and explore, in a comprehensive and thorough manner, the Western influence on him. As the European phase (i.e. May 1919 to April 1927) is most crucial in the formation of Xu's painting style and artistic outlook, this study aims to fill the gaps by investigating the Western influence on the artist through a close study of his large-scale history paintings.
The thesis comprises an introduction, four chapters, and a conclusion. The introduction is a statement f my research plan and the contents of this work. The First Chapter sets the scene by recounting Xu's early encounters with Western painting in China and the subsequent training and exposure he had in Europe. The Second Chapter sketches the character of the French academic system and examines how Xu's academic background manifests itself through his large-scale history paintings. The Third Chapter discusses Xu's distinct inclination towards the Neo-classical movement through an inquiry into his clear preference for subject matter treated in accordance with the tenets of Neo-classicism. The Fourth Chapter investigates Xu's insistence on realism, his disapproval of the modern trends and his subsequent shift of emphasis from the historical subjects to paintings of contemporary life. The Conclusion will provide a summation of my findings and assess the historical significance of Xu' s large-scale history paintings.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. Q.L. Wan
Hong Kong art photography first appeared in the 1920s. This thesis explains the background reasons for its emergence, and traces its development up to December 1941, when the colony fell into the hands of the Japanese invaders. As the pioneer research into this topic, its purpose is to give a factual account of the activities and works of Hong Kong art photography during this period.
This thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapter One charts the introduction of photography to Hong Kong in the 1840s, and then examines how it had been practised here until the 1930s. In particular, it reveals that these activities, along with advances in photographic technology, had contributed to the rise of art photography.
Chapter two opens by a description of the two phases of Hong Kong art photography before World War II. Then, through a discussion of the lives and works of leading artists, organisations and societies, modes of activities and exhibitions, etc., it gives a first sketch of the general outlook of art photography in Hong Kong before 1931.
Chapter Three studies the development of Hong Kong art photography in its second phase (c. 1931-1941). Instead of looking at individual artists, it surveys the general tendencies of this period. It shows that the photographic industry, certain photographic societies and photographic competitions had organised and shaped the activities and works of the artists. The chapter then finishes with a discussion of an anti-Japanese war photography movement which emerged in the later half of the 1930s.
Chapter Four concentrates on the study of the photographs. It looks closely at those subjects and styles that the artists had preferred, and examines aesthetic beliefs which had motivated such preferences. It also suggests some possible sources of influences for the pictures.
Chapter Five is the conclusion. In addition to a summing-up of the discussion in the previous chapters, it also gives a brief introduction to the development of Hong Kong art photography from 1946 to early 1970s.
Supervisor: Prof. David Clarke and Prof. Q.L. Wan
As little academic research on the history of Hong Kong art has been undertaken, there has not been a complete history on Hong Kong art. The purpose of this thesis is to offer an academic study on early twentieth century Hong Kong art and fill the gaps in the subject through detailed research.
This thesis comprises five chapters: The first chapter deals with mid-nineteenth century trade painting and calendar poster painting in the beginning of the twentieth century, the two earliest categories of art where Western ideas on art are found. The identity of Lamqua and the art of Kwan Wai Nung will be discussed in this chapter. The next chapter gives an account of the local artists who had either received their art training directly in Western countries or acquired knowledge in Western art through studying with artists who returned from abroad. The artists that I am going to talk about include Wong Chiu Foon, Chui Tung Pai, Hong Chen, Qiu Daiming, Wong Siu Ling, Li Tiefu and his followers. Chapter three investigates landscape painting, a genre in which most Hong Kong artists were interested. Works by Lee Byng and Luis Chan will be studied comprehensively as they were the major landscapists in the early twentieth century. The problem in utilizing nude models, the subject of chapter four, accounts for the scarcity of nude painting in Hong Kong during that time. The last chapter focuses on genre painting. Works by Yee Bon and Ng Po Wan will be thoroughly examined.
In addition, appendices on the biographies of Lee Byng, Yee Bon and Luis Chan, the three major artists who practiced painting in Western media in Hong Kong during this period, will also be attached to the thesis.
Supervisor: Prof. H.Y. Shih
Lu Shoukun spent the second half of his life in Hong Kong. During his 27 years' stay, he lived through the preparatory and consolidation stages of development in Hong Kong art. The purpose of this thesis is threefold: to offer a thorough study of the development of Shoukun's styles and themes in his paintings, to assess his achievements in the context of twentieth century Chinese painting, and to evaluate his proper position in the development of Hong Kong art. This thesis is divided into eight chapters. Chapter 1 presents his family background, and Chapter 2, his artistic life before 1950. The next two chapters discuss the influence of the Lingnan School and Western art on him. The discussion and analysis of his Hong Kong landscape paintings describing particular locations and other semi-abstract landscapes are included in Chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 7 deals with his Chan painting, one of Shoukun's achievements in art; and, as a conclusion, his achievements in art education and influence on other artists are summarized.
Supervisor: Prof. H.Y. Shih
This thesis is an attempt at examining the ceramic industry in the region of Jingdezhen in Jiangxj Province during the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1358). The study consists of four major parts:
(1) the development of Jingdezhen kilns in relation to the economic growth and cultural background of Jiangxi Province.
(2) the setting up of the Fouliang Porcelain Bureau in Jingdezhen and the use of kaolin with china stone by Jingdezhen potters,
(3) the kinds of wares produced by Jingdezhen kilns and their characteristics in the Yuan Dynasty, and
(4) the sale of Jingdezhen wares in domestic and overseas markets.
After the fall of the Northern Song Dynasty, many Han people moved from North China to the southern provinces. The increase of population in South China led to the growth of a number of handicraft industries. It was during this period that Jingdezhen improved and increased its ceramic production to meet the demands of the increased population.
With the setting up of the Fouliang Porcelain Bureau in 1278, Jingdezhen began to produce high-quality wares for the imperial palace and government offices. Apart from official orders, large quantities of Jingdezhen wares were manufactured for commercial disposal. They were sold throughout the Yuan territories and to many Asian and East African countries.
As regards the kinds of ceramics produced in Jingdezhen, the study is based on
(1) many ceramic finds excavated in China, which came from the Jingdezhen kilns of the Yuan Dynasty,
(2) the Yuan ceramic collection in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum of Istanbul and the Ardebil Shrine Collection in the Iran Bastan Museum of Tehran,
(3) the qingbai wares recovered front the shipwreck off Sinan coast in South Korea, and
(4) the exhibits in the Exhibition of 'Jingdezhen Warethe Yuan Evolution' held in the Fung Ping Shan Museum, University of Hong Kong in 1984.
In comparison with Song wares, the Yuan wares of Jingdezhen show a marked increase in the variety of forms, decorative motifs and glaze colours. Despite the short life of the Yuan Dynasty, the Jingdezhen potters of this period certainly achieved important advances which occupy a significant position in the history of Chinese ceramic art.
Supervisor: Dr. N. Corazzo and Prof. H.Y. Shih
Despite the imposing wealth of content and diversity of scholarship in Chinese art history, twentieth century Chinese sculpture remains virtually an unexplored area. For this reason, it is thought that research on the Taiwanese sculptor, Zhu Ming (b. 1938), acclaimed as the most distinguished Chinese sculptor since the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 14th century) could make a significant contribution to the perception of sculptural exploration taking place in twentieth century Taiwan as well as being a survey of the artist's sculptural career.
Part One of this paper outlines the historical context. Major historical and artistic events in mainland China are briefly reviewed in Chapter One to provide a basis of comparison with that of Taiwan, while placing Zhu Ming 's art in a broader framework. Twentieth century Taiwan is investigated as an entity in Chapter Two and Chapter ·Three, the former covering the period 1895-1949,·the latter covering the period since 1949. Southern Chinese folk art tradition, the introduction of European art through Japan to Taiwan, the 'Modern Movement' in art and the 'Native Soil Movement' are foca1 points of these chapters.
In Part Two, Zhu Ming's life and his art are subjects of study. Chapter .Four contains a brief biography of Zhu Ming from his birth until 1968. Integrated within this period is his apprenticeship to Southern Chinese folk sculpture tradition, under Li Jinchuan. Chapter Five treats Zhu's sculptural developments between 1968 and 1976, during which he was apprenticed to Yang Yingfeng, whose influence on his aesthetic concepts was significant.
Chapters Six and Seven are devoted to the double focus of this paper, the ‘Taiji’ and ‘The Living World’ series. The two series together span a period of ten year; their richness and continuity render them eloquent witnesses of Zhu Ming's conceptual and formal development in sculpture. With these two series, Zhu Ming brought about a twentieth century breakthrough in Chinese sculpture by transcending the long-standing supposition of Chinese art critics of the past, that sculptural materials have their limitations intractability, and by complementing Chinese aesthetics. It is here also that Zhu Ming succeeded in finding his own resolution to an intellectual dilemma faced by twentieth century Chinese artists in general: how to live up to the native Chinese tradition yet respond to the contemporary situation.
Supervisor: Prof. H.Y. Shih
Established by the Qidan, the Liao Dynasty was a period strongly marked by its nomadic customs. However, Chinese cultural elements were constantly infiltrating into the Liao society. As a result, Liao culture was in fact dualistic: Qidan and Chinese. This very unique feature is very often reflected in Liao ceramics.
Recent excavations showed that pre-Liao Qidan ceramics are relatively rough and primitive. Vessel forms are limited in variety and without any application of glaze. The rise and development of Liao ceramics were largely effected by more advanced techniques brought north by Chinese potters originated in Hebei and Henan. Many Liao ceramics, therefore, have characteristics that can be traced back to a Tang tradition as well as echoing a Song style. In addition, ceramic techniques of the Bohai kingdom, which was destroyed by the Qidan in the very early tenth century, had also exerted influence on Liao ceramics, particularly low-fired lead-glazed ware.
A number of Liao kiln sites have been discovered. They are situated at or near the five Liao capitals. Investigations made on these kiln sites made it clear that the Liao had inherited and assimilated many techniques employed in Tang and Song kilns. The most important Liao kilns are the Gangwayaocun kiln at Chifeng and the Longquanwu kiln at Beijing. Most of the ceramic pieces excavated in Liaoning, Inner Mongolia and Hebei can be attributed to them.
The pecularity of Liao ceramics of having two traditions --- Qidan and Chinese --- is most markedly revealed in vessel types. Simple forms, such as bowls, dishes, jars, etc., are clearly Chinese. Others, such as pilgrim flasks, dish-mouthed vases and ewers, lugged vases, phoenix-head vases, dishes of eccentric shape, etc., however, show a more unique Liao taste. Many of them were derived from non-ceramic medium --- leather and metal.
Decorative motifs of Liao ceramics are not great in number. The peony occupies the most important position, while others include lotus, scrolling vines, butterflies, fish, phoenixes, etc. Liao designs were very often symmetrically arranged of evenly spaced, giving rise to a relatively stiff effect. The general impression is simple and plain, which is very different from the delicacy of most of its Song counterparts. An innovative Liao decorative technique seems to be the type with a quick incision through a white slip and an additional black glaze painted on the ground.
With the help of unearthed materials from dated or roughly datable Liao remains, it is possible to classified Liao ceramics under three different stages of development: the Early Liao, the Middle Liao and the Late Liao. Moreover, some problems related to Liao ceramics can also be solved. Liao kilns did produce guan and xinguan-marked white wares while some low-fired lead-glazed wares that had often been placed in the repertory of Liao ceramics need to be reattrinuted.
The Liao-Jin life-sized Lohen figures in three-coloured glaze are not discussed herewith in this thesis.
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang
In 1945 rock sculptures were discovered in the County of Dazu in Sichuan Province. This complex at Dazu, consisting of over 40 sites, is probably the most outstanding works among all cave temple sites in Sichuan in terms of quality and quantity. This paper aims to analyze thoroughly the beautiful art of Dazu.
The introductory chapter deals mainly with the pre-Song sculptures at various sites in Sichuan . The prominent subject matter of "Bianxiang" or art forms accord with descriptions in the Buddhist sutras since the middle Tang period is witnessed at these sites. Among them, the remains of Wanfosi at Chengdu are historically important since some of them are accompanied by inscriptions dating to the Southern Dynasties.
Chapter two gives a general survey of the sculptures of Dazu from different perspectives. These include their geographical locations, the surrounding land features, their history and the distribution of the site. In the last section of this chapter attention is paid to the recent re-investigation of Dazu.
Among the numerous sites of Dazu, the most concentrated in number, the largest in scale, the finest in craftsmanship and the richest in content are the works at Beishan (Northern Hill 北山) and Baodingshan (Hill of the Precious Peak 寶頂山) which are the focuses of this study. The works of Fowan at Beishan, consisting of 264 caves and niches, are dated from the late Tang to the late Southern Song dynasty, i.e., from the last few years of the ninth century to the rnid-twelveth century; whereas the thirty-one serial-numbered works along the three sides of the U-shaped gorge of Dafowan at Baodingshan are dated to the Southern Song dynasty.
Chapter three discusses the origin of the construction and sculptures at Beishan, in which the biography of Liu Benzun and Zhao Zhifeng, the two important supervisors of Beishan and Baodingshan respectively, are traced. The precise period of construction of Baodingshan lasting from 1179 to 1249 of the late Southern Song dynasty will be investigated in the last section of this chapter.
With Xiaofowan (Smal Buddha Bay 小佛灣) and Dafowan (Large Buddha Bay大佛灣) as the major sites, the stone sculptures of Baodingshan are the core of Chapter four. A brief account of the sites of Baodingshan will be included together with a detailed study of the works of Dafowan, a representative site of Baodingshan as well as of the whole county of Dazu. These Southern Song works were mainly carved to explain the religious doctrines of the Yogacaya School of Buddhism under the one-man supervision of Zhao Zhifeng, a local monk, over a continuous period of several decades. All the monumental works here are arranged in a systematic manner so that themes such as self-sacrifice, enlightenment, re-incarnation and filial piety are successfully conveyed to the viewer. It is significant that beside the carved pictures, there are inscribed Buddhist texts, eulogistic expressions and other explanatory notes to explain the religious stories and doctrines depicted by sculpture. Furthermore, the shapes of the cliffs, the fountain heads and other natural surroundings were taken into consideration in the carving of the images. Scientific principles of mechanics, lighting and the rules of perspective were also made use of by the skillful sculptors. Every visitor i greatly impressed by the monumental and lively art of Baodingshan.
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang
Supervisor: Mr. S.C. Chuang