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.