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.