Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

Patricia Bjaaland Welch

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0804843163

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

With over 630 striking color photos and illustrations this Chinese art guide focuses on the rich tapestry of symbolism which makes up the basis of traditional Chinese art.

Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery includes detailed commentary and historical background information for the images that continuously reappear in the arts of China, including specific plants and animals, religious beings, mortals and inanimate objects. The book thoroughly illuminates the origins, common usages and diverse applications of popular Chinese symbols in a tone that is both engaging and authoritative.

Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery is an essential reference for collectors, museum-goers, guides, students and anyone else with a serious interest in the culture and history of China.

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the last emperor of the Shang Dynasty and the rise of the first emperor of the Zhou Dynasty. The gods of the Chinese pantheon were canonized from the fallen warriors of both sides of the conflict. 18 Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, p. 32. 19 Meher McArthur, Reading Buddhist Art: An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols, London: Thames & Hudson, 2002, p. 125. 20 For a beautiful carved wood head of Kasyapa emanating transcendental wisdom, visit the Shanghai Museum. The 253 feet

Nandina domestica, an evergreen or semi-evergreen woody shrub that is a member of the Berberidaceae family. Its name comes from its delicate, bamboo-like foliage, which gives it its English name of Heavenly Bamboo. It starts out maroon, turning green as it matures. This plant is indigenous to China but has been transplanted worldwide. It has inconspicuous small white flowers in early summer that turn to green berries that ripen to bright red and remain on the plant through fall and winter (Fig.

ornament, its original beauty can still be imagined. Kingfishers are symbols of feminine beauty. Fig. 140 A magpie perched at the very top of a plant, in this case a willow tree, announcing the arrival of good news. Detail from a child’s hat. Children’s hats, still worn for both decoration and protection, are traditionally appliqued and embroidered with auspicious or protective designs. Fig. 141 A pair of magpies, representing marriage and happiness, sits amongst prunus blossoms on a

309). The most frequent tableau is known as fēng hóu bào shǒu (疯各侯抱手), a “crazy monkey clutching [something] in its hand,” but it is really a rebus that should be understood as fèng hóu bào shòu (俸侯抱寿), “May you become a salaried official and embrace longevity [have a long life].” Here is how the rebus works: fēng (疯) means “crazy”; fèng (俸) means “salary”; hóu (猴) means “monkey”; and hóu (侯) means “nobleman, high official.” The bào (抱) used in both expressions means “hold, embrace, hug,” while

tiger, dating back to the Song Dynasty (approximately 1175-1200), time dangers (Fig. 348). On New Year’s Eve, pictures of tigers were hung alongside doorways to frighten away evil spirits, and while a painting of a tiger in a bamboo grove might appear to be innocuous, its message to viewers is that of “courage coupled with endurance” (Fig. 210). Traditional ancestral portraits were once painted with their subjects seated stiffly on formal chairs, their feet on a tiger mat. Fig. 346 The

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