Children in Chinese Art
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Depictions of children have had a prominent place in Chinese art since the Song period (960-1279). Yet one would be hard pressed to find any significant discussion of children in art in the historical documents of imperial China or contemporary scholarship on Chinese art. Children in Chinese Art brings to the forefront themes and motifs that have crossed social boundaries for centuries but have been overlooked in scholarly treatises. In this volume, experts in the fields of art, religion, literature, and history introduce and elucidate many of the issues surrounding child imagery in China, including its use for didactic reinforcement of social values as well as the amuletic function of these works. The introduction provides a thoughtprovoking overview of the history of depictions of children, exploring both stylistic development and the emergence of specific themes. In an insightful essay, China specialists combine expertise in literature and painting to propose that the focus on children in both genres during the Song is an indication of a truly humane society. Skillful use of visual and textual sources from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) period explains children's game.
and his mother. Qing. Woodblock print. From Huitu lienü zhuan, Zhibuzuzhai edition, 1779. Reprint of a purported late Ming edition. Reprinted as Retsujoden (Tokyo: Zuhonsokankai, 1923–26). Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Libraries. 93 A W were, at least in those instances, conceived of as separate elements illustrating a common narrative. This disjuncture has the e¤ect of creating a distance not only between Mencius and his mother but between the reader and Mencius’
and the visit of the seer Asita to examine the infant does not appear until the middle of the third register. It seems likely that concise and discursive approaches coexisted as alternative ways to depict the Buddha’s life, and the choice depended on both the purpose and the format of the representation. Nonetheless, no matter how many scenes are depicted, the early Chinese illustrations of the Buddha’s life do little to articulate or characterize the surroundings in which the events take place.
Silk Road. Plump boys with grapes (a reference to Dionysius, the corpulent and carefree Roman god of wine) and other types of plants were a popular motif on cups and pitchers for several centuries (ﬁg. 1.4). The months and seasons in Roman decorative arts were represented by female dancers and musicians interspersed with small boys among scrolling vines. Numerous works modeled on Roman prototypes, including ﬁfth- and sixth-century works of Central Asian origin, have been found in excavations at
followers of Confucius succeeded in establishing in Chinese political philosophy a central place for his teachings, and his books became the core curriculum of the governing elite, a state cult of Confucius began to take shape. By the early Tang period, semiannual sacriﬁces were o¤ered to Confucius in o◊cial temples throughout the empire.44 Even though his cult became established during the ﬁrst few centuries of our era, a pictorial narrative of his life was created only in the Ming period.45 The
places and among the common people. A subdued literati-style painting done by Liu Rong in 1845, shows Guanyin seated on a rock, a white robe covering her jeweled crown (ﬁg. 6.7). The calligraphic brush, the seals, and the inscriptions set this painting apart as one made for those with literary tastes. The simplicity of White-robed Guanyin was favored by Chan Buddhists and thus appealed to Neo-Confucian intellectuals. The bamboo and rock symbolize the meditative forms of Guanyin; they are also