Fine Arts | NEW - Soundless Poems: Word and Image in Chinese Art
A360 | 9371 | --
(Topics in East Asian Art)
Painting and poetry are sometimes referred to as sister arts, parallel
modes for human expression. In China, where the same brush is used for
writing and painting and where almost every painting is inscribed with a
written text, the link between the two arts is particularly close.
Sometimes these works were collaborative: poets composed verses in
response to painted scenes, and painters were inspired by poems old or
new. In other cases, people talented in both arts combined visual and
verbal expression on the same surface, to be contemplated together by the
viewer. In the west, we call it mixed media; in China, it's just what art
These distinctive word-image interactions in Chinese art are the
subject of the course. Using translations of the inscribed texts, we will
study examples representing a range of formats (long handscrolls, elegant
fans, book-like albums), subjects (landscapes, flowers, figures), genres
(narratives, lyrics), and contexts (scholars, gentry, the court). Various
case studies will give rise to questions such as the dominance of one art
over the other, how they function to reinforce or complicate one another,
and the interpretive role of the viewer/reader In the process, the course
offers a general overview of many key aspects of Chinese history and
There are several quizzes and short written assignments; no final
exam. No previous knowledge of Chinese art or culture is necessary.
This course carries Culture Studies Credit.