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Poetry and Painting in Song China: The Subtle Art of Dissent
Throughout the history of imperial China, the educated elite used various means to criticise government policies and actions. During the Song dynasty (960-1278), some members of this elite found an elegant and subtle means of dissent: landscape painting. By examining literary archetypes, the titles of paintings, contemporary inscriptions, and the historical context, Alfred ...more
Paperback, 482 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Harvard University Press
(first published June 1st 2000)
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Though it may appear to some that the history of Song (Sung) China is of limited interest, permit me to mention, among other matters, that people living in today's increasingly bureaucratized societies(*) can well find imperial China to be a fount of instructive and admonitory examples. Forget the well worn stories about the palace eunuchs in Ming China; here in Song China you will find firmly entrenched bureaucracies fervently defending and expanding their turf. You will find apparently well in ...more
Mar 12, 2016 Patricia rated it it was amazing
"Themes of exile and return, darkness and lament" figure in select Song Dynasty paintings but have historically been overlooked by the vast majority of viewers for the very reason that they succeeded in their day--they were hidden except to a very small minority of scholars who had the background, training, and insights to decode them. This superb study by Alfreda Murck is a rare journey into this world of poetry and painting where (in her words) there was "a premium on obliqueness". The works o ...more