CHIN 037. Text and Image: Classical Chinese Poetry and Painting
(Cross-listed as LITR 037CH )
Combining some of the greatest works of Chinese poetry with approaches and visual materials from the history of Chinese landscape painting, in this course we will examine the changing use of landscape as a medium to express different philosophical and social meanings by competing social groups across historical periods from early times to the 13th century. In the first half of this course, we will see how natural landscape in poetry became a medium for conveying a range different ideals and problems: official service and reclusion in the countryside, Daoist liberation and Buddhist enlightenment, the sorrows of war on the frontier or travel into exile. In the second half of this course, we then apply our knowledge of Chinese poetry to interpreting a series of paintings from the Song dynasty (960-1279). This period is the golden age of Chinese landscape painting. It saw the emergence of literati-painters who, much like the great painters of the Renaissance, argued that painting possessed the same expressive power as poetry. We will explore the ways they employed painting to comment on an unprecedented range of issues, including government affairs, the role of women in society, the relation of private to public life, as well as the experience of dynastic collapse and war.
Eligible for MDST, ASIA
Spring 2025. Ridgway.
Catalog chapter: Modern Languages and Literatures: Chinese
Department website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/chinese
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