Qiao Zhongchang’s Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff: Text and Image, Poetry and Painting, and Narrative and Lyrical

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Title
Qiao Zhongchang’s Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff: Text and Image, Poetry and Painting, and Narrative and Lyrical
Contributors
Jiang, Wei (creator)
Bickford, Maggie (Director)
Bickford, Maggie (Reader)
Levy, Dore (Reader)
Moser, Jeffrey (Reader)
Brown University. History of Art and Architecture (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z0KP80JF
Copyright Date
2016
Abstract
Qiao Zhongchang’s (active early twelfth century) Red Cliff is a multiple-scene handscroll illustrating Su Shi’s (1037–1101) narrative poem, “The Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff.” Sherman Lee hailed it as a “masterpiece of the highest quality and originality” and a “key monument” in the early history of scholar painting. The work, however, possesses peculiar formal features that challenge our understandings of the emergence of scholar painting during the late Northern Song (960–1127) and the text–image and poetry–painting relationships in the Chinese tradition. Popular semiotics and narratology theories developed out of the Western art and literary traditions appear to be inadequate to explain the purposes and functions of these features. This dissertation applies a literary theory proposed by Kao Yu-kung specifically for Chinese poetry and narrative to an investigation of Qiao’s Red Cliff. The theory suggests that when composing poems and narratives, pre-modern Chinese authors used two types of languages—propositional and imagistic languages—to invoke in their readers two sets of experiences—narrative and lyrical experiences. Because the Northern Song scholars considered poetry and painting to be homologous arts, this theory is applicable to a scholar painting such as Qiao’s Red Cliff. Furthermore, by performing visual analysis on the images and inscriptions, examining the colophons written by the artist’s contemporaries, and utilizing recent findings derived from multimedia learning and teaching, this dissertation reconstructs Qiao’s Red Cliff’s original viewing situation and its intended viewers’ viewing behaviors, and reveals the rationales behind the features that we deem peculiar today. For example, it answers a question that had long baffled many of us: Why is the protagonist not rendered in the climax scenes? In conclusion, this dissertation finds that the conventions of poetry making influence the image composition and text placement of a scholar painting and that a scholar’s poetry reading habit affects his painting viewing practice. More importantly, this dissertation’s theoretical framework has general applicability, offering a new perspective and method to study scholar painting, narrative painting, handscroll painting, and text–image tradition in China.
Keywords
text and image
poetry and painting
Song painting
literati painting
scholar painting
handscroll painting
Qiao Zhongchang
Su Shi
Liang Shicheng
Emperor Huizong
imagistic language
propositional language
narrative experience
lyrical experience
Red Cliff
prose poem
Narrative painting
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2016)
Extent
26, 375 p.

Citation

Jiang, Wei, "Qiao Zhongchang’s Illustration to the Second Prose Poem on the Red Cliff: Text and Image, Poetry and Painting, and Narrative and Lyrical" (2016). History of Art and Architecture Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0KP80JF

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