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Description - Decoded Messages by Hou-Mei Sung

During the Ming Dynasty numerous new animal themes were created to convey political and ethical messages current at court. As the result a sophisticated language of Chinese animal painting was developed, employing both the animals' symbolic associations and homonymic puns. Hou-mei Sung's exciting rediscovery of some of these lost meanings has led to a full-scale investigation of the evolving history of Chinese animal painting.

Distinct symbolic meanings were associated with individual motifs, but all animals were assigned a place in the universe according to the Chinese concept of nature. From the very early yin/yang cosmology to later developments of Daoist and Confucian philosophies and ethics, Chinese animals gained new meanings related to their historical contexts. This book explores these new findings, using the colorful animal images and their rich and evolving symbolic meanings to gain insight into unique aspects of Chinese art, as well as Chinese culture and history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300141528
ISBN-10: 0300141521
Format: Hardback
(292mm x 248mm x mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 4-Aug-2009
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Hou-Mei Sung

Hou-mei Sung is curator of Asian Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

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