SHS Web of Conf.
Volume 180, 20232023 International Conference on Education, Psychology and Cultural Communication (ICEPCC 2023)
|Number of page(s)
|Cultural Perspectives: Unraveling Narratives in Environmental Contexts
|15 December 2023
Seeing the Peony in Early Qing-Dynasty Art: An Embodiment of Individual Identity
BA in History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2R3, Canada
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Within the context of the Manchurians’ conquest of the Ming dynasty and their subsequent establishment of a new imperial rule, the intricate symbolic systems embodied in floral imagery, particularly the peony flowers, instilled a profound sense of insecurity in the nascent Qing court. Despite the government’s strict scrutiny of the visual and literary works of literati, as well as the imperial authority’s monopolization of peony portrayals, Yun Shouping and Gao Fenghan’s paintings of peonies exude an air of innocence and purity. However, beneath their seemingly tranquil facade lay internal struggles with themselves in the context of the era, along with a subtle defiance towards the new governing regime. This study examines how the two artists transcended the constraints of traditional depictions and aesthetic conventions surrounding peonies dictated by the highest social class, by analyzing the visual aspects of their peony paintings in conjunction with their biographical accounts, thus individualizing the floral motif with distinctive artistic languages. It exemplifies the reclamation of Yun and Gao’s dominion over each visual realm, wherein they assert their autonomous authority in shaping the conveyed information and emotions through the blossoms, while also finding security and solace in redefining and recontextualizing the subject matter whose symbolic significance has endured for millennia.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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