Political expression in Song dynasty fan painting
This dissertation approaches the political dimension of Song dynasty (960-1279) fan paintings focusing on four artistic subjects: Meng Haoran riding a donkey, anonymous donkey riders, the sparrow, and ox-herding. The political dimension of these subjects have either been overlooked by modern art historians, or insufficiently studied. This contextualized study not only repositions these fan paintings within their original socio-historical context, but also examines how traditional imagery was revived and imbued with new meanings by Song scholars in order to push their socio-political agenda. Special attention is paid to the discourse and rhetorical tropes prevalent both in painting and poetry. All five chapters reflect, from different perspectives, how Song scholars responded to various social and political challenges through poetry and painting, and how they positioned themselves in a changing society.