The course explores the formations of Chinese figure painting or the painting of people in the Song and Yuan dynasty. It begins by investigating the types of portrayals of Tang-dynasty aristocrats and other social worthies to establish the forms of normative portraiture. The course moves on to consider changes in figure painting and its subject matter. The class also investigates a related development in the painting of animals as substitutes for representations of people. Topics discussed include the portrayal of the non-Chinese who lived in frontier areas from the Tang to the Yuan, the Song dynasty’s re-appraisal of the common person and his or her depiction, and the motivations for the use of animals to represent people. The course concludes by evaluating the impact of Mongol rule on figure painting.
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