Displaced landscape : the art and life of Ni Zan (1301-1374)
- Najung Kim.
- [Stanford, California] : [Stanford University], 2019.
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- This dissertation, "Displaced Landscape: The Art and Life of Ni Zan (1301-1374), " retrieves the lived experiences of underrepresented, displaced people during the Yuan-Ming dynastic transitional era. By using Ni Zan's paintings as counter-memories, my project raises new questions about the dominant mythology surrounding Ni Zan. Mainstream historiographies in China define him as a loyal recluse, which limits understandings of the variety of his life experiences. Instead, my research shows that Ni Zan was an active agent who coped with turbulent times by means of artistic practice, and reconstructs the forgotten local history of the Wu region (today's Suzhou and its surrounding area) in the late Yuan period. My analysis of Ni's paintings shows how art objects can operate as a creative social force and spotlights two previously overlooked potentialities in Chinese painting. First, it can function as, what I term, a "communal space" of memory, communion, or personal/political mourning. Second, it can function as "objectified charisma, " the sedimentation of an individual's virtues and powers into objects embedded with iconic and indexical properties.
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- Submitted to the Department of Art and Art History.
- Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2019.