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Title: Qian Du (1763-1844) and the Senses in Early Nineteenth-Century Chinese Literati Painting
Authors: Hatch, Michael James
Advisors: Silbergeld, Jerome
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: China
Nineteenth Century
Qian Du
Subjects: Art history
Asian history
Asian studies
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The works of the literatus painter Qian Du 錢杜 (1763-1844) are examined in this dissertation for their particular use of sensuous allusion to secure social relationships. Qian Du was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the most renowned artists of his generation. But that generation has been overlooked by modern historians of Chinese art who have preferred to write about artists involved in stylistic and political revolution. A fundamental aspect of literati painting culture that those historical biases have encouraged us to forget is the role of the senses. As this study of Qian Du shows, literati paintings were keystone objects that secured social relationships within networks of elites in early nineteenth-century China, and sensuous allusion was a central tool for referencing the knowledge and experiences shared among those elites. Chapter One lays the groundwork for this argument with a biography of Qian Du followed by a historiographic critique of modern literati painting scholarship. Each of the next three chapters isolates a literati material culture with which Qian Du’s painting intersected and shows how painting could document the senses of touch, smell, and hearing experienced in the practice of those material cultures. Chapter Two describes the prominent theme of tea appreciation in Qian Du’s painting and the ways in which the fleeting fragrances, sounds, and tastes of tea could be cued in a literati painting. Chapter Three isolates the haptic qualities of the “archaic and awkward” brushwork adopted by Qian Du from the study of epigraphic inscriptions. Chapter Four describes the ways that Qian Du alluded to fragrances in his plum blossom paintings in order to describe the upstanding character of his fellow literati. Combined, these chapters draw from recent work on material and visual culture in order to redirect the insights of those fields back onto painting studies, unsettling it from myopic interests in stylistic precedents and avant-garde political messages by telling the story of an underrated artist and his depictions of the sensuous experiences of the early nineteenth-century literati world. The dissertation concludes by asking what a sensuous history of literati painting could look like.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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