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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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The Joy of Fish and Chinese Animal Painting

(p.87) Reflection

Hou-mei Sung

Oxford University Press

Representations of animals in traditional Chinese painting are among the oldest known motifs and are filled with rich symbolic implications. Animal paintings make animals a part of the harmonious existence of all living beings in the universe. To the Chinese, animals are more than merely beasts in nature; they are living symbols with philosophical, historical, and metaphorical associations. This explains why in early Chinese painting animals are typically portrayed with distinct attitudes or in particular poses, for example, dragons emerging from the clouds, tigers roaring with the wind, cranes calling toward heaven, carp leaping above the waves, and minnows darting playfully among water weeds. Many of these early conceptual depictions of animals were directly linked to the ancient Chinese ...

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