Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2005 - 8/31/2005

Funding Totals

$5,000.00 (approved)
$5,000.00 (awarded)

Texts on Images: The Social and Cultural Lives of Chinese Handscroll Paintings

FAIN: FT-53488-05

De-nin Deanna Lee
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME 04011-8447)

Chinese handscroll paintings present themselves as unruly objects of study for traditional art historical investigation. Comprised of texts that complement but also interfere with the image, handscrolls challenge conventional western expectations of how a work of art should look and function. Blending reception theory and cultural anthropology, this study examines how viewers’ inscriptional commentaries transform these artworks physically and semiotically, and how the handscrolls work to transmit of artistic values and cultural traditions. Using case studies that compare and analyze historical encounters between paintings and their audiences, this project recasts a question central to art history: what is the role of art in a society?