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Modernity in Cao Hanmei’s The Golden Lotus

Li, Xiutang

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This dissertation takes as its subject the images from the late Ming (1567–1620) novel The Golden Lotus, which were painted with Chinese ink and brush on high-quality rice paper, or drawing paper in gongbi style by Cao Hanmei (1902–75) from the 1930s to the 1940s. These artworks were published in cartoon magazines from 1934 to 1937, and the daily newspaper Guomin News in the early 1940s. The prosperity of industry and commerce in Shanghai in the 1920s drove the development of the print media industry. Modern life was multifaceted and extraordinary, with numerous cinemas and dance halls; newspapers and periodicals provided entertainment news, interesting cartoon magazines, and beauty calendar posters as advertisements which could be used to decorate indoor space, and so on. I believe that such popular visual culture played a crucial role in shaping Chinese modern art. I explore Cao Hanmei’s The Golden Lotus, and point out that Chinese modern art in the early 20th century combined with Republican modern life and social politics, adopted and imagined Western culture—from life to art—through the use of print media. Cao Hanmei employed a cross-media approach to achieve his imagination of modernity. Therefore, it created a singular culture which was developed in parallel with the reform process in China.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Fraser, Prof. Dr. Sarah E.
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 13 November 2020
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 08:15
Date: 2021
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens
Subjects: 700 The arts
Controlled Keywords: Cao Hanmei, The Golden Lotus, chinese gongbi painting, cartoon
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