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The Zoomorphic Imagination in Chinese Art and Culture$
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Jerome Silbergeld and Eugene Y. Wang

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824846763

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824846763.001.0001

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The Political Animal: Metaphoric Rebellion in Zhao Yong’s Painting of Heavenly Horses

The Political Animal: Metaphoric Rebellion in Zhao Yong’s Painting of Heavenly Horses

Chapter:
(p.289) Chapter 8 The Political Animal: Metaphoric Rebellion in Zhao Yong’s Painting of Heavenly Horses
Source:
The Zoomorphic Imagination in Chinese Art and Culture
Author(s):

Jerome Silbergeld

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824846763.003.0009

If an animal is depicted with features that seem more man than beast, it might just be that the artist's real interest has to do with people. With their historical treasure of animal lore, Chinese artists frequently used animals as people in their discourse on human affairs. Sometimes appearances suggest this substitution, while sometimes this is done by the inscriptions and poems which accompany the painting and suggest its intent. This chapter is about one such case. It features horses, painted by the fourteenth-century artist Zhao Yong working in a world both lit and shadowed by his famous father, Zhao Mengfu, accused by some as disloyal to their royal Zhao-family forebears in serving the Mongol Yuan regime, and interrogated for generations to come about whether or not they felt disloyal. This is Zhao Yong's own visual narrative, dated 1352, of certain events, with texts by friend and relative, set against the backdrop of the first peasant uprisings that eventually undermined Mongol power in China.

Keywords:   horse, horse painting, Mongols, Zhao Yong, Zhao Mengfu, Yuan dynasty, apparitions and portents

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