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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
September 18, 2018, 10:52:34 pm
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Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

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Author Topic: Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery  (Read 313 times)
David
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« on: January 07, 2015, 08:25:26 pm »

Hello,

Just wanted to share a very nice book for rebus and motifs, by Patricia B Welch
Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

It is much boarder in scope and in some areas with very good depth, compared to Bartholomew's Hidden meaning in Chinese Art (very strong in plant based rebus or Southern Chinese, but weak in other areas).

I was pleasantly surprised that she covered at least some numbers, imperial symbols, court badges (military and non military), religious, and a few other areas. Some of these were skipped completely in the other work.

An added bonus is that the author paid for the rights (or manage to secure) to include pictures from quite a few property owners. It makes a huge difference to appreciate how the motifs were actually used and integrated into works of arts.

Best Regards,
David
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joearp
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 02:48:32 pm »

Where did you find a copy David?  I have the Bartholomew Book, but this one sounds interesting.  Thanks for sharing with us!
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David
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 10:02:51 pm »

Hello Jo,

You're welcome.

I found it on Amazon (they are actually a very good place to look for books, a lot of the the used stores like Paragon, Crunruh, Powell, friends of Huh Library etc... are on their market place.) But, sometimes need to be patient to wait for a good copy at a fair price.

http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Art-Motifs-Visual-Imagery/dp/0804843163/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420775781&sr=8-1&keywords=chinese+art+a+guide

I purchased a used hard copy, as I expect to flip through this book a lot.

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 09:15:45 am »

Dear David,
    I was invited to a book launch for this one when it first came out, at the Siam Society in Bangkok. The author was present, and gave a lecture on the topic. Regrettably, I did not buy a copy (signed and discounted 10% that evening), because I felt that both the talk and the book covered the same ground as three similar books I already had.
    The way you describe it now makes me wish I had bought it.
Tom
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Joey
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 02:41:48 pm »

Dear David,
    Thank you. I will buy this book after Sabbath ends here in Toronto ( in about 2 1/4 hrs.).
Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 03:37:53 pm »

Gosh, such a huge difference in price between the hardcover and paperback..
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 04:49:22 pm »

Dear George,

I noticed 2 things regarding buying expensive books (hardback or out of print) from Amazon marketplace. You need to be patient or diligent. Like hunting for bargains in collecting stuffs  Cheesy

1) Occasionally, a "friend" of Library seller or just a person getting rid of a collections of books will sell hardcover or nice ones for a really low price. I got my hardcopy for this one in very good condition for 21 including shipping. So, wait patiently and check back for such a chance.

2) Or if you search diligently, in the paperback section of listing. There are occasionally the chance to buy a good hardcover one at paperback price. (Like the Chinese Character ... by Wieger, the seller describe a hardcover copy in the paperback section at paperback price of 18, It is on it's way so I will know soon if I got a hardcover at a great price)

But for special books like Treasuries ... from Moss, I don't think there is much chance to buy one on the cheap.

Kindly,
David
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 04:53:57 pm »

Dear Joey,

I think you will enjoy this book, as a general knowledge one or reminder.  Grin Then you can dig into your library for the in depth knowledge.

Warmly (Stay warm in Toronto and take care, the weather is cray these days...),
David
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David

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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 04:56:39 pm »

Dear Tom,

Aside from Hidden Meaning in Chinese Art, what are the other 2 that you have? If I know them, then I might be able to give you an idea if it is worthwhile to get this one.

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2015, 08:35:16 pm »

Dear David,
     I bought a copy for Israel and another for Ireland.
Thank you,
Joey
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 11:30:53 pm »

Dear Joey,

You're welcome.

Chapters 4, 5, 6 (animals,insects, fish imaginary or real), the chapters in Part II (Mortal and Religious Beings) are the strong point of this book.

Part III is still good (chapter 15, 16 -numbers, religious symbols), but the other chapters are obviously out of her comfort zone.

The fruit, plant, flowers... is not as deep as or have as much exhaustive combination of rebus as the other book, but very balanced and more diverse.

Kindly,
David
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2015, 12:08:46 am »

Dear David,
     Thank you. This is great. For those subjects which are not as good in this book, I will stay with Therese Tse Bartholemew's book. So in effect, the two books are complementary (ie, they 'complete' each other).
    It is f---ing cold here! I want to be back home in Jerusalem already (and I have another 4 days still!). G-D, Please Help me, and Make my room and the outside, warmer. Amen.
Joey
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Steven
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 12:53:01 am »

Dear Joey,

There is definitely no nice weather during this season in Toronto. Keep warm and stay cool.Smiley

Best wish!

Steven
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2015, 05:55:01 am »


Aside from Hidden Meaning in Chinese Art, what are the other 2 that you have? If I know them, then I might be able to give you an idea if it is worthwhile to get this one.


Dear David,

The books I have are:

C.A.S. Williams, "Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives." Third Revised Edition. Dover Publications, New York, 1998.

Wolfram Eberhard, "A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols." Routledge, New York, 1998.

and another which deals less with symbolism, more with the myths and legends:

E.T.C. Werner, "Myths and Legends of China." Dover Publications, New York, 1994.

These are all good quality paper back re-prints of older editions (sewn binding, and acid-free paper that doesn't turn yellow).

Regards,
Tom
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David
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 01:59:14 pm »

Dear Tom,

While i was researching which books to "collect" for learning about Chinese Art, Traditions, History and Snuff bottles. I did came across some reviews on the following:

1) C.A.S. Williams, "Outline of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives". The sense I got was that it was a "bible for westerner" when first published, but there was a lot of mistakes/misconception as the author (I think no single person/group of person could make a general work of all areas.) only have limited reference materials or access to people (is it 1940s?). And it uses line drawing, and hard to tell if the symbolism is for literature or drawn/carved artworks. But, I might get one for completeness as it is often referenced to in notes and endnotes.

3) Werner, I believe people who looks down on the culture that they are writing about are not even worthy of further research.

Based on what I read from the reviews and my views, I think money spend on Patricia Welch's book will not be a waste for you.


I did not buy any of Eberhard's books (don't understand German, and the english translate is too pricey for a curiosity reading), but I did came across him while researching what to "collect". Wolfram Eberhard's work should be of the level of S. Cammann in folklore. That book on symbols was first published in 1983, but due to his methodical way (engineering-objecive) from sample pages on Amazon, I believe it is worthwhile to have. I do plan on buying one if an old used one come up at a good price. If you assume this one is the detailed bones, then Welch's book is the meat in most areas.

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 02:15:27 pm »

Dear Joey,

I will think warmly for you  Grin hope the "energy" passes some heat to you.

Do you like raw ginger?

If you wash a piece of ginger clean and then use a knife to shave off the "knots, wrinkles etc..." but keep as much of the smooth skin as possible. Then wash it again.

Then you can slice it thin (~ 10 pages thick), and put a few slices in a hot cup of water. Then drink it, it will help you to stay warm and counter the cold inside of you.

If you feel you are catching a cold, sinus is stuffy or throat have mucus, then you can keep a slice in your mouth and slowly bite down to let the juice cover the inside of the mouth and throat (spit out the fiber/skin when it is no longer juicing, if you have a weak stomach, else swallowing it is fine). It helps sometimes. (but don't overdo it, and stop if you feel it makes you cough). And after 2-4 slices, take a spoonful of honey or a cup of warm water.


Yes, these 2 books complement each other. But I think we will need to find 3-5 more books to really complete this area (and will need to skip Buddhist symbols... they may have more then all the other areas put together...).

Stay warm,
David
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 03:09:08 pm »

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your list of books, the naming is different from what I looked for before and I was able to get a used copy of William's 2000 and Bernhard's book 1986 for basically just shipping!

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 08:28:22 pm »

Dear David,

I believe the Werner book was written in the 1930s. I don't know whose review you read, or where (if it was from Amazon, take it with a pinch of salt - anyone can air their personal opinion on their "reviews"). The comment about "looking down on the culture that they are writing about" comes as a surprise, because I never got that feeling from his book! Sure, it is written for a Western audience, and there are anomalies, but I find it to be a useful cross-reference.

All three books were bought because they are frequently referred to in books about snuff bottles.

Tom
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 11:34:46 pm »

Thanks Tom!

I just ordered my copies. 
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Pat
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David
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2015, 11:57:08 pm »

Dear Tom,

I check a reviewer's (R. Adam) other reviews when it comes out negative in this kind of way. And I don't detect that he is oversensitive or a negative person from his other ones. If I recall correctly there are also 2 other reviewers (out of 10 or 11 total) that were put off by his commentary/opinion as being offensive or moralizing.

When I cross check the author on the internet, a reference to him on Wikipedia and another on Shanghailist's review of "Midnight in Peking" by Paul French do not paint a scholarly picture and seem to paint a picture of someone that is angry with his situation and do not get along with both fellow British or the Chinese that he lives with.

So, I assumed that he is one of those kind of authors.

The price of his book is low enough 3.99 + a few cents that I will go ahead and order one to see why he is so controversial and if someone like me will be offended.

Best Regards,
David
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David

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