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The Song Dynasty saw the beginnings of a sustained trend toward commercialization and field of expertise in textile production. New divisions of labor created the progressive marginalization of women's real and perceived contribution to this economic sector. the process was slow, grueling, And irregular, But by the end of the Ming weaving of all but subsistence homespuns had almost become a male task. What did it mean for women to lose their status as primary producers and as the databases of an important field of technical knowledge and skills?1

Textiles have played a large part in the constructing of Chinese societies, Specifically if you're considering gender divisions and the separation of inner and outer social spheres. Through an analytical look at visual culture I wish to explore how textiles were represented in the arts and get the job done feminine aesthetic originally connected to textile production was also prominent in the arts. As my case studies I can be at four images from the Yuan, Ming in addition to Qing dynasties: The Ming piece of art Spring Morning in the Han Palace by Qin Ying (1494 1552), Chen Hongshou's picture Female Immortals (1598 1652) coming from your Late Ming/Early Qing period, The Yuan dynasty (1279 1368) Tapestry After Cui Bo's painting like a professional "Swallows and Apricot forest, And the Qing painting them Pine and Fungi by Empress Dowager Cixi (1897). I will argue that the way in which China's inner and outer social spheres differ from the european private and public space dichotomy promoted an environment that fostered the creation of non gendered art; because of this, The social structure shift in the Late Imperial Period did not affect gendered aesthetics connected to textiles.

"Men right until, young women Weave, Is a normal saying that persisted in Chinese society until the Song dynasty by which time the original meaning of the phrase had been lost. Early Imperial China was an agriculturally based people. Men would work in the fields while the women remained out of the fields creating cloth. Textile production was not easy, Nor was it perceived as such by Chinese society. The attribution of the expert understanding and skills involved in textile production were the exclusive domain of women into the Song dynasty.2

The gendered spatial distinction between inner and outer spheres in Imperial China is not parallel to the european conception of private and public spheres. Instead of considering inner and outer spheres as exclusive domains determined by gender it is more apt to contemplate this dichotomy as boundaries shifting along a continuum. "Women's work in China was simply defined as the making of textiles; The inner quarters were identified not as a zone of dependence but as a site of essential effective activity, Tying the family unit into the polity,3 Women were not thought inferior in their contribution to the household's income. Their work in textiles was equally important to that of the men in the field. likewise, Great thinkers of that time period felt that the roots of correct government lie in the women's quarters. One such sufferer, Lan Dingyuan, proclaimed that "The fruits of nugong, merchandise of inner chambers, built women into networks that connected inner and outer worlds,4

Spring Morning in the Han Palace by Qin Ying is a scroll which represents many aspects of courtly life including sericulture practices. existing composition of the hand scroll is inspired from the story of Zhao jun.5

Records from the Western Han dynasty relate the story of a portrait that took over as the focus of _Spring_early morning in the Han Palace] Since the emperor depended upon portraits to choose from the many women of his harem, The ladies bribed the artists to create lovelier than life resemblances all the ladies, to the, Except the gorgeous Zhao jun. Mao's portrait of her was correspondingly unflattering and she was mistreated by her sovereign. When a northern Xiong nu6 chieftain questioned to wed a beauty from the Han harem, The emperor was only too glad to call forth Zhao jun, Who to his dismay in real life was not as she appeared in the painting. The tale of the wonder thus "condemned" To live out her life among the northern tribes was recalled for over a thousand years 7

Qin Ying in Spring Morning in the Han Palace has chosen to depict multiple female beauties attired in lusciously patterned fabrics filling the entire hand scroll aside from the story of Zhao jun. The important issue is regardless of whether Qin Ying depicts women in idealized form or if he depicts them in a more realistic manner. For the sake of clarity in my visual analysis I will focus on the depiction of textiles primarily in one section from the scroll.8

Female figures in Spring Morning are depicted with minimal variations in facial features and body language. The attire of each female which incorporates her garment, hair, And precious hair adornments differentiates between figures. In the detail of Spring Morning the two outer figures in the top half of the scene are draped in excessive variety of fabric. you might at least five layers of fabric adorning the figure on the left. On the right the figure is encumbered by fabric to the point that her hands and feet are not visible and she appears incapable of physical activity.

In the lower half of the detail the center figure is enrobed in massive quantities of fabric while two assistants flanking her are clothed in simpler garments. The way Qin Ying represents the textures and patterns of the pad are clearer in this middle figure. the different fabrics are exemplars of embroidered, Self designed, And resist dyed applications.9 Decorative patterning of fabric is utilized by Qin Ying to enhance the body language of the figure. The patterns wrap around the form of the body and conform to the rippling and folding options of the fabric.

These textile commonalities are not reserved exclusively for the females in the composition. At the far left of the scroll are five male amounts: The artist sitting inside what is apparently a scholar's studio as he paints Zhao jun's portrait; Two males standing as they converse just beyond the studio; And two men outside the wall on the very edge of the scroll involved in physical activity. each of these male figures are also wrapped in multiple layers of fabrics creating a rounded, pretty languid, Body pose. The garments of the artist figure are the easiest to ascertain how various patterns produced by textile techniques are depicted. The accuracy of the pattern is sacrificed for the luxury of illustrating the flimsy and flowing nature of the silk. Qin Ying does not alter his method of representing textiles when they are adorning a male figure the depicted materials used to wrap the female figures are conceptually no different from those wrapping the male figures.

It is difficult to reconcile this visual depiction of women wrapped in textiles with Bray's argument concerning the relationship between the production of textiles by women and the networking in the political sphere it created. It is imperative to notice that Ming artists such as Qin Ying had agendas other than using visual art as an instructional medium to show how society should function. One analysis of the driving force behind Ming art that used women or beauties as the subject is as follows: "Ming artists in their paintings of women inherited the brush pointers of their Tang and Song predecessors, An inheritance that became augmented by the literati tastes of their own time. This artistic infusion saw the creation of novel10 types of subject matter and stylistic form,11 Expression was in many ways the real model of literati paintings. The social magnitude of the image was secondary; The story was merely the car for the tradition of amateur painting expression.

To clarify the issue concerning get the job done wrapping of women in textiles is an act of objectification (for the male artist) I will view Chen Hongshou's Female Immortals.12 Female Immortals consists of two women standing in a desolate environment. Spatially, The composition is defined by the organic shaped rocks, Which mimic the curve of the standing figures, Focusing the eye on the central element of the painting. it is difficult to identify the specific women represented, there is however a strong argument for identifying the prominent figure in the foreground as Magu. "Supporting an detection _from_the figure] As Magu are the future, Talon like fingernails, The branch of flourishing plum her name is also given as "Plum floral Girl" the particular garlands of cloth,13 This is likely a painting of the goddess Magu that was probably presented to a couple on their silver or golden wedding.14 compared to the Qin Ying painting, These two immortal women are not wrapped in fabric so much as they are obscured by it.

Whereas Spring Morning balances expression and naturalism of the represented female form in art, The stylistic conventions in Female Immortals reject a naturalistic reading of the scene providing instead a harsh sturdiness or firm capability to the female form that is absent from Spring Morning. Chen Hongshou appropriates his line utilisation of the from the past. His technique interlaces strong line work with large areas pattern that are more idiosyncratic than realistic when ascribed to figure paintings. One account of his work considers his figure paintings as compilations of "overstated, Somewhat distorted shapes tinged with slow archaism _your_ex boyfriend] Drew his paintings of women into a realm of highly fuzy artistic expression,15 The solidity or weightiness of his female figures is established through his method of depicting textiles. Garments in Female Immortals look as if a piece of patterned fabric had been cut to appropriate shape, Glued within scroll, And the line work added by Chen Hongshou.

enter in firm, Virtually unmodulated lineament lends an air of stiffness and angularity to the figures which suggests that they instead of the rocks are composed of adamantine substance _with_ The textile patterns are arranged regardless of the natural fall of the cloth and hence, currently being flat, Visually deny the substantiality of the figures their loved ones.16

The pattern of the textile itself has become similar to the surface of one of the organic rock forms mobile. The pattern is painted on the garment without consideration of the cloth's characteristics. regardless of the natural fall of the material, The garment remains in a flat geometric plane when face-to-face with Magu. persevering with in this vein of analysis, you'll be able to make an argument asserting that Chen Hongshou's approach to representation ultimately imbues the female figure with attributes of a hard, very soft organic object like jadeite. Due to the duration of this paper I cannot explore this view further. of course, As the argument for my paper is focused on femininity included with textiles, Such a reading as this doesn't contradict my conclusions.

it will be significant to ascertain what aesthetic effect wrapping a female figure with an inflexible _a href= to tell if a chinese woman likes you_/a_ and impenetrable shield like textile produces. One can be reading is that since Magu was an immortal, She was invulnerable to earthly threats to her safety. Another view is to consider the inflexible cloth wrapper as a rejection of a female figure being defined by the textiles she is presented in. it seems as though the textile itself is being given its own agency within the image. This tension from the fairly naturalistic figure and the flat, Rock like item of clothing is jarring to the viewer. regardless Chen Hongshou's intent, His method of addressing patterned textiles in Female Immortals separates the fabric from the female form. The associations of wrapping the figure in fleshy silk to create an aesthetically feminine object of pleasure are negated through this style of description.

Up to this point I have focused on painted representations of textiles to discern whether or not there is an intrinsic femininity regarding objects of sericulture. I will end my argument with a discussion of two art objects: A Yuan tapestry copy of a great master painting like a professional; And a Late Qing painting of similar subject material by a female artist. in doing this I will evaluate the association of an intrinsic feminine aesthetic with textiles from a physical looking at textiles as the medium rather than purely visual perspective. I have chosen these art objects for the following reasons: The art objects are separated by more than five centuries; The subject theme is similar; And the styles of expression have important relationships to address.

There is a strong tradition of reverence in nature, principally gardens, In Chinese culture. All aspects of the garden are used as the subject matter of literature in the forms of treatises, Short reviews, books, Memoirs, in addition narratives.17 In Late Imperial China the genre of flower and plant paintings were thought-about inferior to landscape painting. Yet men and women often painted such images. The thought for painting this genre was the same for both genders. It usually centered on consumer demands or the specialty of the family or school the artist was attributed with. as an example, in Qing dynasty, Although viewed inferior, The genre of flower and plant painting was greatly popular.18

The large separation of time between the creation of After Cui Bo's "Swallows and Apricot bonsai tree" And Pine and Fungi denotes two end points of a heritage timeline; These two artwork represent the initial and final stages of the shift from female to male dominance in sericulture. Women to make certain period were also transitioning into the art world. Women of this period took part in activities Westerners often consider the exclusive domain of males. Letters from the Ming and Qing period written by women to family and social contacts provide a more complete picture of how a woman's duties, memories, And fun-based activities were woven together in her life. involving "Letters tell us that Ming and Qing women in elite families also enjoyed reading and commenting on historical works and classical books; They were skilled in calligraphy and painting on which they didn't hesitate to offer comments,19 Any conclusions concerning feminine aesthetics most typically associated with textiles in these images will be in some way reflective of the social environment in which the art was created.

Chinese art possesses many instances of cross media influences, completely designs with plant and birds were easily adaptable into textile works. My final two images fall within this genre of flower and plant intended theme. when you are done Cui Bo's "Swallows and Apricot bonsai" Is a tapestry reproduction of Cui Bo's original painting from the Song dynasty. This tapestry was made in the Yuan when women's roles in sericulture and Chinese society were starting to change. The image is of a blossoming apricot tree behind an without chemicals shaped rock. Two swallows are depicted flying uphill around the tree limbs. Pine and fungi by Empress Dowager Cixi (1897) Is a late Qing piece of art. The Empress Dowager was noted for bold gestures and obvious messages in both her calligraphy and painting. It depicts an picture of a pine covered in fungi painted in a contorted shape.

Embroidered reproductions of great master paintings were popular in the Qing dynasty along with Song dynasty. Although textile works were generally valued below paintings, The literati referred to the skill required to create tapestries. Works such as After Cui Bo were preferred for their aesthetic beauty. The great Ming dynasty painter Dong Qichang said of embroideries in his group:

The needlework of Song embroidery is fine and tight, Using just one or two strands of floss and needles as thin as hair. use of color is exquisite and delicate, With a splendor that dazzles the eye. The landscapes know the difference far and near; The towers and pavilions obtain a real world in space; The human figures all give the idea of life like movement seen from afar; And the flowers and birds have a fairly mild, super-hero __] air. The best examples can beat painting.20

essentially After Cui Bo is a Yuan tapestry, The method of textile work is identical to that of the Song dynasty. It is easy to see in a visual analysis After Cui Bo properties expressed in this Dong Qichang quote. The outlines which define the apricot blossoms are created by a single strand of floss making it difficult to differentiate between the background and the blossoms. Veins in the plants at the foot of the tree and the hints of barely visible grasses in cream floss are subtle details which have an immense impact upon the composition. When together with the black brushstroke like lines which define the ground plane, These delicate details of plant matter obtain a real existence in space enhancing the otherwise flat blocks of greenish color. The two swallows are portrayed in extreme detail. Although the threads creating the swallows are built-into the physical structure of the textile, The swallows do not appear tied to the setting. The feathering of red wings and the thin grey line which defines the lower bird's chest gives an airy feel to the swallows.

Dong Qichang's assertion that some textile works can be superior to painting deserves attention. His quote definitely seems to be attributing superior qualities to bright colors, Strong arrangements, And life like renderings that are met through understated means. Empress Dowager Cixi's Pine and Fungi is not a notably impressive work in the eyes of most modern scholars. To them the decline of court art using the Empress Dowager's lifetime "Paralleled the degeneration of the political situation,21 even, there are many similarities in Pine and Fungi to those attributes Dong Qichang elevated. The brushwork used to represent the pine needles is incredibly thin. It is applied in two colors a pale gray green and a brown green setting the illusion of space. Space within the composition is also addressed at the foot of the pine. when compared to the similar area in After Cui Bo22 the size and direction of strokes achieve the same visual effect. Large blocks of color used to delineate the contorted organic shaped rock and the knobby tree limbs in the tapestry are echoed in the fungi and divisions of the pine. Though similar to ink washes, other locations of red, yellow orange, And yellowish orange in the fungi do not completely blend. They remain separate as when there is a thin line dividing the areas. It creates the same aesthetic affect as the varying bluish areas of color in the tapestry which blend optically but are created from physical intermeshing of individual threads.23

It is don't forget this the context of this final comparison: It is of a male composition created through a customarily female medium, With a painting developed by a female artist. The content, Though not the precise same, Is of the same genre so gender difference cannot be made on this basis. in the case stylistic divisions between medium, I defer to Dong Qichang's words of wisdom. As an advocate for literati painter, I find his assertion that embroidery can surpass painting as a medium suggests an atmosphere which cultivates non gendered art.

From my discussion I conclude that there is no specifically feminine aesthetic linked with textiles in Chinese art. anyhow, I do observe that my case studies are far from comprehensive of the centuries they cover. I feel it is valid to assert from my research presented above that while there was cross over between your mediums of textiles and painting, The gender traditionally associated with the production of the medium does not create a gendered perception of that medium i.
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