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Flowers as symbols and metaphors in Chinese culture

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Tay, SC 2005 , 'Flowers as symbols and metaphors in Chinese culture', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Chinese floral culture reveals a process of transferring flowers into cultural symbols and artistic metaphors. This transference takes place through juxtaposing verbal art with that of visual expression. Investigating the process of transference and juxtaposition will test three arguments. They include: the possibility of communication; a quest for the idealisation of the Chinese people; and the implementation of social, political and literacy power as a means for fulfilling the ideal Juxtaposition implies contrast and a new relationship and metaphor suggests new insight and dialogue. By investigating these processes I am seeking to reveal a new paradigm for cultural understanding.
Ceramic flowers will be constructed as models and prototypes which will be formed into a visual thesis under the title of 'Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom.' The visual presentation does not directly fit within the Chinese or any particular cultural context, but attempts to propose a common language for cultural acquaintance as well as to promote a sense of awareness of cultural differences.
The installation consists of three groups of flower prototypes linked by the concept of the bridge. The bridge is often perceived as a medium for connection, extension and relating, but paradoxically and metaphorically it is also a channel for invasion, conquering and change. Different cultures are interconnected, overlapping and competing, therefore one needs to be aware of these ambiguous cultural relationships and the paradoxical effect of bridging.
The interplay between the ambiguous and the paradoxical is much more complex than we can imagine in reality. I will examine these dual processes through Chinese floral symbols and metaphors and their positive and negative outcomes. The temperament that underlines this examination will be one of empathy, an understanding of the complementary and interdependent nature of opposites which is fundamental to Chinese thought and philosophy.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Tay, SC
Keywords: Flowers in art, Symbolism in art, Art, Chinese
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

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