Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

Front Cover
Tuttle Publishing, Mar 15, 2008 - Art - 288 pages
2 Reviews
"Chinese Art examines the meanings behind the hundreds of common motifs and symbols found in all forms of Chinese art, exposing their linguistic, metaphoric or historic origins, common usage, and diverse applications. Plants, flowers, real and imaginary animals and birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians, colors, numbers, and a myriad of inanimate images and personages communicate auspicious and benevolent messages in the Chinese vocabulary of decorative art. Many of the symbols are easily recognizable, and thanks to China's love of the past, reappear almost continuously. A perfect reference for collectors, museum-goers, docents, students of Chinese art, and anyone else with a serious interest in the culture and history of China, the book includes both Chinese and Pinyin text, over 630 illustrations (including references to on-line collections), an extensive index in both Chinese and English, a bibliography, and a list of recommended museums and other places to visit with interesting collections of Chinese art."--Publisher's website.

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Review: Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

User Review  - Ray Heaton - Goodreads

First impression is that 5 stars doesn't do this book justice; it's a visual treat and has real depth of learning within it. I suspect this will become my go-to reference book! Read full review

Review: Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

User Review  - Sebastien - Goodreads

Really like the way this book is organized (by specific images and motifs). Also, lots of great color photos of artwork accompanying the text (which is concise and very informative). Read full review


Apricot Blossoms 19 Artemisia Leaf 20 Bamboo 20 Asian Paradise Flycatcher 68 Chinese Bulbul 68
Bindweed 22 Calamus 23 Camellia 23 Cock and Cockerel 68 Crane 69 Crow 71 Dove
Lily 26 Lotus 27 Magnolia 30 Maple 31 Marigold Peacock 78 Pheasant 80 Phoenix 80 Pigeon 83
Quince 39 Reeds 39 Roots 39 Sacred
Bran 47 Cabbage 47 Calabash or Bottle Frog 102 Goldfish 102 Katydid 102 Lizard 102
Jujube 54 Kumquat 54 Longan 54
Rice 58 Sweet Potato 58 Turnip 58 Wheat 58 Bear 114Camel 114Cat 115 Deer 116 Dog 118
Silver 65 Tiger 145 Tomb Guardian 147 Water Buffalo 147
God of Longevity 159 God of Rank and Emolument
Immortals of the Wine Cup 182 Sixteen or Eighteen
Clouds or Clouds and Thunder 212 Riiyi 212 Archways 247 Axes 247 Baskets 247 Bells 247
Colors 218 Shoes 259 Staff 260 Sun 260 Swastika 261 Swords
Religious Images and Symbols 238

Minerals 60 Jiaoduan 134 Kirtimukha 134 Leopard 135 Lion

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Patricia Bjaaland Welch is a former lecturer in Chinese philosophy and art at Boston University. She is a frequent lecturer on subjects relating to Chinese art and history, and currently resides in Singapore.

Bibliographic information