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Presented By: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

The Premodern Colloquium. Arboreal Aesthetics: Trees, Traces, and Trails in the Art of Wen Zhengming (1470–1559)

Lihong Liu, U-M History of Art

Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty
Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty
This is an essay extended from my larger project considering an ecocritical approach to Chinese painting. I look at Wen Zhengming's Seven Junipers as an example. My discussion illustrates how the artist reimagined place (a Daoist temple in Changshu) with a sense of deeper time by reconstituting the constellation of old trees in a holistic composition.

By this means, I argue, Wen revealed the limitations of an anthropocentric worldview: the torn and twisted web of arboreal imprint stands for the vicissitudes of the living world and the cosmos. The challenge of the project is to situate the case study in a global context. Can we relate it to current intellectual debates about the human-world relationship and its politics?
Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty
Wen Zhenming, Locust Tree Tent, Ming dynasty

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September 25, 2022 (Sunday) 4:00pm
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