Image and Self-Cultivation

Wang Ping


Gewu ( 格物 ) is a Confucian theory about the systematic study of things, which will directly affect the painting’s subject matter. In the process of collecting, classifying, and documenting the spectrum of painting subject matter in the Song Dynasty, we found that the richness of a landscape’s painting subject matter is unique. Through investigating the history of thought and cultural history, we found that in the era of this painting the development of China’s “erudite culture” was at its peak. It was this culture and concept that gave birth to this painting style. Through this research we realized, if only from the point of iconography itself, these works can be perceived as boring and meaningless, but through art history or cultural history their value will be displayed.

Key Words

Iconology, iconography, subject matter, Gewu, Chinese painting

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