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第 1  期


The Chinese Frontier—Images of Minorities during World War II
作者 周芳美
Author Fang-mei Chou
關鍵詞 東方主義上海漫畫少數民族中國化龐薰琹吳作人張道藩
Keywords Orientalism, minorities, Pang Xunqin, Wu Zuoren, Sinicization of Western painting, Shanghai
摘要 二十世紀初受西學的影響,中國也興起民族誌的調查。一些通俗畫報雜誌開始刊載描繪少數民族生活圖像的作品和介紹他們的生活習慣及節慶。民國二十六年對日抗戰開始後,中國的西部成為政府的新重心,民族學的研究也突飛猛進,少數民族的文物亦成為展覽的重點。曾赴歐留學的西畫家們隨著他們所任教的美術學校逃難遷徙到中國的西部,使得他們有機會實地觀察雲貴川藏地區少數民族的生活。透過西方訓練中的寫生要求,邊地人民的生活成為入畫的題材。雖然沒有文字上的確切明示,但從作品的風格分析比較中,我們發現一些畫家的取景角度和內容近似於西方十九世紀中的「東方主義」作品。二十世紀初當這些畫家們仍在歐洲留學時,他們都有機會看到一些歐洲「東方主義」的藝術作品,因此這個現象也許可以視為是他們對西學的一種反芻。


Abstract In the early 20th century, China, under the influence of the West, also began undertaking ethnological surveys. Some popular illustrated magazines began printing pictures depicting the lives of minority groups and introducing their customs and festivals. After the War of Resistance against Japan started in 1937, China's West became the new center of government. Great advances were made in ethnological research on the people of this region, whose handiwork also became the focus of numerous museum exhibitions. Artists who had gone abroad to study oil painting followed the schools that employed them to China's West, where they had the opportunity to observe the lives of minorities on-site in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Tibet. As a result of their Western training, frontier life became suitable subject matter for them. Some artists' works, in their selection of scene, perspective and content, resembled the Western “Orientalist” works of the mid-19th century, though the artists themselves never admitted this in writing. European Orientalist works were in fact readily available for viewing and analysis while these artists studied in the West. Thus their depictions of minorities may be seen as an outgrowth of their studies in Europe.

Some thought-provoking questions about this phenomenon include: was these artists' understanding of the “Orientalist” strain of Western art limited to emulating its form? Or were they able to delve into its cultural significance but chose instead to execute works that may be described as a kind of formalistic substitution or cultural metonymy? When Chinese artists chose this subject matter, was it a pure expression of the “depiction from life” idea, an emulation of a Western style done in ignorance of its significance, or did they intend to convey both the background differences between Chinese and barbarian and a “Greater Chinese” consciousness?

In this essay I discuss the wartime works of Pang Xunqin and Wu Zuoren to elucidate various factors that affected how images of China's minorities were expressed and interpreted: esthetic considerations, the blending of Chinese and Western artistic traditions, political policies, and artists' relations with high officials. If we consider these artists' accomplishments with a view to understanding how they combined Western and Chinese techniques, we find that Wu Zuoren still used as his starting point the techniques of oil painting. Wu's works directly convey to the viewer a positive image of a beautiful frontier, which suddenly functioned as the “new center” and an important supply source for China during World War II. Through these paintings, a Chinese viewer would see not only what he or she would consider “exotic” but also a utopian realm unlike that of the rest of the war-torn country. No wonder people thought they represented the reappearance of beautiful landscapes, a redefinition of Chinese territory, an indicator of “the Sinicization of Western painting.” Pang Xunqin, on the other hand, was limited by the availability of materials and had to pick up once more the methods of traditional Chinese painting. However, his paintings, compared with Wu's, are subdued in tone, and the people he depicted seem to be uniformly emotionless—to the point that one official criticized the paintings as “injurious to the nation's prestige.” Ironically, Pang's works attracted Western buyers at the time.
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