The Transformation of Guai Imagery in China (1949-78)

Chen, Sijing (2018) The Transformation of Guai Imagery in China (1949-78). Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Final thesis volume 1 (Text) - chen sijing.pdf

Download (5MB)
Final thesis volume 2 (Figure) - chen sijing.pdf

Download (7MB)


Guai are bound up with Chinese traditional culture, and have been presented via various cultural forms, such as literature, drama, New Year print and costume. Indeed, guai imagery has played a significant role in the definition and development of traditional Chinese visual culture. Throughout history, guai visual products reflected national values, aesthetic appreciation and philosophical aspirations.

Nevertheless, in twentieth-century China, political, social and religious transitions have changed the traditional role of guai imagery. Particularly, from the year 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded to 1978 when economic reform and the Open Door Policy were introduced, guai visual production was under Mao’s artistic control nationwide, and its political functions became dominant. Traditional guai imagery was politically filtered and modified to satisfy both Mao and the Communist Party’s political aspirations and the public aesthetic.

This research examines the transformation of guai imagery formally and symbolically in the Chinese aesthetic and cultural context from 1949 to 1978, and builds knowledge to evaluate and understand the production, dissemination and perception of guai visual products in this period. It provides a contribution to the understanding of the inherent values of guai and how the reinterpretation of guai imagery that reflects political, social and cultural values in Chinese visual art.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: I wish to thank all those who supported this study. I first thank all the interviewees for sharing their knowledge and experiences with me so that I could understand and explore this study more deeply. I would like to thank Wang Mingxian, Jiang Jimeng, Yang Liren and Yang Peiming, who provided me with image sources. I also thank the National Library of China, Shanghai Library, Anhui Library, the Secondary Historical Archives of China, the Universities Service Centre for China Studies in Hong Kong, Birmingham City University Library and the British Library who provided literature and visual sources. I am particularly grateful to my three supervisors, Professor Joshua Jiang, Professor Stephan Feuchtwang and Dr. Sian Vaughan for their comments, patience and encouragement to complete this thesis. Finally, I thank my parents for the material and spiritual support they have given, by showing their confidence in me, I was able to enjoy doing this research.
8 June 2018Completed
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-04 - languages and area studies > CAH19-04-06 - Asian studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 14:58
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:50

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...