Religion and Prison Art in Ming China (1368–1644)

Creative Environment, Creative Subjects

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and the Arts
Author: Ying Zhang 1
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  • 1 The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Abstract

Approaching the prison as a creative environment and imprisoned officials as creative subjects in Ming China (1368–1644), Ying Zhang introduces a few important themes at the intersection of premodern Chinese religion, poetry, and visual and material culture. The Ming is known for its extraordinary cultural and economic accomplishments in the increasingly globalized early modern world. For scholars of Chinese religion and art, this era crystallizes the essential and enduring characteristics in these two spheres. Drawing on scholarship on Chinese philosophy, religion, aesthetics, poetry, music, and visual and material culture, Zhang illustrates how the prisoners understood their environment as creative and engaged it creatively. She then offers a literature survey on the characteristics of premodern Chinese religion and art that helps situate the questions of “creative environment” and “creative subject” within multiple fields of scholarship.

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