Chinese Ideas of Beauty and Erotica: Ancient to Modern
6 Units of Credit6 UOC
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This course is designed to explore the experiences and representations of beauty in Chinese culture. We will examine the intersections where philosophical ideas (Daoism, Buddhism as well as Confucianism) and literary conventions influence Chinese concepts of beauty, including China's long history of erotica, as reflected in both written and visual texts. We will examine different spheres of beauty in Chinese culture, including the human body, family life, society and nature. We will consider questions such as: What underpins the notion of beauty in pre-modern China? Who/What are considered beautiful, and why? Have aesthetic values changed over time? How? What accounts for the rich repertoire of poetic/artistic images and motifs that tap into thousand of years of Chinese history? What is the desired balance between yin & yang, and between feminine beauty and masculine attractiveness? Such questions and more will be investigated in the light of Chinese cosmos and aesthetics.We will critically analyze and appreciate both written and visual texts as cultural artifacts and symbolic expressions of aesthetic values.
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