All Puns Intended: Wordplay and Visual Imagery in China

January 28, 2010 - March 24, 2010

Teaching Gallery

Curated by Laure-Helene Caseau ’10, Kai Chen ’13, and Andrew Rosseau ’11, with Ankeney Weitz, Associate Professor of Art and East Asian Studies

Chinese decorative art mostly consists of auspicious imagery, including many varieties of flowers—especially hibiscus, peony, and lotus—and animals like bats, dragons, cranes, and bees. By joining several images together, Chinese artists inscribed clever puns or rebuses upon the surfaces of objects and paintings. Understanding the images in this exhibition will depend on a special kind of reading in which the sound of the symbol’s name rhymes with the sound of another word or phrase.