Jinglin Lu

Date of Award


First Advisor

Christopher Coggins

Second Advisor

Joan DelPlato


Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, fengshui (风水, often translated as “geomancy”) has been considered “feudal superstition” (Ch. fengjian mixin 封建迷 信) by the government, so research on geomantic influences on ancient Chinese landscape painting has been neglected in the past century. Fengshui study (Ch. fengshuixue 风水学) includes the analysis of Chinese peoples’ conceptions of the ideal state of land and the proper relationships between the human community and its surroundings. Landscape paintings have long played an important role in the fengshui of interior architecture spaces of Chinese society and culture as a whole. This thesis is the first scholarly attempt to analyze the fengshui features in a specific painted scroll, as well as how fengshui theory shares the same philosophical foundations as ancient Chinese landscape painting. Thus, by influencing the cultural backgrounds of many artists, fengshui has also affected traditional painting styles, directly and indirectly. Traditional Chinese artists had a unique view of the natural environment, and from the paintings and literary works from the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589) onward, it is obvious that these landscape renderings are composed of the attitude and spirit of the artist himself, while the traditional landscape painting is just an objective description of external objects. This thesis focuses on Northern Song artist Wang Ximeng’s A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains (1113 CE) as an example of how the sentimental and naturalistic characteristics of ancient Chinese landscape painting involve a high degree of syncretism between fengshui theory and landscape painting.

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