Pictorial forms of canonical interpretation in Song China (960-1279)

A map of China based on the canonical domain produced in the twelfth century
A map of China based on the canonical domain produced in the twelfth century

PhD Pre-submission Seminar

In Song China (960-1279), scholars increasingly used pictorial methods to interpret canonical knowledge and ideology. As argumentative and pedagogical tools, their diagrams, charts, and maps were designed to persuade in debates and to enliven pedagogy. This pictorial method therefore shaped how canonical texts and ideas were transmitted and received.

The pictorial exegeses complement long-held views of Chinese canonical learning that rely heavily on textual sources. Yet challenges remain for the study of pictorial materials: can arguments be extended by producing a picture instead of a text? If so, how pictures work with commentaries when they are not passive mnemonics, examples, or illustrations? By analysing a sample of debates underlying Song pictorial exegeses, this talk will show how visual hermeneutics might have operated at the time.

About the speaker

Yang Qin is a doctoral student in the School of Culture, History, and Languages, ANU. Her thesis is about the use of pictures as an interpretive tool in canonical exegesis, particularly in Song dynasty China.


Yang Qin

Dates & times

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

1.00pm - 2.30pm


Australian Centre on China in the World


Boardroom, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

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