Symbolism in Nature

Chinese artists and poets often depict aspects of nature to symbolize greater themes. In order to better understand the meaning behind Chinese poetry or art, it is crucial to have some knowledge about the symbolism employed by the artists and poets. From expansive landscapes to the smallest flower, all of these components of nature hold symbolic meaning in Chinese artwork.

This exhibition begins with the exploration of landscapes and then transitions to an examination of smaller natural entities such as: bamboo, pine trees, chrysanthemums, and lotuses. Moving from inclusivity to specificity, these paintings express messages related to enlightenment, endurance, longevity, perseverance, and beauty. By examining the themes and symbols behind the images, viewers can gain a deeper understanding of an artist’s message.

The pairing of poems with paintings serves to further enhance the themes visually illustrated. The words often clarify the symbolism in a work of art. This pairing enriches the overall viewing experiences; however in order to understand the significance of the pairing one must consider the symbols that comprise the combination.

Online Student Curatorial Team:
Beatrice Hesselbart ‘20, Diana Chen ‘17, and Francesca Harrison ‘19

Beatrice Hesselbart ‘20, Diana Chen ‘17, and Francesca Harrison ‘19
Photographs by Lynne Graves for SCMA.