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|Title:||China, a Man in the Guise of an Upright Female: Photography, the Art of the Hands, and Mei Lanfang's 1930 Visit to the United States|
Mei Lanfang;Benjamin March;Qi Rushan;female impersonator;orchid fingers/gestures
|Issue Date:||2018-04-10 17:34:33 (UTC+8)|
The visit of Mei Lanfang's theater troupe to the United States in 1935 and the related cultural exchanges in both theatrical and broader senses have formed an extending research field. This paper approaches by examining the pictorial materials produced for and resulted by Mei's visit, which include photographs published for the preparation of Mei's visit, those sent to the United States prior to the visit, those taken by a local professional photographer during the visit, shots of hand gestures taken by an American scholar in Beijing after the visit, as well as the subsequent wood engravings. These materials reveal the impact modern photography had on the art of Peking opera as represented by Mei. Moreover, Mei's images talk back to the international society regarding its image of China.For the traditional scholar-officials, the orchid represents high moral stature and cultural refinement. When Qi Rushan interprets Mei's hand gestures by using the orchid metaphor, he was able to connect Peking opera with the elite culture and help uplift its social status. In the meantime, Mei's orchid gestures, accompanied by other attitudes of the body, provide clear images to his female characters. Magnified by modern photography, these images eventually stress the acting aspect (as opposed to mere singing) of Peking opera, allowing the art form to find an enthusiastic echo well beyond the members of the Western avant-garde.
|Relation:||東亞觀念史集刊 , 7, 3-52|
|Appears in Collections:||[東亞觀念史集刊] 期刊論文|
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