Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Standard

Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific. / Cheok, Linda Ai Wah.

2016.

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Harvard

Cheok, LAW 2016, 'Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific', Masters, The University of Western Australia.

APA

Cheok, L. A. W. (2016). Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific

Vancouver

Cheok LAW. Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific. 2016.

Author

Cheok, Linda Ai Wah. / Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific. 2016.

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@misc{469b8da677794ae394df1e0dbd6b128f,
title = "Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific",
abstract = "The quest to find a common visual language across the Indo-Pacific is thefocus of this project, which combines a written dissertation with anexhibition of exploratory artworks. The scope of the written thesis coversthe ornament of China, Japan and Singapore, with Peranakan artistictraditions of Singapore as the pivot of the comparative study. Peranakanartistic traditions have been chosen as the pivot because I am partPeranakan and would like to see a revival of the culture that is currently indecline, or at least, an active remembering of my heritage. As such, at theheart of this thesis is a detailed study of the motifs on some ceramic itemsof Peranakan origin held in private collections and how the symbolicinterpretation of these motifs provides access to Peranakan traditions.Other countries in the Indo-Pacific have been represented in the creativecomponent through artworks that explore and intertwine the various artisticcultures of the region.“Pride and Prejudice” the other half of the project title is a wry take onJane Austen’s novel of the same moniker. It takes into account theinfluence British imperialism has wielded over the fortunes and culture ofthe Peranakan Chinese in Singapore during the Colonial era. In thisdissertation, ‘pride’ also refers to artisanal pride in mastering the requisiteskills of the various craft trades, and ‘prejudice’, to the perceived inferiorityof crafts when compared against the fine arts. An argument is advancedthroughout the dissertation that as the motifs and patterns that have beenapplied to Asian artefacts carry secret meanings that can be interpreted bypeople of the particular cultures in question, these craftsmen or theircommissioning patrons are not being merely decorative, but have imbuedtheir work with thought, creating art with content in the contemporaryWestern sense. These twin elements of ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’ have thusbeen woven into the fabric of the dissertation.This thesis moves through three chapters in a narrative style, starting withan auto-ethnographic approach in the first chapter dealing with issues ofidentity, heritage and hybridity that I have experienced as a member of thePeranakan Chinese diaspora from Singapore living in Perth and Japan.In writing about my Singaporean Peranakan Chinese heritage, I am givinga portrait of a particular kind of society: superstitious, commercial, and ofmixed British and Chinese influence. Tracing my genealogical roots andrecounting the lives of my forebears gives me a portal to the past and of aculture that has changed. All these factors have impacted my studiopractice as my work often interrogates the idea of cultural and personalidentity and incorporates the colour and symbols of traditional Asian art inorder to discover a personal artistic style or oeuvre.The second chapter deals with the sharing of common symbols byPeranakan, Chinese and Japanese cultures through a shared logographicwritten script and through horizontal and vertical transmission of culturaltraits. It also touches on the importance of art symbolism and aesthetics ofthe three primary cultures in my dissertation.Chapter Three is a detailed study of motifs on a quintessentiallyPeranakan collection of ceramic ware. Items from one collection belongingto a member of the Peranakan Chinese diaspora in Perth are featured inthis chapter. The meanings of the various motifs found on thesePeranakan wares have been explicated through folk beliefs and folklore,while nuances in meanings and the usage of similar motifs in Japaneseand Chinese culture have also been discussed. The Afterword concludesthe dissertation by weighing up how successful the initial quest toestablish a common visual language has been; whether there is in fact anexisting body of symbols with similar interpretive meanings that is alreadycommonly shared between the three cultures and whether sharing such acommon language would actually translate into better economic, socialand political ties for the region.The practical component of the degree closely aligns this theoreticalenquiry with artworks that probe questions of cultural identity, hybridity,heritage and diaspora through the language of symbolic motifs in a varietyof media ranging from the artisanal craft end of batiks and ceramicsthrough to fine art paintings on Belgian linen mounted supports, electronicmedia, and installation art. But first it is necessary to situate myself inrelation to the knowledge that is my subject.",
keywords = "Nonya ware motifs, Peranakan culture and symbolism, Peranakan, Chinese and Japanese aesthetic styles, Peranakan identity, heritage and hybridity",
author = "Cheok, {Linda Ai Wah}",
year = "2016",
school = "The University of Western Australia",

}

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TY - THES

T1 - Patterns, pride and prejudice: comparative study of patterns and motifs across the Indo-Pacific

AU - Cheok,Linda Ai Wah

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - The quest to find a common visual language across the Indo-Pacific is thefocus of this project, which combines a written dissertation with anexhibition of exploratory artworks. The scope of the written thesis coversthe ornament of China, Japan and Singapore, with Peranakan artistictraditions of Singapore as the pivot of the comparative study. Peranakanartistic traditions have been chosen as the pivot because I am partPeranakan and would like to see a revival of the culture that is currently indecline, or at least, an active remembering of my heritage. As such, at theheart of this thesis is a detailed study of the motifs on some ceramic itemsof Peranakan origin held in private collections and how the symbolicinterpretation of these motifs provides access to Peranakan traditions.Other countries in the Indo-Pacific have been represented in the creativecomponent through artworks that explore and intertwine the various artisticcultures of the region.“Pride and Prejudice” the other half of the project title is a wry take onJane Austen’s novel of the same moniker. It takes into account theinfluence British imperialism has wielded over the fortunes and culture ofthe Peranakan Chinese in Singapore during the Colonial era. In thisdissertation, ‘pride’ also refers to artisanal pride in mastering the requisiteskills of the various craft trades, and ‘prejudice’, to the perceived inferiorityof crafts when compared against the fine arts. An argument is advancedthroughout the dissertation that as the motifs and patterns that have beenapplied to Asian artefacts carry secret meanings that can be interpreted bypeople of the particular cultures in question, these craftsmen or theircommissioning patrons are not being merely decorative, but have imbuedtheir work with thought, creating art with content in the contemporaryWestern sense. These twin elements of ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’ have thusbeen woven into the fabric of the dissertation.This thesis moves through three chapters in a narrative style, starting withan auto-ethnographic approach in the first chapter dealing with issues ofidentity, heritage and hybridity that I have experienced as a member of thePeranakan Chinese diaspora from Singapore living in Perth and Japan.In writing about my Singaporean Peranakan Chinese heritage, I am givinga portrait of a particular kind of society: superstitious, commercial, and ofmixed British and Chinese influence. Tracing my genealogical roots andrecounting the lives of my forebears gives me a portal to the past and of aculture that has changed. All these factors have impacted my studiopractice as my work often interrogates the idea of cultural and personalidentity and incorporates the colour and symbols of traditional Asian art inorder to discover a personal artistic style or oeuvre.The second chapter deals with the sharing of common symbols byPeranakan, Chinese and Japanese cultures through a shared logographicwritten script and through horizontal and vertical transmission of culturaltraits. It also touches on the importance of art symbolism and aesthetics ofthe three primary cultures in my dissertation.Chapter Three is a detailed study of motifs on a quintessentiallyPeranakan collection of ceramic ware. Items from one collection belongingto a member of the Peranakan Chinese diaspora in Perth are featured inthis chapter. The meanings of the various motifs found on thesePeranakan wares have been explicated through folk beliefs and folklore,while nuances in meanings and the usage of similar motifs in Japaneseand Chinese culture have also been discussed. The Afterword concludesthe dissertation by weighing up how successful the initial quest toestablish a common visual language has been; whether there is in fact anexisting body of symbols with similar interpretive meanings that is alreadycommonly shared between the three cultures and whether sharing such acommon language would actually translate into better economic, socialand political ties for the region.The practical component of the degree closely aligns this theoreticalenquiry with artworks that probe questions of cultural identity, hybridity,heritage and diaspora through the language of symbolic motifs in a varietyof media ranging from the artisanal craft end of batiks and ceramicsthrough to fine art paintings on Belgian linen mounted supports, electronicmedia, and installation art. But first it is necessary to situate myself inrelation to the knowledge that is my subject.

AB - The quest to find a common visual language across the Indo-Pacific is thefocus of this project, which combines a written dissertation with anexhibition of exploratory artworks. The scope of the written thesis coversthe ornament of China, Japan and Singapore, with Peranakan artistictraditions of Singapore as the pivot of the comparative study. Peranakanartistic traditions have been chosen as the pivot because I am partPeranakan and would like to see a revival of the culture that is currently indecline, or at least, an active remembering of my heritage. As such, at theheart of this thesis is a detailed study of the motifs on some ceramic itemsof Peranakan origin held in private collections and how the symbolicinterpretation of these motifs provides access to Peranakan traditions.Other countries in the Indo-Pacific have been represented in the creativecomponent through artworks that explore and intertwine the various artisticcultures of the region.“Pride and Prejudice” the other half of the project title is a wry take onJane Austen’s novel of the same moniker. It takes into account theinfluence British imperialism has wielded over the fortunes and culture ofthe Peranakan Chinese in Singapore during the Colonial era. In thisdissertation, ‘pride’ also refers to artisanal pride in mastering the requisiteskills of the various craft trades, and ‘prejudice’, to the perceived inferiorityof crafts when compared against the fine arts. An argument is advancedthroughout the dissertation that as the motifs and patterns that have beenapplied to Asian artefacts carry secret meanings that can be interpreted bypeople of the particular cultures in question, these craftsmen or theircommissioning patrons are not being merely decorative, but have imbuedtheir work with thought, creating art with content in the contemporaryWestern sense. These twin elements of ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’ have thusbeen woven into the fabric of the dissertation.This thesis moves through three chapters in a narrative style, starting withan auto-ethnographic approach in the first chapter dealing with issues ofidentity, heritage and hybridity that I have experienced as a member of thePeranakan Chinese diaspora from Singapore living in Perth and Japan.In writing about my Singaporean Peranakan Chinese heritage, I am givinga portrait of a particular kind of society: superstitious, commercial, and ofmixed British and Chinese influence. Tracing my genealogical roots andrecounting the lives of my forebears gives me a portal to the past and of aculture that has changed. All these factors have impacted my studiopractice as my work often interrogates the idea of cultural and personalidentity and incorporates the colour and symbols of traditional Asian art inorder to discover a personal artistic style or oeuvre.The second chapter deals with the sharing of common symbols byPeranakan, Chinese and Japanese cultures through a shared logographicwritten script and through horizontal and vertical transmission of culturaltraits. It also touches on the importance of art symbolism and aesthetics ofthe three primary cultures in my dissertation.Chapter Three is a detailed study of motifs on a quintessentiallyPeranakan collection of ceramic ware. Items from one collection belongingto a member of the Peranakan Chinese diaspora in Perth are featured inthis chapter. The meanings of the various motifs found on thesePeranakan wares have been explicated through folk beliefs and folklore,while nuances in meanings and the usage of similar motifs in Japaneseand Chinese culture have also been discussed. The Afterword concludesthe dissertation by weighing up how successful the initial quest toestablish a common visual language has been; whether there is in fact anexisting body of symbols with similar interpretive meanings that is alreadycommonly shared between the three cultures and whether sharing such acommon language would actually translate into better economic, socialand political ties for the region.The practical component of the degree closely aligns this theoreticalenquiry with artworks that probe questions of cultural identity, hybridity,heritage and diaspora through the language of symbolic motifs in a varietyof media ranging from the artisanal craft end of batiks and ceramicsthrough to fine art paintings on Belgian linen mounted supports, electronicmedia, and installation art. But first it is necessary to situate myself inrelation to the knowledge that is my subject.

KW - Nonya ware motifs

KW - Peranakan culture and symbolism

KW - Peranakan, Chinese and Japanese aesthetic styles

KW - Peranakan identity, heritage and hybridity

M3 - Master's Thesis

ER -

ID: 9704167