Keith Knapp

Professor of History, The Citadel

Sanitizing Filiality:

The Changing Iconography and Pantheon of Images of Filial Piety Tales in pre- modern China

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TIME: 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. Thursday, February 25th

LOCATION: MLC room 150

Beginning in the Han Dynasty, stories of filial heroes became ubiquitous. Images of these tales were commonly used to decorate tombs and funerary goods. This paper examines how these illustrations changed from their first appearance in the Han Dynasty through the late imperial period. Although a small number of stories were continuously depicted, there were significant changes in which tales were displayed and how their details were portrayed. Han dynasty illustrations emphasize the father-son relationship, whereas Northern Wei ones stress filiality’s miraculous power. The Song/Yuan pantheon of illustrated filial children is noteworthy for its large number of female exemplars.