The Interpretation of

Chinese Ghost Tales via

Graphic Illustrations

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tales as a literary form. ”

                                                                                                                   -H. P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Chinese Ghost Tales have an abundance of symbolism and cultural meaning. They reveal the darkness of humanity, as well as promote good human characteristics, and this knowledge is invaluable and can be of relevance to our modern society. The research I am working on investigates the historical phenomena of Chinese Ghost Tales from the Six dynasties to the Qing dynasty and then reinterprets these phenomena through a contemporary context and perspective. It is not intended to give an in-depth anthropological study of the Chinese Ghost Tales. The visual component is to be seen as complementary to those stories in the Chinese Ghost Tales and an attraction to evoke the interest of more people, in particular the younger generations. This project aims to provide a robust visual interpretation of aspects of the history, religion, ethics and morality of twenty significant stories of the Chinese Ghost Tales.

​从小喜欢听鬼力乱神的故事,觉得玄妙有生趣。有人觉得这是迷信封建,区分是否封建的标准最重要是看能带来消极还是积极的影响。在中国的这些怪力乱神的故事中,有很多很棒的故事,文字的背后往往颇具深意和想象力。目之所及,这何尝不是一片丰腴非常的文化沃土,它充满了无限的张力,反映了那时候的人们的生活习俗、社会百态和地理形貌,也承载了历史的厚重。让人们讳莫如深的不是这些鬼怪,其实是对死亡和未知事物的恐惧。《轩辕本纪》中提到:“凡精气为物、游魂为变者一共一千五百二十种。”可谓中国的鬼怪文化博大精深,只是限于国情等各种因素,无法兴盛起来。虽然日本的妖怪70%来自中国,但他们的妖怪文化早已走向世界,成为日本一个重要的文化icon,真有点同宗不同命的味道。深入一些了解,就会发现中国的鬼怪中有不少向往世俗烟火,他们善良无害、重情重义,甚至一只狗的死后也要用鬼魂拼全力护主人周全,有些时候令人毛骨悚然的不是鬼,是人,是不堪审视的人心。

 

所以我选择中国的鬼怪作为我的硕士研究课题,也许3万字的论文真的无法阐述的淋漓尽致,20张系列插画也只能抛砖引玉,但,正如这个章节的标题,“灯下指间画不尽光怪陆离众生相”。我恰好有笔也有执念,愿用一生来描绘二三。

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