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Animating the SpiritedJourneys and Transformations$
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Tze-yue G. Hu, Masao Yokota, and Gyongyi Horvath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826268

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826268.001.0001

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Interpretations and Thoughts of the Animated Self in Cowherd’s Flute

Interpretations and Thoughts of the Animated Self in Cowherd’s Flute

Highlighting the Daoist Elements in Te Wei’s Watercolor-and-Ink Animation

(p.116) Interpretations and Thoughts of the Animated Self in Cowherd’s Flute
Animating the Spirited

Tze-yue G. Hu

University Press of Mississippi

Existing published works on classic Chinese watercolor-and-ink animation (shuimo donghua) tend to focus on the propaganda-nationalistic aspects of its making. This essay, however, draws attention to the philosophical side of the story-telling images and narratives found principally in the animated works directed by the late animator, Te Wei (1915-2010), who was a founding member of the Shanghai Animation Studio. The animated work, Cowherd’s Flute (1963), is the main focus in this essay. The essay argues that the spiritual yoke of Te Wei’s watercolor-and-ink animation is profoundly Daoist, reflecting a traditional Chinese native philosophy in a subtle technological setting. It advances the view that such generic animation has rekindled a laden strand of Chinese heritage thought by giving life and movement to its aesthetic and philosophical elements. The author also theorizes the concept of the animated self in the light of the historical-political environment in which the animation was made.

Keywords:   Watercolor and ink animation, shuimo donghua, Daoist thought, Shanghai Animation Studio, Animating the self

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