Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:


Hanfu and the poetics of totalising power

Authors Lam, Ling Hon (林凌瀚)
Issue Date 1995
Summary Hanfu is characterized by its indulgence in the catenation of images and the use of highly opulent language. Such style is in sharp contrast to its didactic theme of frugality. The co-existence of extravagance and husbandry, transgression and abstinence, inclusion and exclusion, as my thesis argues, represents the logic of totalising power, which "circulated" among the political, philosophical and other cultural practices in Han times, and was inscribed in the texture of Hanfu. Through contextualising Hanfu among the contemporary multiple forms of writing and non-discursive practices, this thesis attempts to reconstruct the poetics of totalising power. Chapter one gives an overall review of traditional and modern criticisms of Hanfu. As they are proved insufficient to account for the features of Hanfu, the New Historicist approach and Foucauldian concept of power are introduced to throw new light on the old subject. Chapter 2 starts with the anecdote of the emperor Wu's pursuit of immortality in order to illustrate the incitement rather than repression of proliferation of discourse in Han China. The "Others" were paradoxically catalysed along with the totalising process for the sake of strengthening the sovereign. Such exercise of power found its representation in Hanfu. Chapter 3 shows how the totalising power prevailed through the extension of the king's two bodies (natural and politic) which were not merely represented but also constructed by Hanfu. As different voices were allowed to generate and fu writers got the power to fashion the king's bodies, fu could serve as a way of resistance to the ever-expanding sovereign authority. Chapter 4 deals with the disillusion of Yang Xiong at Hanf2s incapacity to be an effective counter-discourse. Ironically, however, his illumination of the satirical themes of his own fu helped to consolidate the role of resistance played by Hanfu writing.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1995
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
Access View full-text via DOI
Files in this item:
File Description Size Format
th_redirect.html 339 B HTML
Copyrighted to the author. Reproduction is prohibited without the author’s prior written consent.