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The Images of Hu Sou, A New Perspective
Author(s): 
Pages: 91-103
Year: Issue:  1
Journal: Decoration

Keyword:  hu sou WenkangXianbei(Sienpi) shamanroaming immortal from Western Regionstomb spacefunctional meaning;
Abstract: This essay, with the images of hu sou(an elderly male northern/western ethnic) from archaeological discoveries as the object of study, first discuses the possible origin of the term "Wenkang" in Lao Hu Wenkang Ci(The Song of Wenkang, An Elderly Male Western Ethnic) based on prior studies, suggesting that it most likely came from "ongghon", a Xianbei(Sienpi) shaman(wizard of shamanism), described in Adventures in Mongolia. It suggests that the singing form of Wenkang Ci(The Song of Wenkang) was in fact influenced by the "Yanyong"(Yan ode) and "Yansong"(Yan eulogy) traditions of the northern Murong Xianbei(Sienpi), thus challenging the notion of "the south influencing the north" commonly held by scholars. Further, resorting to both images and textual evidence, it reveals hu sou’s "roaming immortal from Western Regions" identity, and his close connection with the roaming immortal culture motif in Han times. Finally, by restoring the images to funeral culture and tomb space, it comes to the conclusion that image of this type was actually intended to guide the deceased to the immortal realm, hence a departure from the usual interpretation of "proposing longevity" accorded to this type of image in the field. In addition, it touches upon the meaning and the tendency of Hanization of similar images after Northern and Southern Dynasties, and challenges the validity of one of Richard M. Barnhart’s conclusions in his study of Classic of Filial Piety.
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