Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Du Fu, Aesthetics, Classical Chinese Poetry, Painting


Du Fu is one of China's most celebrated and influential poets. His poems about paintings are a highly innovative subset of poems rich with imagery and emotion. Received ideas about these poems fail to account for any role played in them by Du's aesthetic ideas. This study analyses Du's poems about paintings in order to bring to light Du's theory of art. Du's theory of art combines ancient Chinese ideas about aesthetics, literature and the nature of humanity's relationship to the universe. These traditional ideas serve as the foundation for a unique theory. Du's theory of art posits the painter as a higher being whose paintings have magical qualities as a result of his mastery of the craft of painting and the richness of his inner world.


First Advisor

David K. Schneider

Second Advisor

Amanda C. Seaman