Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Blake, Marty


Chinese folktale, Hangzhou, West Lake, White Snake

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Chinese Studies | East Asian Languages and Societies | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


As one of the Four Classic Folktales of China, The Legend of the White Snake, which happened in Hangzhou, is a representative folktale of Chinese culture. The story has been developed for thousands of years and we see it as a reflection of Chinese history and culture.

The first part of the thesis is going to trace the development of this story back to its origin and analyze the changes in the content of each story version of The Legend of the White Snake with respect to its cultural, religious, and social backgrounds. Secondly, it will focus on contemporary writer Gelin Yan's rewrite of the story and analyze how her rewrite reflected her thoughts on feminism. In the third part, the thesis will explore the concept art of an animated modern adaptation of The Legend of White Snake. It will explain why the film lost the oriental["Oriental" is a term that has come to be considered offensive within critically conscious communities. The characterizer deemed more appropriate is "Asian." If your use of the term "Oriental" is deliberate, and intended as an act of reappropriation, you may consider briefly unpacking that rhetorical move for readers or at least enclosing it in quotation marks to signal to readers that the choice is deliberate rather than ill-informed.] artistic conception of its original story. Finally, I will show my visual thesis based on stories that originated in Hangzhou. I will share how I researched each of the stories to build a connection between the art, the story, and the historical relics in Hangzhou.


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