Monsters and Elves in Chinese Folklores

Naodan Hu
Illustration (School of Graduate Studies)

About this Item

Monsters and Elves in Chinese Folklores
Contributor Names
Hu, Naodan (Author)
Reitschel, Barbara (Thesis advisor)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Illustration (Degree granting institution)
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York 2023
Department: Illustration
Advisor: Barbara Reitschel
Committee member: Brendan Leach
In Chinese Folklore, monsters and elves represent the wisdom of the ancient, containing the Chinese religion and philosophy of over for more than four thousand years. Thus, they have symbolic meanings for both primitive and modern societies. The meanings have changed over time, as have the images and the context which has enabled them to become an excellent creative resource for illustrators and artists today.
There are myths and legends about monsters and elves in Chinese dynasties. The Classic of Mountains and Seas, a massive collection of Chinese monsters, opens the era of picture reading for the ancient Chinese. There are also other famous folklores such as Anecdotes About Spirits and Immortals, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio and Journey to the West, providing precious documents for the art of contemporary illustration and carrying forward the Chinese traditional culture. More interestingly, as time goes by, some monsters who were originally good have been gradually demonized. In recent times, the development of science made demons less known for China, while in Japan they flourished and are still active in Japanese pop culture.
This paper will inspect the monsters’ aesthetic and historical origins in Chinese folklores by exploring relevant images and documents from the past to today along with the artists who created them. Then the author hopes to explore how monsters and elves were or were not changed when reemerging in China after being introduced in Japan. Therefore, the artists can have a whole picture of the demons and elves in Chinese art.
Fables, Chinese
Art, Chinese
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FIT Repository ID: etd_000987


Hu, N. (2023). Monsters and Elves in Chinese Folklores [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository.
Hu, Naodan. Monsters and Elves in Chinese Folklores. 2023. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository,
Hu, Naodan. "Monsters and Elves in Chinese Folklores." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023.