A Companion to Chinese Art by Martin J. Powers, Katherine R. Tsiang

By Martin J. Powers, Katherine R. Tsiang

Exploring the heritage of artwork in China from its earliest incarnations to the current day, this complete quantity comprises dozen newly-commissioned essays spanning the theories, genres, and media imperative to chinese language paintings and conception all through its history.

  • Provides a great selection of essays selling a comparative knowing of China’s lengthy list of cultural production
  • Brings jointly a global group of students from East and West, whose contributions variety from an outline of pre-modern conception, to these exploring calligraphy, tremendous portray, sculpture, components, and more
  • Articulates the path within which the sphere of chinese language artwork heritage is relocating, in addition to delivering a roadmap for historians drawn to comparative research or theory
  • Proposes new and revisionist interpretations of the literati culture, which has lengthy been an enormous staple of chinese language paintings history
  • Offers a wealthy perception into China’s social and political associations, spiritual and cultural practices, and highbrow traditions, along chinese language artwork background, conception, and criticism

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Over time, birth played a lesser role in determining who rose to high posts, so court society should not be thought of as aristocratic from Song times on. Political favor rather than birth distinguished those inside and outside of court, and who was in and who was out could change radically in a few years with a change of ruler or a change of policy. Princes and imperial relatives could be important elements in the makeup of court society, but this varied over time. For instance, imperial clansmen in Song times were compelled to stay in the capital and line up at major court assemblies, while in Ming times princes were sent out of the capital and played no part in court culture in the capital, instead presiding over their own small provincial courts (Clunas 2013).

One could argue, for instance, that people in China lacked eating utensils because this is a Western concept. Should someone counter with facts, noting that chopsticks appear in the archaeological record more than three thousand years ago, the philosophical pluralist need only point out that chopsticks are not eating utensils, in the Western sense of the term. In this sense such arguments are similar to influence narratives but, unlike the latter, they are not subject to refutation by means of historical evidence.

Art works made at the imperial court as commissions created not only the buildings and furnishings of palaces but also the ceremonial implements and costumes, musical instruments, and so on, for the enacting of court culture. During the Song dynasty, the painting academy produced many high-quality paintings for the imperial collection, and some of that has been handed down to the present day. During the reign of Emperor Huizong (r. 1100–1125), the painting academy had a three-year program of instruction in six subjects and a ranking system for awarding positions to its graduates.

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