Summary: Chinese Art & Culture is a refreshingly clear look at the oldest and most productive continuous artistic tradition on earth. From 7,000-year-old Neolithic potmaking and jade-carving cultures to contemporary artists installation, video, and performance pieces, this engrossing survey embraces the richness and complexity of Chinese art. In all the right ways, this is a different kind of book on Chinese art. Departing from the predictable narration of dynasties and s ...show moretyles, Robert L. Thorp and Richard Ellis Vinograd present art as a cultural expression of societal expectations, politics, material culture, belief systems, and wider fields of culture. They emphasize works of ancient art and architecture found in their original archaeological settings. Where that is not feasible, they reconstruct interconnections among individual pieces and with their contexts of production. To the broad cultural picture, they add considerations of the material of which an object is made and the distinctive techniques used to make it. Thus an early Ming vase is shown as the product of a new advance in firing technology that enabled control of copper red glazes and as a reflection -- in its shape -- of the lingering taste of the Early Ming emperors for things Tibetan.
Chinese art is one of the most active and mutable areas of cultural scholarship today. Thorp and Vinograd are leaders in a generation of scholars who are reexamining long-held conceptions about Chinese art -- for example, the notion that Chinese art has essential and permanent characteristics and the idea that Chinese art and culture were untouched by outside influences. Just as important, the authors give popular, religious, and craft arts their just due. Richly illustrated -- some of the objects have almost never been pictured before -- and enhanced with special-topic sidebars, this long-awaited book answers the needs of students, collectors, and lovers of Chinese art for a work that is current in approach and scholarship and is at the same time reader-friendly. ...show less
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