Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China
AUTHOR: Clunas, Craig
PUBLISHER: Princeton University Press
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The sixteenth century in China was a period of rapid and unprecedented economic expansion. The period also saw a parallel expansion in the sphere of cultural production, as a growing class of consumers of luxury goods benefited from the formation of one of the classic early modern consumer societies.
Pictures were a major source of consumable luxury at this period: pictures not only in the form of independently circulating images classifiable as "art," but also in the form of wall decoration; pictures in books, prints, and maps; on ceramics and lacquer boxes; on textile furnishings; and even on the dress of the prosperous. Artifacts previously decorated with formal patterns, or with pictures of plants and animals only, now bore landscape scenes, representations of historical characters and incidents, and scenes from literature, often closely related to the world of the illustrated book.
This impressively illustrated and accessibly written book will be the first attempt to survey this vast array of images in all its aspects, providing a stimulating and innovative point of entry to Chinese history.
Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China will interest students of China's history and culture and anyone concerned with theories of visuality.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2/8/1998