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China’s Art and Material Culture

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Chapter Summary

"Art history" and "material culture studies", both recent coinages, have trailed in the wake of the Western Renaissance and Western modernity's giant objects of academic attention, namely history and literature. Increasingly open boundaries of research and teaching in material culture studies have favoured rewarding exchanges. Dialogue between the humanities and the social sciences, for example, has enhanced a common focus on material objects and visual images, now liberated from jealously guarded borders of regional interest, disciplinary prejudice or just an outright failure to imagine things differently. These intellectual experiences also characterise the history of understanding China's art and material culture in the Netherlands. Encounters with China's material culture and theorisations of China's history of art within Dutch academe have often been the extra-disciplinary forays of historians of literature, philosophy and religion. Art history has suffered a similar fate in the Chinese academic arena.

Keywords: China's material culture; Chinese literature; Dutch academe; Netherlands



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