(Volume 1: Methodological Reflections)
Consisting of three volumes, On Chinese Art features 56 essays (presented as chapters) written by the art historian Wu Hung after he moved to the United States in the 1980s. Selected by the author himself, these essays have been organized in a format that emphasizes both research methodology and case studies.
Essays in Volume One share a strong theoretical aspiration to explore key concepts, visual technology, and spatial-temporal aspects in Chinese art. Volume Two focuses on cases and episodes in early Chinese art and visual culture, from prehistoric times to the Han dynasty. Volume Three pursues several key themes in Chinese art after the Han, including religious art and architecture, trans-regional artistic interaction, and pictorial art in various mediums.
Originally scattered in various publications, these essays, including several translated for this series, are now grouped together for the first time. With a consistent goal of expanding research methods and interpretative perspectives, they reflect the author s scholarly pursuit over three decades and continue to provide inspiration on broad topics in art history.
Volume I: This volume contains 17 essays and a coda that share a theoretical aspiration to explore key concepts, visual technology, and spatial-temporal aspects in Chinese art. The essays are grouped into three sections, entitled Subject, Object, Context, Medium, Representation, Materiality; Time, Space, Culture. Using a wide range of examples such as the painted screen, funerary figurines, ink rubbings, bronze vessels, jade carvings, and many others, they examine how representations of the human body and face conflict and complement each other, how an architectural device also serves as a painting medium, how the different languages of picture and diagram are employed in rendering a single subject, and how time and space is related in designing and operating ancient Chinese cities. The coda frames these discussions with a comparative approach inherent to art historical investigations in today s global environment.