Session Chair: “The Chinese Material Text in Intercultural and Historiographic Perspective, Part II”
Building on a session presented at the College Art Association’s 2022 Annual Conference, this session investigates the special significance of Chinese textual objects in intercultural and historiographic perspective. The surprising afterlives of ancient inscriptions, whether in stone, paper, embroidered cloth, or other materials play important roles in all four presentations. The afterlives are, however, highly varied. A purportedly supernatural, third-century rock inscription provides inspiration for a script that finds its way to Japan some 1600 years later. A Song dynasty inscription reproduced in diverse media is analyzed from a nineteenth-century perspective, when collectors’ engagement with the materiality of the inscription transformed their approach to the text. Likewise transformative was the engagement of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Chinese women with ancient inscriptions; their work sheds light on history as viewed from their standpoint and, by extension, records an overlooked aspect of modern Chinese intellectual history. The final paper considers how eighteenth-century Chinese catalogs of antiquities enabled Korean artists to visualize their patrons’ collecting practices. The interplay between Chinese intellectual history and aesthetic appreciation thus provides a means of addressing the broad historical and cultural significance of a diverse range of material texts.