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Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Paintingby Timothy Cahill
Synopses & Reviews
With Sensuous Surfaces, Jonathan Hay offers one of the most richly illustrated and in-depth introductions to the decorative arts of Ming and Qing dynasty China to date. Examining an immense number of works, he explores the materials and techniques, as well as the effects of patronage and taste, that together have formed a loose system of informal rules that define the decorative arts in early modern China.
Hay demonstrates how this systemand#151;by engaging the actual and metaphorical potential of surfaceand#151;guided the production and use of decorative arts from the late sixteenth century through the middle of the nineteenth, a period of explosive growth. He shows how the understanding of decorative arts made a fundamental contribution to the sensory education of Chinaand#8217;s early modern urban population. Enriching his study with 280 color plates, he ultimately offers an elegant meditation, not only on Ming and Qing art but on the importance of the erotic in the form and function of decorations of all eras.and#160;
Sensuous Surfaces is a richly illustrated and in-depth introduction to the decorative arts in Ming and Qing dynasty China. Jonathan Hay explores materials and techniques, as well as issues of patronage and taste, which together formed a loose system of informal rules that affected every level of decoration in early modern China, from an individual object to the arrangement of an entire residential interior. By engaging the actual and metaphoric potential of surface, Hay contends, this system guided the production and use of the decorative arts during a period of explosive growth, which started in the late sixteenth century and continued until the mid-nineteenth century. This understanding of decorative arts in China made a fundamental contribution to the sensory education of its early modern urban population, both as individuals and in their established social roles. Sensuous Surfaces is also an elegant meditation on the role of pleasure in decoration. Often intellectually dismissed as merely pleasurable, Hay argues that decoration is better understood as a necessary form of art which can fulfill its function only by engaging the human capacity for erotic response.
Featuring 280 fine color images of a wide range of early modern Chinese objects and artworks, this book will engage anyone with an interest in decoration, art, Chinaand#8212;or the experience of pleasure itself.
About the Author
Jonathan Hay is the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He is the author of Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China.
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