Bronze and Stone
The Cult of Antiquity in Song Dynasty China
- PUBLISHED: April 2019
- SUBJECT LISTING: Art History / Asian Art, Asian Studies / China
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 240 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 100 b&w illus., 1 map
- ISBN: 9780295744575
Despite China’s long tradition of venerating the past as the ultimate source of cultural authority, the discourse of antiquity prior to the Song period (960–1279) demonstrated little concern for ancient objects. With a focus on physical artifacts of the past, Song intellectuals began a new discipline, “the study of bronze and stone” (jinshixue), that generated collections of items such as bronze vessels and bells, stone steles, and ink rubbings of inscriptions carved or cast on objects. This first comprehensive study in English of the Song antiquarian movement and how it refashioned the distant past uses textual and material evidence to examine this development, which has had long-lasting influence on Chinese intellectual history and on the preservation of material objects. In addition to collecting and comparing artifacts, Song antiquaries compiled extensive catalogs that included drawings, measurements, and meticulous descriptions. Their studies have contributed to the way history has been documented since the eleventh century and serve as a basis for archaeology of the modern period. Bronze and Stone contextualizes the Song antiquarian movement among previous Chinese engagements with antiquity, subsequent popular interest in ancient objects, and world antiquarianism.
Authors & Contributors
Yunchiahn C. Sena is Kluger Visiting Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Trinity College.
Dense with detail and illustrations, this study will appeal primarily to social and art historians, museum curators, or graduate-student audiences, but also bears relevance for scholars investigating the Chinese face of the field of material culture studies.- Choice
A complex and sophisticated perspective on the Song that relates visual materials to the main trends in the intellectual history of the period. A welcome step toward a historically and culturally contextualized approach to material culture.- Lothar von Falkenhausen, author of Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (1000–250 BC): The Archaeological Evidence
A major contribution to the China field and to comparative studies of antiquarianism and material culture across world regions.- Julia K. Murray, author of Mirror of Morality: Chinese Narrative Illustration and Confucian Ideology
An important addition to the historiography of antiquarianism at large, this book offers rich new insights into the collecting practices of the first Chinese antiquaries and their impact on the material culture of the Song dynasty.- Francois Louis, associate professor, Bard Graduate Center