Ebrey argues that in purpose and form they are reminiscent of the catalogs of things that were the province of scholars: Book titles OR Journal titles. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Not uncommonly, imperial collecting is interpreted in modern scholarship as a dimension of statecraft, but Ebrey specifically examines it as a medium whereby emperors patronized the educated class and its values. Emperors had at their disposal a repertoire of cultural means to build the relationships necessary for a civil rather than a military power base.
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Seattle: University of Washington Press, By the end of the sixth century CE, both the royal courts and the educated elite in China were collecting works of art, particularly scrolls of calligraphy and paintings done by known artists. By the time of Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty , both scholars and the imperial court were cataloguing their collections and also collecting ancient bronzes and rubbings of ancient inscriptions. The acts of adding to and cataloguing the imperial collections were political ones, among the strategies that the Song court used to demonstrate its patronage of the culture of the brush, and they need to be seen in the context of contemporary political divisions and controversies.
At the same time, court intervention in the art market was both influenced by, and had an impact on, the production, circulation, and imagination of art outside the court.
It contributes to a rethinking of the cultural side of Chinese imperial rule and of the court as a patron of scholars and the arts, neither glorifying Huizong as a man of the arts nor castigating him as a megalomaniac, but rather taking a hardheaded look at the political and cultural ramifications of collecting and the reasons for choices made by Huizong and his curators.
The reader is offered glimpses of the magnificence of the collections he formed and the disparate fates of the objects after they were seized as booty by the Jurchen invaders in The heart of the book examines in detail the primary fields of collecting - antiquities, calligraphy, and painting.
The acts of inclusion, exclusion, and sequencing that they performed allowed them to influence how people thought of the collection, and to attempt to promote or demote particular artists and styles. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Chinese art history, social history, and culture, as well as art collectors.
Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong