This is a unique book that brings together theories of materiality and the history of collecting. It grew out of a simple question: how does a thing become Chinese? Fifteen essays explore the question from different angles, ranging from close examination of world-renowned private collections (the Rockefellers, the Goncourts, the Walters, the du Ponts, the Yeh family, and the Getty Research Institute, among others) to critical reinterpretation of historical writings that continue from records of Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty to the story of Robinson Crusoe and the first international exhibition of Chinese art. With accounts that incorporate records normally unavailable to the public, the authors map the vast network of collection practices in different periods, and demonstrate the ways in which material things produced in China acquire new cultural identities through collecting practices. Vimalin Rujivacharakul is Assistant Professor of Art and Architectural History at the University of Delaware.
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