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In the post-war mid-century Robert van Gulik produced a series of stories set in Imperial China and featuring a Chinese Judge: Judge Dee. This book examines the author’s unprecedented effort in hybridising two heterogenous crime writing traditions – traditional Chinese gong’an (court-case) fiction and its Anglo-American counterpart – bringing to light how his fiction draws elements from these two traditions for plots, narrative features, visual images, and gender representation.

Relying on research on various sources and literary traditions, it provides illumination of the historical contexts, centring on the cultural interaction and connectedness that occurred during the multidirectional global flows of the Judge Dee texts in both western and Chinese markets. This study contributes to current scholarship on crime fiction by questioning its predominantly Eurocentric focus and the divisive post-colonial approach often adopted in accessing works concerning foreign peoples and cultures.
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After the strikingly beautiful Peony Pavilion, how could one write about love and the ideal of emotional authenticity (qing) in the chuanqi genre?
This book presents a group of creative dramatists who confronted this challenge by giving the romantic theme of chuanqi their unique comic twists. This book demonstrates how their comic articulations bring the qing ideal down to the mundane world of family obligations, political ambitions, commercial interests, and gender frustrations.
By highlighting the crucial but understudied role that the comic plays, this book enriches our understanding of the intellectual depth and critical scope of the chuanqi genre.
Volume Editors: and
The Social Lives of Chinese Objects is the first anthology of texts to apply Arjun Appadurai’s well-known argument on the social life of things to the discussion of artefacts made in China. The essays in this book look at objects as “things-in-motion,” a status that brings attention to the history of transmissions ensuing after the time and conditions of their production. How does the identity of an object change as a consequence of geographical relocation and/ or temporal transference? How do the intentions of the individuals responsible for such transfers affect the later status and meaning of these objects? The materiality of the things analyzed in this book, and visualized by a rich array of illustrations, varies from bronze to lacquered wood, from clay to porcelain, and includes painting, imperial clothing, and war spoils. Metamorphoses of value, status, and function as well as the connections with the individuals who managed them, such as collectors, museum curators, worshipers, and soldiers are also considered as central to the discussion of their life. Presenting a broader and more contextual reading than that traditionally adopted by art-historical scholarship, the essays in this book take on a multidisciplinary approach that helps to expose crucial elements in the life of these Chinese things and brings to light the cumulative motives making them relevant and meaningful to our present time.
Following the Tea Ritual from China to West Africa
Green tea, imported from China, occupies an important place in the daily lives of Malians. They spend so much time preparing and consuming the sugared beverage that it became the country’s national drink. To find out how Malians came to practice the tea ritual, this study follows the beverage from China to Mali on its historical trade routes halfway around the globe. It examines the circumstances of its introduction, the course of the tea ritual, the equipment to prepare and consume it, and the meanings that it assumed in the various places on its travel across geographical regions, political economies, cultural contexts, and religious affiliations.
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From prehistoric bone flutes to Confucian bell-sets, from ancient divination to his beloved qin, this book presents translations of thirteen seminal essays on musical subjects by Jao Tsung-i. In language as elegant and refined as the ancient texts he so admired, his journey takes readers through Buddhist incantation, the philosophy of musical instruments, acoustical numerology, lyric poetry, historical and sociological contexts, manuscript studies, dance choreography, repertoire formulation, and opera texts. His voice is authoritative and intimate, the expert crafting his arguments, both accessible and sophisticated, succinct and richly tapestried; and concealed within a deft modesty is a thinker privileging us with his most profound observation. The musician’s musician, the scholar’s scholar, bold yet cautious, flamboyant yet restrained, a man for all seasons, a harmoniousness of time and place.
Through an innovative interdisciplinary reading and field research, Igor Chabrowski analyses the history of the development of opera in Sichuan, arguing that opera serves as a microcosm of the profound transformation of modern Chinese culture between the 18th century and 1950s. He investigates the complex path of opera over this course of history: exiting the temple festivals, becoming a public obsession on commercial stages, and finally being harnessed to partisan propaganda work. The book analyzes the process of cross-regional integration of Chinese culture and the emergence of the national opera genre. Moreover, opera is shown as an example of the culture wars that raged inside China’s popular culture.
Familiarity and the Material Culture of North China, 1000-2000
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At the intersection of art and religious history, this work suggests a fresh method for studying Chinese gods and sacred places. Susan Naquin tells the full story of the transformations of the Lady of Mount Tai, North China’s most important female deity, and her mountain home. This generously illustrated visual history presents a rich array of overlooked statues, prints, murals, and paintings of gods that were discovered in museums, auctions, and extensive travel. By focusing on ordinary images, temples, and region-based materiality Naquin demonstrates how this flexibly gendered new god flourished while her male predecessor was neglected. Both suffered greatly during the last century, but Mount Tai continues to be a culturally significant monument and China’s most popular tourist mountain.
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Chinese Contemporary Art in the Global Auction Market examines the rapid rise of the global market for Chinese Contemporary art across the turn of the millennium. Focusing on key auction events, it traces the systematic and strategic role played by auction houses in promoting the work of ‘avant-garde’ Chinese artists, transforming them into multi-million-dollar global art superstars. Anita Archer’s research into this emerging art market reveals a powerful global network of collectors, curators, dealers and auction house specialists whose understanding of the mechanics of value formation in the global art world consolidated a framework for the promotion of Chinese Contemporary art to a Western audience.
Commercial Networks, Brand Creation and Intellectual Property
Every month tons of green tea travel from China to West Africa in a movement that largely thrives beyond the attention of Western observers. In this trade, Malian merchants assumed a central role. They travel to China, visit family gardens and the factories, which process and package the product. Together with their Chinese suppliers, they select the tea leaves and create their brand. On Bamako’s largest market, the Grand Marché, more than a hundred different tea brands are found, whose packages have colourfully, often eye-catching designs with brand-names such as Gazelle, Tombouctou, Arafat and Obama. This book explores the unique tea culture that celebrates with its brands the strength of desert animals, the fading glory of trading places, the excitement of social events and the accomplishments of admired politicians.
From Animators’ Perspectives