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Asian Art Calendar of Events

Monday, June 18, 2018

Exhibition Public - USA & Canada

Design by the Book: Chinese Ritual Objects and the Sanli tu

Bard Graduate Center
18 West 86 Street,
New York, New York, USA
Mar 24, 2017 To Jul 30, 2017

Detail: This exhibition explores the medieval Chinese book Sanli tu (Illustrations to the Ritual Classics) and its impact on Chinese material culture.

Completed in 961 by Nie Chongyi (fl. 948–964), the Sanli tu is the oldest extant illustrated study of classical Chinese artifacts from musical instruments, maps, and court insignia to sacrificial jades, ceremonial dress, and mourning and funerary paraphernalia.

Design by the Book brings to light the significance of this long overlooked book, which served as a guide both to the material culture of the Classics and to the design of Confucian ritual paraphernalia in postclassical, imperial China. It also address themes that go beyond the book itself, including Confucian ritual as a means to legitimate the monarchy, the birth of antiquarian scholarship in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, Emperor Huizong’s ritual reforms, and the role of the art market in driving the reproduction of artifacts illustrated in the book.

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