Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China

University of Hawaii Press
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Now in paperback

This outstanding and original book, presented here with a new preface, examines the history of material culture in early modern China. Craig Clunas analyzes superfluous things the paintings, calligraphy, bronzes, ceramics, carved jade, and other objects owned by the elites of Ming China and describes contemporary attitudes to them. He informs his discussions with reference to both socio-cultural theory and current debates on eighteenth-century England concerning luxury, conspicuous consumption, and the growth of the consumer society.

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About the author

Craig Clunas is Percival David Chair of Chinese Art at SOAS, London, and the author of Superfluous Things, Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China, Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China, and Art in China.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Hawaii Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2004
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Pages
219
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ISBN
9780824828202
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / China
Philosophy / Eastern
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Folk art is now widely recognized as an integral part of the modern Chinese cultural heritage, but in the early twentieth century, awareness of folk art as a distinct category in the visual arts was new. Internationally, intellectuals in different countries used folk arts to affirm national identity and cultural continuity in the midst of the changes of the modern era. In China, artists, critics and educators likewise saw folk art as a potentially valuable resource: perhaps it could be a fresh source of cultural inspiration and energy, representing the authentic voice of the people in contrast to what could be seen as the limited and elitist classical tradition. At the same time, many Chinese intellectuals also saw folk art as a problem: they believed that folk art, as it was, promoted superstitious and backward ideas that were incompatible with modernization and progress. In either case, folk art was too important to be left in the hands of the folk: educated artists and researchers felt a responsibility intervene, to reform folk art and create new popular art forms that would better serve the needs of the modern nation.
In the early 1930s, folk art began to figure in the debates on social role of art and artists that were waged in the pages of the Chinese press, the first major exhibition of folk art was held in Hangzhou, and the new print movement claimed the print as a popular artistic medium while, for the most part, declaring its distance from contemporary folk printmaking practices. During the war against Japan, from 1937 to 1945, educated artists deployed imagery and styles drawn from folk art in morale-boosting propaganda images, but worried that this work fell short of true artistic accomplishment and pandering to outmoded tastes. The questions raised in interaction with folk art during this pivotal period, questions about heritage, about the social position of art, and the exercise of cultural authority continue to resonate into the present day.
Compiled from Bruce Lee's own notes and writings, Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do is the seminal book presenting the martial art created by Bruce Lee himself.

Jeet Kune Do was a revolutionary new approach to the martial arts in its time and is the principal reason why Bruce Lee is revered as a pioneer by martial artists today, many decades after his death. The development of his unique martial art form—its principles, core techniques, and lesson plans—are all presented in this book in Bruce Lee's own words and notes. This is the complete and official version of Jeet Kune Do which was originally published by Tuttle Publishing in cooperation with the Lee family in 1997. It is still the most comprehensive presentation of Jeet Kune Do available.

This Jeet Kune Do book features Lee's illustrative sketches and his remarkable notes and commentaries on the nature of combat and achieving success in life through the martial arts, as well as the importance of a positive mental attitude during training. In addition, there are a series of "Questions Every Martial Artist Must Ask Himself" that Lee posed to himself and intended to explore as part of his own development, but never lived to complete. Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do is the book every Bruce Lee fan must have in his collection.

This Bruce Lee Book is part of the Bruce Lee Library which also features:Bruce Lee: Striking ThoughtsBruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden DragonBruce Lee: The Tao of Gung FuBruce Lee: Artist of LifeBruce Lee: Letters of the DragonBruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body
The Bhagavad Gita is the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Eknath Easwaran’s best-selling translation is reliable, readable, and profound.

Easwaran's 55-page introduction places the Bhagavad Gita in its historical setting, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. Chapter introductions clarify key concepts, and notes and a glossary explain Sanskrit terms.

Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, and learned Sanskrit from a young age. He was a professor of English literature before coming to the West on a Fulbright scholarship. A gifted teacher, he is recognized as an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism.

The Bhagavad Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet, as Easwaran points out, the Gita is not what it seems – it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious.”

 

Arjuna’s struggle in the Bhagavad Gita is acutely modern. He has lost his way on the battlefield of life and turns to find the path again by asking direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul.

Easwaran shows the Gita’s relevance to us today as we strive, like Arjuna, to do what is right.

“No one in modern times is more qualified – no, make that ‘as qualified’ – to translate the epochal Classics of Indian Spirituality than Eknath Easwaran. And the reason is clear. It is impossible to get to the heart of those classics unless you live them, and he did live them. My admiration of the man and his works is boundless.” – Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions.

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