A Glossary of Chinese Art and Archaeology

A Glossary of Chinese Art and Archaeology

A Glossary of Chinese Art and Archaeology

A Glossary of Chinese Art and Archaeology

Excerpt

The plan of this handbook, which it is hoped and believed will meet a need of students and collectors, was conceived by me in China many years ago at a time when I would have welcomed aid of such a kind. The glossary is addressed both to readers of Chinese who require precise definitions of technical and conventional terms met with in current writings on art and archælogy, and also to those, already familiar with Chinese arts, crafts and antiquities, who have embarked on the study of the written language.

The arrangement of entries under subject headings, according to the categories into which the Chinese divide their art and antiquities, will help the reader to memorize related terms, whilst the alphabetical index provides an easy means of reference. Related terms in different sections and subsections are cross-referenced.

The ritual bronzes and the art of painting have each been the subject of a voluminous literature in Chinese and have developed a well-established technical terminology. The inscribed bronzes have been studied for many centuries as the most important material remains of Chinese antiquity, especially for the light their inscriptions throw on ancient history and institutions and the development of the script. Most of the terms included here in the section on metals have been current with the same connotations since the twelfth century, and may be found in the great Sung Dynasty catalogues K'ao ku t'u and Hsiian-ho po ku t'u lu, though a few are modern accessions. I have as a rule followed the usages of Professor Jung Kêng in his Shang Chou I ch'i t'ung k'ao, 2 vols., Peking: 1941, the most recent comprehensive study of the bronzes.

The gems, among which the jades are pre-eminent, have by comparison received little attention from Chinese scholars. Whilst the general literature abounds in allusions to, and admiration of, jades and jade-like stones, they have not attracted systematic study, mainly because they were rarely vehicles of inscription. Wu Ta-ch'êng pioneer work, Ku yü t'u k'ao, of 1889, is still regarded with respect in China, though his nomenclature is by no means universally accepted and more recent research has shown some of his identifications of ancient objects to be wrong. Great difficulties confront attempts to identify gem minerals referred to in early Chinese writings . . .

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