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234 × 156 mm
240 pages
48 illustrations
26 Apr 1996
Envisioning Asia
  • £34.95

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Fruitful Sites Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China Craig Clunas

Gardens are sites that can be at one and the same time admired works of art and valuable pieces of real estate. As the first account in English to be wholly based on contemporary Chinese sources, this beautifully illustrated book grounds the practices of garden-making in Ming Dynasty China (1369-1644) firmly in the social and cultural history of the day.

Who owned gardens? Who visited them? How were they represented in words, in paintings and in visual culture generally, and what meanings did these representations hold at different levels of Chinese society? Drawing on a wide range of recent work in cultural theory, Craig Clunas provides for the first time a historical and materialist account of Chinese garden culture, and replaces broad generalizations and orientalist fantasy with a convincing picture of the garden’s role in social life.

Craig Clunas is Percival David Chair of Chinese Art at SOAS, London and is Professor of History of Art at the University of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. He has published extensively on the culture of the Ming period and is the author of Superfluous Things (1991), Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China (Reaktion Books, 1996), Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China (Reaktion Books, 1997), Art in China (1997), Elegant Debts: The Social Art of Wen Zhengming (Reaktion, 2004), and Empire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China, 1368-1644 (Reaktion, 2007).