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36ème Congrès du CIHA - Lyon 2024

Parrainé par le Ministère de la Culture,
le Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche,
le Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

Assemblage of heterogeneous materials in the sinicized area (17th- 19th century): an answer to the transformation of the literati/craftsman perception of materiality?

Estelle Bauer 1, Lia Wei 2

Inalco - Paris (France), 2 Museum Für Ostasiatische Kunst - Koln (Germany), Inalco - Paris (France)

Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

This session explores composite works, which bring together two- and three-dimensional objects (calligraphy, painting, prints, ceramics, lacquerware) from the sinicized area (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam) in the 17th-19th centuries.

During this period of return to the past, scholars, artists and craftsmen questioned inherited hierarchies of value and developed a new sensitivity to materials. These transformations are expressed through a more elaborate and thoughtful use of materials. The literary and theoretical production of the period allows us to understand the classifications or distinctions made between artistic fields and the values attributed to materials.

The cultural, social and political predominance of certain activities in East Asia - literati practices, tea and incense ceremonies, etc. - is embodied in composite works made up of heterogeneous materials and/or resulting from the transfer of one material to another. The variations in materials, which vary according to cultural areas or social groups, reflect the privileged status attributed to certain materials (ink and paper, stone, lacquer, gold, brocade, etc.). Some materials are used as they are, creating a continuity between the real, the artefact and the representation; others are evoked in a metaphorical/allusive way or are excluded from the assemblages. The sensory or aesthetic qualities, the virtues or defects attributed to the materials, but also the meanings associated with them - trace the limits of the eclecticism of the assemblages.

If, in China, the predominance of the arts of the brush determined the aesthetic judgment and the opposition between "spirit" and "form", the Japanese attitude, which values craftmanship, enriches the literati practices. The late imperial period in China witnessed a broadening of literati aesthetics, and served as a laboratory for experimentation in the imperial and private workshops of the Qing dynasty, indicating a new fascination for technical virtuosity and eclectic materials.