Visual and material cultures of Ming China, 1368-1644
Includes bibliographical references (p. 262-274) and index.
Time, space and agency in Ming China
Sitting and roaming: cultures of direction and movement
The word on the streets: cultures of text
Pictures in the Chinese encyclopaedia: image, category, and knowledge
Pleasure, play and excess
Dark warriors: cultures of violence
'Walking with a staff': ageing and death
Remnant subjects: afterlives of Ming visual and material culture.
Empire of Great Brightness is an innovative and accessible history of a high point in Chinese culture, seen through the riches of its images and objects. Not a simple emperor-by-emperor history, it instead introduces the reader to themes that provide stimulating and original points of entry to the culture of China: to ideas of motion and rest, to the position occupied by writing and objects featuring writing; to ideas about pleasure, about violence and ageing. It challenges notions of Ming China as a culture closed off from the rest of the world, by emphasizing the vibrant interactions between China and the rest of Asia at this period. Craig Clunas uses a wide range of pictures and objects from Ming China to illustrate familiar areas such as painting and ceramics (including the blue-and-white porcelain of the period, arguably the world's first global "brand"). He draws on items from public and private collections from around the world, which will be new even to specialists, including weapons, architecture, textiles and items of dress, printed books (from Ming pornography to the world's first illustrated reading book for children). He also examines contemporary sources from government edicts to novels and phrasebooks of colloquial Chinese as well as the most recent scholarship, to illuminate this most diverse period of Chinese art and culture. (source: Nielsen Book Data)