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Material Culture, Power, and Identity in Ancient China


  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107134027

£ 93.99

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Xiaolong Wu offers a comprehensive and in-depth study of the Zhongshan state during China's Warring States Period (476–221 BCE). Analyzing artefacts, inscriptions, and grandiose funerary structures within a broad archaeological context, he illuminates the connections between power and identity, and the role of material culture in asserting and communicating both. The author brings an interdisciplinary approach to this study. He combines and cross-examines all available categories of evidence, including archaeological, textual, art historical, and epigraphical, enabling innovative interpretations and conclusions that challenge conventional views regarding Zhongshan and ethnicity in ancient China. Wu reveals the complex relationship between material culture, cultural identity, and statecraft intended by the royal patrons. He demonstrates that the Zhongshan king Cuo constructed a hybrid cultural identity, consolidated his power, and aimed to maintain political order at court after his death through the buildings, sculpture, and inscriptions that he commissioned.

    • Presents new, innovative ways of interpreting Zhongshan remains and texts that take into account agency, statecraft, and identity construction
    • Takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines archaeological, art historical, historical, and epigraphical analysis
    • Provides focused, detailed and in-depth analysis of all available evidence
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107134027
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 185 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 82 b/w illus. 5 maps 7 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of maps
    List of tables
    1. Historical setting and approaches to the study of an ancient state in Warring States China
    2. Life, death, and identity in Zhongshan: sorting out the archaeological evidence
    3. Royal mortuary practice and artifacts: hybridity, identity, and power
    4. Inter-state politics and artistic innovation during the reign of King Cuo
    5. Statecraft and Zhongshan bronze inscriptions
    6. Funerary architecture, kingly power, and court politics

  • Author

    Xiaolong Wu, Hanover College, Indiana
    Xiaolong Wu is Associate Professor of Art History at Hanover College, Indiana. He received his BA in Chinese archaeology from Beijing University and his PhD in Art History from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interest focuses on the material culture of late Bronze Age China and its interactions with the Eurasian Steppe, and issues related to ethnicity, hybridity, agency, and political power.

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