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Text and Tombs: A Fragile Relationship

Text and Tombs: A Fragile Relationship China Review International: Vol. 18, No. 4, 2011 Wu Hung. The Art of the Yellow Springs: Understanding Chinese Tombs. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2011. 272 pp. Hardcover $50.00, isbn 978-0-8248-3426-5. The Art of the Yellow Springs is an ambitious study of Chinese tombs, dating from the Neolithic period to Mao Zedong's mausoleum. Through a holistic perspective, Wu Hung intends "to push . . . scholarship to the next level by making interpretative methods the direct subject of consideration" thereby providing "a genuine understanding of the art and architecture of Chinese tombs" (p. 14). It is, however, for the reader to figure out what exactly these "interpretative methods" entail. Perceiving such a phrase, one cannot help but wonder: Is not interpretation the ultimate goal of all historical/archaeological research? Yet, delving deeper into the book, it quickly becomes obvious that he is referring to a modus operandi quite familiar since at least the publication of his Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995).1 Wu Hung, a classically trained scholar, prefers to interpret archaeological data exclusively on the back of written sources. Accepting the latter's universal validity and, in terms of reliability, dominance over http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Text and Tombs: A Fragile Relationship

China Review International , Volume 18 (4) – Jan 30, 2011

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9367
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Abstract

China Review International: Vol. 18, No. 4, 2011 Wu Hung. The Art of the Yellow Springs: Understanding Chinese Tombs. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2011. 272 pp. Hardcover $50.00, isbn 978-0-8248-3426-5. The Art of the Yellow Springs is an ambitious study of Chinese tombs, dating from the Neolithic period to Mao Zedong's mausoleum. Through a holistic perspective, Wu Hung intends "to push . . . scholarship to the next level by making interpretative methods the direct subject of consideration" thereby providing "a genuine understanding of the art and architecture of Chinese tombs" (p. 14). It is, however, for the reader to figure out what exactly these "interpretative methods" entail. Perceiving such a phrase, one cannot help but wonder: Is not interpretation the ultimate goal of all historical/archaeological research? Yet, delving deeper into the book, it quickly becomes obvious that he is referring to a modus operandi quite familiar since at least the publication of his Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995).1 Wu Hung, a classically trained scholar, prefers to interpret archaeological data exclusively on the back of written sources. Accepting the latter's universal validity and, in terms of reliability, dominance over

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 30, 2011

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