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The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review)

The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review) François Jullien. The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. 136 pp. Harcover $40.00, ISBN 978-0-226-41532-1. The title of François Jullien's book, The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics, is misleading. Readers who seek to understand the reasons for the lack of pictorial nudes in Chinese art find more of a sinologist's philosophical inquiry into the nude in European traditions. Jullien has an intriguing premise for the book: one sees neither painted nor sculpted nudes in the long history of Chinese art, and Jullien approaches this topic from the vantage point of the Western nude. Even though he proclaims that "while I was speaking of the European tradition of the nude, it was its absence in China that intrigued me," he devotes the majority of the book to investigating what the Western nude is and its century-long dominance in European art. His main objective is to look afresh at the nude that has been taken for granted and to reveal its "strangeness" and its core characteristics. He believes that thinking about "the impossibility of the existence of the nude in China will permit an assessment of the conditions that made it http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics (review)

China Review International , Volume 15 (2) – Aug 5, 2009

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

François Jullien. The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. 136 pp. Harcover $40.00, ISBN 978-0-226-41532-1. The title of François Jullien's book, The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics, is misleading. Readers who seek to understand the reasons for the lack of pictorial nudes in Chinese art find more of a sinologist's philosophical inquiry into the nude in European traditions. Jullien has an intriguing premise for the book: one sees neither painted nor sculpted nudes in the long history of Chinese art, and Jullien approaches this topic from the vantage point of the Western nude. Even though he proclaims that "while I was speaking of the European tradition of the nude, it was its absence in China that intrigued me," he devotes the majority of the book to investigating what the Western nude is and its century-long dominance in European art. His main objective is to look afresh at the nude that has been taken for granted and to reveal its "strangeness" and its core characteristics. He believes that thinking about "the impossibility of the existence of the nude in China will permit an assessment of the conditions that made it

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 5, 2009

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