The Construction of Chinese Art History as a Modern Discipline in the Early Twentieth Century

Jialu Wang


This paper challenges the dichotomies of modernity and tradition, West and East, global and local, by shedding light on the construction of Chinese art history as a modern discipline in the twentieth century. Through uncovering the conditions and power structures that made such construction possible, I argue that the “transfer” from a Western and Japanese art history template to Chinese art historical writing is not a unidirectional process. Rather, it must be embedded in broader cultural and political contexts which shaped the values and discourses of said period. The paper intends to use a transcultural approach to art histories, by considering the entanglements and transfers between cultures.

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