China’s hidden century: 1796 - 1912



‘Handsomely illustrated’ – Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

‘The book is a resounding success… a valuable guide to laypeople, students and scholars on the late Qing for years to come.’ – SEHEPUNKTE

‘The exhibition catalogue’s seven essays…are a guide to [a] re-reading of the past, threading the relics on display into a rich tapestry of what life entailed under the last century of Manchu reign.’ – Rhoda Kwan, The Mekong Review

Cultural creativity in China between 1796 and 1912 demonstrated extraordinary resilience at a time of intense external and internal warfare and socioeconomic turmoil. Innovation can be seen in material culture (including print, painting, calligraphy, textiles, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, lacquer, glass, arms and armour, silver, and photography) during a century in which China’s art, literature, crafts and technology faced unprecedented exposure to global influences.

1796 – the official end of the reign of the Qianlong emperor – is viewed as the close of the ‘high Qing’ and the start of a period of protracted crisis. In 1912, the last emperor, Puyi, abdicated after the revolution of 1911, bringing to an end some 2,000 years of dynastic rule and making way for the republic.

Until recently the 19th century in China has been often defined – and dismissed – as an era of cultural decline. Built on new research from a four-year project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and with chapter contributions by international scholars from leading institutions, this beautifully illustrated, 336-page book edited by Jessica Harrison-Hall and Julia Lovell sets out a fresh understanding of this important era. It presents a stunning array of objects and artworks to create a detailed visual account of responses to war, technology, urbanisation, political transformations and external influences.

Product Details

£45.00  £42.75
British Museum Press
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