- ePUB (mobile friendly)
- Available on iOS & Android
About This Book
This richly illustrated book examines the changing significance of ruins as vehicles for cultural memory in Chinese art and visual culture from ancient times to the present. The story of ruins in China is different from but connected to "ruin culture" in the West. This book explores indigenous Chinese concepts of ruins and their visual manifestations, as well as the complex historical interactions between China and the West since the eighteenth century.Wu Hung leads us through an array of traditional and contemporary visual materials, including painting, architecture, photography, prints, and cinema. A Story of Ruins shows how ruins are integral to traditional Chinese culture in both architecture and pictorial forms. It traces the changes in their representation over time, from indigenous methods of recording damage and decay in ancient China, to realistic images of architectural ruins in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to the strong interest in urban ruins in contemporary China, as shown in the many artworks that depict demolished houses and decaying industrial sites. The result is an original interpretation of the development of Chinese art, as well as a unique contribution to global art history.
Frequently asked questions
Premodern Sensibilities of Time Passed
2 Temple of Heaven, Beijing, built 1406–20.
3 Antonio Canaletto, Rome: Ruins of the Forum, Looking towards the Capitol, 1742, oil on canvas.
6 Carved and painted 18th-century Chinoiserie panels, originally in the Hôtel de la Lariboisière, Paris.
Palaces and houses all burnt to ashes.
Walls and fences all broken and gaping,
Thorns and brambles shooting up to the sky.
A thousand miles without the smoke of a chimney.
I think of the house I lived in all those years:
I am heart-tied and cannot speak.16