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Superfluous Things Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China by Craig Clunas

Superfluous Things Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China


Superfluous Things Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China by Craig Clunas

This outstanding and original book, presented here with a new preface, examines the history of material culture in early modern China. Craig Clunas analyzes superfluous things -the paintings, calligraphy, bronzes, ceramics, carved jade, and other objects owned by the elites of Ming China-and describes contemporary attitudes to them. He informs his discussions with reference to both socio-cultural theory and current debates on eighteenth-century England concerning luxury, conspicuous consumption, and the growth of the consumer society.


One of those rare books whose every chapter makes you think, often about features of Chinese society that we have too long taken for granted....Inspiring, even entertaining.

About the Author

Craig Clunas is Percival David Chair of Chinese Art at SOAS, London, and the author of Superfluous Things, Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China, Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China, and Art in China.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th June 2016


Craig Clunas

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University of Hawai'i Press


246 pages


Social classes
Asian history
Sociology: customs & traditions



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