Richard Curt Kraus

Brushes with Power : Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy

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Highlights

Book FormatHardcover
AuthorRichard Curt Kraus
Publication DateJuly, 1991
ISBN-139780520072855
GenreArt/Techniques - Calligraphy
"In Kraus's hands, the study of calligraphy becomes a metaphor for a much wider topic--the persistence of traditionalism in modern China. That traditionalism is obvious to anyone who has even a superficial knowledge of modern China; but it is vague and so diffuse that it is difficult to gain a satisfying intellectual comprehension of it. By focusing on a small aspect of that traditionalism--but an aspect with deep metaphoorical resonance--the author helps us to gain a more focused understanding of Chinese cultural life."--Richard Madsen, author of "Morality and Power in a Chinese Village"

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"In Kraus's hands, the study of calligraphy becomes a metaphor for a much wider topic--the persistence of traditionalism in modern China. That traditionalism is obvious to anyone who has even a superficial knowledge of modern China; but it is vague and so diffuse that it is difficult to gain a satisfying intellectual comprehension of it. By focusing on a small aspect of that traditionalism--but an aspect with deep metaphoorical resonance--the author helps us to gain a more focused understanding of Chinese cultural life."--Richard Madsen, author of "Morality and Power in a Chinese Village"
Chinese calligraphy has traditionally been an emblem of the ruling class and its authority. After a century of mass revolution, what is the fate of this elite art? Richard Kraus explores the relationship beween politics and the art of writing in China today to explicate the complex relationship between tradition and modernity in Chinese culture. His study draws upon a wide range of sources, from political documents, memoirs, and interviews with Chinese intellectuals to art exhibitions and television melodramas.

Mao Zedong and other Communist leaders gave calligraphy a revolutionary role, believing that their beloved art reflected the luster of authoritative words and deeds. Calligraphy was joined with new propagandistic mass media to become less a private art and more a public performance. It provided politically engaged citizens with subtle cues to changing power relationships in the People's Republic.

Claiming neither that the Communists obliterated traditional culture nor that revolution failed to relieve the burden of China's past, this study subtly examines the changing uses of tradition in a modernizing society.

Specifications

Publisher
University of California Press
Book Format
Hardcover
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
220
Author
Richard Curt Kraus
Title
Brushes with Power
ISBN-13
9780520072855
Publication Date
July, 1991
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.34 x 6.31 x 0.90 Inches
ISBN-10
0520072855

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