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Picturing Technology in ChinaFrom Earliest Times to the Nineteenth Century$
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Peter J. Golas

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208159

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208159.001.0001

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Han to Tang

Han to Tang

Realism on the Rise

(p.13) Two Han to Tang
Picturing Technology in China

Peter J. Golas

Hong Kong University Press

Chapter 2 deals with the period mainly from the third to the tenth centuries when the continuing paucity of surviving illustrations of technical subjects obliges us to examine general developments in painting in order to tease out what they might be able to add to our knowledge of technical depictions at this time. We shall see that, during these centuries, Chinese painting remained generally committed to realistic narrative representations, with many artists devoted to creating greater verisimilitude in their paintings. But just as the prevailing aesthetic values were encouraging greater realism in painting and drawing, the almost exclusive use of the Chinese brush for visual representations may have impeded the development of certain representational techniques. Moreover, while the invention of woodblock printing toward the end of this period made possible a much wider reproduction and circulation of illustrations, it was a technology that also contained in itself the potential to inhibit advances in illustration techniques.

Keywords:   China, Scientific illustrations, Drawing techniques, Technical development, Literati, Science, Wood block printing, Agriculture, Industry

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