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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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Closing Comments

Closing Comments

(p.165) Closing Comments
Picturing Technology in China

Peter J. Golas

Hong Kong University Press

By way of closing, we focus below on a number of themes that are of paramount importance for understanding the role played by portrayals of technology in traditional Chinese culture.

The introduction to this study emphasized that one of the most important assumptions to jettison when considering premodern Chinese depictions of technology is that they responded primarily to what we would identify as “technological” needs or concerns. Whether in the form of paintings or the book illustrations that are the source of most of our surviving portrayals, pictures of technological subjects typically sought to appeal to a viewership the overwhelming majority of whom would have little or no direct experience with or special interest in the technologies portrayed. Most of these viewers would be drawn above all to pictures that were aesthetically pleasing or entertaining. It is true that these portrayals also often embodied a didactic element. But if they did so, it was one that focused not so much on providing technical information and understanding...

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