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Emperor Qianlong's Hidden TreasuresReconsidering the Collection of the Qing Imperial Household$
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Nicole T. C. Chiang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528059

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528059.001.0001

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Defining the Collection

Defining the Collection

(p.19) 1 Defining the Collection
Emperor Qianlong's Hidden Treasures

Nicole T. C. Chiang

Hong Kong University Press

The chapter argues that the scale of the collection has been overestimated since collectibles, which are objects that actually enter the collection, and articles that are simply retained at the Qianlong court have all been discussed as part of a single collection. With a philological and historiographical analysis, which reinstates original meanings and contexts of the actual collection, it is proposed that the collection referred to a specific group of objects which were deliberately selected from among the holdings of the Qing imperial household, intentionally assembled and carefully hidden away from view. Ever since the early twentieth century, deliberate attempts to deconstruct the actual collection of the imperial household and to reconstruct a new collection for the new nation have obscured our perception and understanding on how the collection was actually understood in its original context.

Keywords:   Collectible, Hidden, Art, Nationalism

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