Cross-Asian Visual Culture and Material Exchange in the Ming

Appel pour un numéro spécial de la revue Ming Studies

Argumentaire

In recent years, scholars in the field of Ming Studies have drawn attention to the need for a different scholarly perception of the dynasty. Until recently, the predominant narrative of post-Mongol Asia contended that while the Timurids and others in Central and West Asia actively sought to emulate aspects of the internationalizing Mongol Empire, the Ming dynasty ushered in a return to Chinese rule and a rejection of foreign elements. The exhibition “Ming: 50 years that changed China,” held at the British Museum in 2014-2015, and focused on Yuan-Ming continuities between 1400-1450, was designed as a challenge to these longstanding approaches (Clunas 2016). It questioned the idea of taking the dynasty as a unit of analysis, problematized an earlier focus on Ming-Qing rather than Yuan-Ming connections, and firmly refuted older conceptions of the Ming as a “nativist reaction to the Mongol conquest.” The show presented the early Ming as a period of continuation of various Mongol practices, and as an age of unprecedented engagement with the world beyond Ming borders. Importantly, it encouraged constructing new frameworks of analysis beyond dynastic boundaries.

The proposed issue aims to construct new frameworks for analyzing Eurasian art of the 14th through 16th centuries by focusing on images and objects that were part of exchange of material and technologies, particularly between Ming China and the Timurids, Safavids, and Ottomans. Notably, these images and objects will be considered in the context of cross-Asian networks. As objects that were transported along routes across Central Asia that predate the Mongol conquest and continue into the Ming, they connect Chinese and West Asian art histories, as well as traditions of the Eurasian steppe. Defying any single interpretation, they question existing categories and genres of art, and regional and dynastic boundaries.

We invite submissions for this special issue by scholars on topics pertaining to 14th through 16th century trans-Asian exchange. Please send in an abstract (max 250 words) and CV to Paramita Paul (prmt.paul [a] gmail.com) and Eiren Shea (sheaeire [a] grinnell.edu) by January 5th, 2018. Authors will be notified by the end of January.

Ming Studies is the journal of the Society for Ming Studies, a non-profit academic organization devoted to the dissemination of knowledge about the Ming period in Chinese history (1368-1644). Journal articles are double-blind peer-reviewed. For more information on the journal: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ymng20/current


Cecile Laly

CREOPS (Université Paris-Sorbonne), International Research Center for Japanese Studies

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