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PastimesFrom Art and Antiquarianism to Modern Chinese Historiography$
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Shana J. Brown

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834982

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834982.001.0001

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Wu Dacheng’s Paleography and Artifact Studies

Wu Dacheng’s Paleography and Artifact Studies

(p.73) 4 Wu Dacheng’s Paleography and Artifact Studies

Shana J. Brown

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how collecting practices and technologies of visual representation helped create a new form of artifact studies. The daily activities of antiquarianism during the late Qing Dynasty focused on collection practices and the production and appreciation of visual culture, but one more ingredient was essential to the pastime—the methodologies used to interpret inscriptions. This chapter discusses the work of jinshi scholar Wu Dacheng as an antiquarian, with particular emphasis on his artistic proficiency in bronze-script calligraphy that continually informed his paleography; his use of bronze inscriptions to add more characters to the Shuowen jiezi; his interpretation of the Maogong ding, a tripod cast during the reign of the Zhou King Xuan (Xuanwang) in the ninth century BC; and his experimental antiquarianism. It also considers the use of uninscribed artifacts by Chinese scholars to provide material evidence for the workings of ancient society.

Keywords:   collecting practices, artifact studies, antiquarianism, visual culture, inscriptions, jinshi, Wu Dacheng, calligraphy, paleography, artifacts

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