This book examines the use of the methods of traditional Chinese antiquarianism, or jinshi, as a form of research that came to dominate the modern historiography of ancient China. It shows how Chinese scholars integrated art and antiquarianism into historical studies, thus forging hybrid discourses that combine traditional and iconoclastic elements, scientific and humanist approaches, textual and visual modalities. This introduction discusses jinshi as pastime in the sense that Wang Guowei intended when he defended leisure pursuits like literature and art as potent tools to demonstrate one's intelligence and stature—essentially, the Nietzschean will to power. It also compares antiquarianism in China with the European tradition and considers Chinese antiquarianism as an important corollary to art practice and the connoisseurship of calligraphy. Finally, it describes the importance of visual culture to jinshi.
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