Craig Clunas

Chinese Painting and Its Audiences

Princeton University Press 2017

New Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & Society April 5, 2018 Ricarda Brosch

In his latest book, Chinese Painting and Its Audiences published in 2017 by Princeton University Press, Craig Clunas puts to question the entire concept...

In his latest book, Chinese Painting and Its Audiences published in 2017 by Princeton University Press, Craig Clunas puts to question the entire concept of “Chinese painting” by looking at how this category is in fact a creation of its viewers. The book, which expanded on the A. W. Mellon lecture series Clunas gave at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2012, was selected as one of the best art books of 2017 by The New York Times.

The engaging and lavishly illustrated book draws on some familiar material but more importantly on a wide range of previously unknown or understudied sources. Spanning roughly the time period from the Ming period (1368-1644) until the present day, the book reveals how the notion of Chinese painting only became possible in early modern times, when audiences started to have a wider range of material they could choose from.


Ricarda Brosch is a curatorial assistant at the Asian Art Museum Berlin (Museum fur Asiatische Kunst Berlin Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz), which is due to reopen as part of the Humboldt Forum in 2019. Her research focuses on Ming and Qing Chinese art and material culture, transcultural interchanges, especially with Timurid and Safavid Iran, as well as provenance research and digital humanities. You can find out more about her work by following her on Twitter @RicardaBeatrix or getting in touch via [email protected].

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