Enfilade

New Book | Unfabling the East

Posted in books by Editor on June 23, 2018

From Princeton UP:

Jürgen Osterhammel, Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia, translated by Robert Savage (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), 696 pages, ISBN: 9780691172729 (hardcover), $35 / ISBN: 9781400889471 (ebook).

During the long eighteenth century, Europe’s travelers, scholars, and intellectuals looked to Asia in a spirit of puzzlement, irony, and openness. In this panoramic and colorful book, Jürgen Osterhammel tells the story of the European Enlightenment’s nuanced encounter with the great civilizations of the East, from the Ottoman Empire and India to China and Japan.

Here is the acclaimed book that challenges the notion that Europe’s formative engagement with the non-European world was invariably marred by an imperial gaze and presumptions of Western superiority. Osterhammel shows how major figures such as Leibniz, Voltaire, Gibbon, and Hegel took a keen interest in Asian culture and history, and introduces lesser-known scientific travelers, colonial administrators, Jesuit missionaries, and adventurers who returned home from Asia bearing manuscripts in many exotic languages, huge collections of ethnographic data, and stories that sometimes defied belief. Osterhammel brings the sights and sounds of this tumultuous age vividly to life, from the salons of Paris and the lecture halls of Edinburgh to the deserts of Arabia, the steppes of Siberia, and the sumptuous courts of Asian princes. He demonstrates how Europe discovered its own identity anew by measuring itself against its more senior continent, and how it was only toward the end of this period that cruder forms of Eurocentrism–and condescension toward Asia—prevailed.

A momentous work by one of Europe’s most eminent historians, Unfabling the East takes readers on a thrilling voyage to the farthest shores, bringing back vital insights for our own multicultural age.

Jürgen Osterhammel is professor of modern and contemporary history at the University of Konstanz. He is a recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most prestigious academic award. His books include The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century and, with Jan C. Jansen, Decolonization: A Short History (both Princeton). He lives in Freiburg, Germany.

Kee Il Choi, On Johannes Kip and Export Landscape Painting

Posted in journal articles by Editor on June 23, 2018

Johannes Kip, A Prospect of West-minster & A Prospect of the City of London, Netherlands, ca. 1720; two engravings, printed from two plates on four sheets of paper, 51 × 234 cm overall (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017.128a,b).

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In the latest issue of The Rijksmuseum Bulletin, a paper that emerged from a 2017 ASECS session on Art Markets organized by Wendy Roworth.

The Rijksmuseum Bulletin 66.2 (2018)

Dish, or Plate, ca. 1730, hard paste porcelain, 28.4 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Joseph V. McMullan, 58.126).

Kee Il Choi, Jr., “‘Partly Copies from European Prints’: Johannes Kip and the Invention of Export Landscape Painting in Eighteenth-Century Canton,” pp. 120–43.

This paper introduces the way Johannes Kip’s A Prospect of Westminster & A Prospect of the City of London (c. 1720) furnished the design for a handscroll of the Thames River enamelled on the rim of a renowned armorial porcelain service made around 1730–40. Having thus situated an important exemplar of northern European landscape art in China by 1750, it further suggests that Kip’s topographic print may well have played an influential, not to say seminal role in the conceptualization of monumental, panoramic handscrolls of the foreign factories from which ultimately the iconic landscape genre emerged. Descriptive of the site of both commerce and aesthetic exchange, these export paintings have exercised a lasting hold on the historical imagination. In as much as export porcelain signified the China trade for Westerners, export paintings came to represent Canton, if not the whole of China for a global audience.