New Book | Imagining Sculpture: A Short Conjectural History

Posted in books by Editor on February 1, 2023

Published by Hirmer and distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Stanley Abe, Imagining Sculpture: A Short Conjectural History (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2023), 384 pages, ISBN: 978-3777437583, $45.

Book coverA new critical approach to understanding sculpture across cultures.

Imagining Sculpture is the story of the absence of a powerful European idea: Sculpture. In China statues, stele, and other figural objects were made for millennia but were not categorized as Sculpture. Imagining Sculpture explains how they were seen in China as objects beyond the category of Sculpture. The book is a series of short vignettes—historical and fictional. Travellers, scholars, collectors, and antiquarians encounter statues, figures, and effigies in China, Japan, England, Germany, France, Italy, and the United States from the fourteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The book is visual, cinematic, and sumptuous—told with rare photographs, paintings, sketches, letters, and ephemera. With little text, images propel the narrative, offering a different way of seeing and knowing.

Stanley Abe is associate professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. He is the author of Ordinary Images and served as editor in chief of Archives of Asian Art from 2011 to 2018.

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