New Book | The Full-Length Mirror

Posted in books by Editor on March 15, 2023

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Wu Hung, The Full-Length Mirror: A Global Visual History (London: Reaktion Books, 2023), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1789146103, $35.

Beautifully illustrated, a stirring and wide-ranging reflection on art, technology, culture—and the full-length mirror.

This book tells two stories about the full-length mirror. One story, through time and space, crisscrosses the globe to introduce a broad range of historical actors: kings and slaves, artists and writers, merchants and craftsmen, courtesans, and commoners. The other story explores the connections among objects, painting, and photography, the full-length mirror providing a new perspective on historical artifacts and their images in art and visual culture. The Full-Length Mirror represents a new kind of global art history in which ‘global’ is understood in terms of both geography and visual medium, a history encompassing Europe, Asia, and North America, and spanning over two millennia from the fourth century BCE to the early twentieth century.

Wu Hung is the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor, director for the Center for the Art of East Asia, and consulting curator at the Smart Museum of Art, all at the University of Chicago.


Prelude A Prehistory of the Full-Length Mirror

Part One: Object and Reflection
1  From Versailles to the Forbidden City: The Global Invention of the Full-Length Mirror
2  From the House of Green Delights to the Hall of Mental Cultivation: Mirror-Screens in the Literary and Visual Imagination

Part Two: Medium and Subjectivity
3  From Europe to the World: The Global Circulation of Full-Length Mirror Photography
4  From Iconography to Subjectivity: Discovering the Self in the Full-Length Mirror

Coda: Disenchantment of the Full-Length Mirror

Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgments


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