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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: May 2015

16 - Regional study: Confucianism and the state

from Part II - Trans-regional and regional perspectives


This chapter provides some hint of the richness and variety of the world's artistic traditions. Though art made in Europe since the Renaissance has had some distinctive features to make such recent and local developments an essential part of the definition would be ethnocentric and parochial. Royal art often functions as propaganda aimed at the people who pose the greatest threat to the king, those nearest him; it is his relatives and high nobles who must be made to feel the sanctity of his person. In Islamic art, writing occurs on all surfaces, from bowls to buildings, in a multiplicity of script variants, sometimes boldly legible, sometimes impenetrably patterned. Setting and audience matter because they are clues to the purposes that shaped a work, clues to the effect it was meant to have. The works of Buddhist art illustrates most of the functions on Seckel's list, and readers will probably have no difficulty supplying Christian counterparts for all of them.
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