April 1, 2019
100 b&w illus., 1 map
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.05 Pounds (US)
$65.00 USD, £48.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Bronze and Stone

The Cult of Antiquity in Song Dynasty China

Despite China's long tradition of venerating the past as the ultimate source of cultural authority, the discourse of antiquity prior to the Song period (960–1279) demonstrated little concern for ancient objects. With a focus on physical artifacts of the past, Song intellectuals began a new discipline, "the study of bronze and stone" (jinshixue), that generated collections of items such as bronze vessels and bells, stone steles, and ink rubbings of inscriptions carved or cast on objects. This first comprehensive study in English of the Song antiquarian movement and how it refashioned the distant past uses textual and material evidence to examine this development, which has had long-lasting influence on Chinese intellectual history and on the preservation of material objects. In addition to collecting and comparing artifacts, Song antiquaries compiled extensive catalogs that included drawings, measurements, and meticulous descriptions. Their studies have contributed to the way history has been documented since the eleventh century and serve as a basis for archaeology of the modern period. Bronze and Stone contextualizes the Song antiquarian movement among previous Chinese engagements with antiquity, subsequent popular interest in ancient objects, and world antiquarianism.

About the Author

Yunchiahn C. Sena is Kluger Visiting Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Trinity College.


"A complex and sophisticated perspective on the Song that relates visual materials to the main trends in the intellectual history of the period. A welcome step toward a historically and culturally contextualized approach to material culture."—Lothar von Falkenhausen, author of Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (1000–250 BC): The Archaeological Evidence

"A major contribution to the China field and to comparative studies of antiquarianism and material culture across world regions."—Julia K. Murray, author of Mirror of Morality: Chinese Narrative Illustration and Confucian Ideology

"An important addition to the historiography of antiquarianism at large, this book offers rich new insights into the collecting practices of the first Chinese antiquaries and their impact on the material culture of the Song dynasty."—Francois Louis, associate professor, Bard Graduate Center

"Dense with detail and illustrations, this study will appeal primarily to social and art historians, museum curators, or graduate-student audiences, but also bears relevance for scholars investigating the Chinese face of the field of material culture studies."—Choice

"[T]his book offers fascinating interdisciplinary research on a cultural movement that engaged people from different classes of the Song society. Its novel way of intertwining intellectual history with material culture is a remarkable attempt to demonstrate the contribution that the study of art history can have to scholarship on other aspects of Song society."—Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR)

"Bronze and Stone makes a valuable contribution to the study of Song visual and material culture, and its richly detailed contents should be read by all specialists."—T'oung Pao

"[T]he book opens up many avenues for understanding how antiquarianism permeated the intellectual and aesthetic lives of Song people—a small minority of elite collectors, at first, but in time a broader and more diverse group of people."—Journal of Chinese Studies

"[A]ne piece of work characterized by its analytical insight and interdisciplinary approach. It deserves to be read by anyone interested in the cultural and intellectual history of China. It will stand out for many years to come as an important addition to studies of Song cultural history."—China Review International

"Bronze and Stone deserves to attract a wide range of readers interested in the antiquarian movement, literati culture, material culture, art history, archeology, and intellectual history. It provides an outstanding panoramic view of the Song-dynasty study of metal and stone with an interdisciplinary approach and a comparative perspective on world antiquarianism."—Journal of the American Oriental Society (JAOS)

"Provides a new perspective for re-understanding the development of Song epigraphy and literati activities."—New Asia Journal
University of Washington Press

240 Pages
$65.00 USD

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