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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
September 19, 2018, 01:28:35 pm
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Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery

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Author Topic: Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery  (Read 314 times)
Wattana
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2015, 01:08:24 am »

Dear David,

How interesting! It would never occur to me to delve into the background of an author when buying a reference book. From what you are saying, I deduce that Mr. Werner was living in or around Shanghai in the 1920s or 30s. (Sorry if I've got that wrong; I haven't as yet checked him out on the internet.)

I am curious about one thing, though. If he was really looking down on the culture he was writing about, as claimed in the review, why go to the bother of writing a book about it?

Looking forward to your analysis of the book.

Tom
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2015, 02:33:18 am »

Dear Tom,

 Grin exactly the same thought that occurred to me when you mentioned that you did not feel what the reviewers mentioned. And made me curious. And like you mentioned, I think it can be a good cross reference even if I don't like his opinions.

As I am new to this area of study and there is a lot of authors, I decided to check the backgrounds of the authors as an additional criteria to decide if I should purchase their book or catalogs. It also gives me a feel for which author to rely on when there is conflicting information. Also the last thing I need is to absorb "misinformation".

And if an author was in China during 1910-1950 in northern/coastal china then I would wonder how much scholarly research he can really be doing. While one living there during 1950-1980, I will wonder if he is researching or printing what the communist party wants (one of the thing they wanted was to wipe out the religion/beliefs from the past and start over).

But if one like Bushell in the pre 1900, or someone like Cammann, or strong modern day researcher like Gary Dickinson or Welch, or a researcher from a respectable museum writing a catalog for within their specialty then I put a lot of weight in what they share.

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2015, 10:25:28 pm »

Dear Steven,
     Thank you. Words to ponder.   Cheesy
The wedding was wonderful, and I got to eat twice already in Lai Wah Heen ( third time on Wed., for lunch).
Best,
Joey



Dear Joey,

There is definitely no nice weather during this season in Toronto. Keep warm and stay cool.Smiley

Best wish!

Steven
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2015, 11:14:41 pm »

Dear Tom,

Amazingly, I received 3rd edition Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs by CAS Williams yesterday... the seller must live closeby. I am on Deer right now and wanted to let you know what I think.

The sections written by Williams with 0 or 1 "authority" referenced is very nice, he really knows the materials in these sections, I learned a few things that I did not even know about or heard before. I read these carefully. There are still inconsistencies with what I know, but very minor and most likely due to translating Chinese word/concepts. The only serious ones, is when he uses western logic to explain Chinese rituals.

The sections where he sourced from 2 or more authorities are usually not good. Either he is not interested and just included some other's saying for completeness or he does not feel comfortable to correct them. I think this is where most of the errors, mistakes that other readers noticed came from. I had started to skim or skip these sections.

My impression of him from his sections that I read so far is that he is very strong in Scholarly Chinese traditions, Confucian rituals, imperial, antiques (bronze, porcelain etc...), animals, Taoist and oddly... clothing.

It's like 2 books in one. A very good book of his strong areas, and a book of collection of information/misinformation from other sources. They should take those out and make an abridged version of his strong areas (minus the "modern" 1900-30s information), it is a shame that some really good information is buried in the chaff.

Best Regards,
David
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« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2015, 12:30:11 pm »

Dear David,
      Very interesting critique. I would agree that the book should be abridged to highlight the serious material and remove 'the chaff', but  "the "modern" 1900-30s information" would be of interest to help us understand China of the period 1900-1940, as well.
   Best,
Joey
   
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Wattana
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« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2015, 08:29:34 pm »

Dear David,

Thanks for your insights into this book. As Joey says, your comments are very interesting, and analytical.
Ever thought of becoming a book critic?  Wink

Tom
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« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2015, 10:48:41 pm »

Dear Joey and Tom,

Thank you both.

I actually think the 1900-1940s info also confuses people within the context of this book, and might be better as an addendum separate from the main body.

 Wink ...  two thumbs up!  Grin

Kindly,
David
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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2015, 11:37:07 am »

Dear Tom,

After more reading (on Five Elements now) on Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs by CAS Williams, I need to update my opinion. I came across a few entries that are long with lots of authorities listed, and pretty well written.

Quote
The sections where he sourced from 2 or more authorities are usually not good. Either he is not interested and just included some other's saying for completeness or he does not feel comfortable to correct them. I think this is where most of the errors, mistakes that other readers noticed came from. I had started to skim or skip these sections.

The above needs to be qualified for short entries, where he just combines info from sources.

This book grows on you, and is very nice if you can figure out which to ignore.  1 thumbs up  Grin



Regarding Myths and Legends of China by Werner... The section on Sociology of the Chinese is quite insulting, I started skimming after page ~40ish only stopping at key points or persons (like Confucius, Shang Ti, Tien, Pan Gu, etc...) to read carefully.

Reading selected myths in latter sections, to be fair, is of better quality and might be the only easy to use reference in those times. But, if I were a serious scholar and read the first 3 sections, I will not quote this book.

I think he is either bipolar or perhaps he blames Confucius, Taoism, and Buddha for the sorry start that China was after 1800s. But, his "analysis" of the Chinese people is really inappropriate.

No wonder a new book of his is worth just a few cents.

Indignantly at people like Werner,
David

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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2015, 06:38:20 pm »

Dear David,
    I've not read his book, but if Werner's comments about the Chinese People bother you, don't read the crap written by the two English 'Gentlemen' who invented Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese in the late 19th C.
    They made it up as they went along, the more prurient the better, and polite English people could openly read about the Dowager Empress having orgies in the Forbidden City with pseudo-Eunuchs, while Queen Victoria was actually dallying with her Scottish horsegroom, John Brown.
   Best,
      Joey
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2015, 09:10:16 pm »

 
Dear Joey,
Cheesy Duly noted. But, I don't think I will have a problem with that kind of fabrications.

I have no issues with comments/make believe/opinion about a single person. But, when generalized to a whole race is where I draw the line.

Kindly,
David
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2015, 03:29:56 pm »

Dear David,
      Mssrs. Wade and Giles used the Dowager Empress as a lightning rod, but basically defamed the whole Chinese people with their lies.
     Shabbat Shalom,
        Joey



Dear Joey,
Cheesy Duly noted. But, I don't think I will have a problem with that kind of fabrications.

I have no issues with comments/make believe/opinion about a single person. But, when generalized to a whole race is where I draw the line.

Kindly,
David
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2015, 06:39:34 pm »

Dear Joey,

Really? I have not read any of their books so did not know that... sigh... it is a very slippery slope these kinds of thinking can lead to. Then good riddance to their system.

Shabbat Shalom and disappointed at this kind of "scholars",
David
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2015, 07:36:39 pm »

Dear David, et al,
     I must make a correction, in the interest of accuracy: Prof. Wade was actually ca. 1860s/1870s, and while not accurate in his descriptions of Chinese life, culture and mores, and very negative; was not as bad as Mr. Giles and another man who was correspondent for the Times of London ca. 1890 to 1902, and whose name escapes me at the moment. These latter two were the ones who wrote the most heinous lies about the Chinese people  in general and the Dowager Empress in particular.
    But both Wade and Giles were serving the British Empire in a diplomatic capacity, as well as writing material for the public (and getting paid for it).
  Sorry for any confusion.
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2015, 01:52:36 am »

Dear Joey,

Thank you for clarifying.

Hopefully, "scholars" or people that thinks like that and in position to influence the public thinking is a thing of the past or marginalized.

Shabbat Shalom,
David
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« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2015, 03:10:12 am »

Dear David,
     "Happy is he who has faith!"   Grin  Wink
I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
There is a classic Jewish maxim:'Chabdehu veChashdehu' ("Respect Him, But Suspect Him").
This goes double for 'scholars', journalists and liars. I mean lawyers.  Grin  Wink
Best,
 Shabbat Shalom,
Joey




Dear Joey,

Thank you for clarifying.

Hopefully, "scholars" or people that thinks like that and in position to influence the public thinking is a thing of the past or marginalized.

Shabbat Shalom,
David
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« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2015, 04:09:26 pm »

Dear Joey,

LOL   Cheesy, one can always hope or avoid them.

Warmly,
David
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