Studying Things as Material Objects
韩書瑞Susan Naquin
Part I.
How to Use Objects as Sources for
Scholarly Research
June 22, 2013
Introductory Considerations
物, matter, substance; things, objects
文本, texts
視覺文化, visual culture
物質文化, material culture
Object: 物件, 物體,
Artifact/artefact: 人工品, 工件
A (physical) thing: 事物, 東西
Question 1: Are you planning on using any material culture
sources in your research project?
Important aspects of
a material object
Question 2:
What scholarly
problem could be
investigated by
studying beds?
Materiality 物质性 :
component materials 组件
commodity chain 商品鏈
Makers 製造者
artisans 匠
craftsman 技工
History 歷史
when? where? who? why?
Qing dynasty bed. 224 x 223 x 145 cm.
黃花梨木, Yellow rosewood, a
southern hardwood
Meaning, ideas 意, 含義
in style 樣式? decoration?
whose meaning?
how expressed?
Some Suggested Readings on Material Culture
Some Introductory:
Igor Kopytoff, “The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,” in Arjun
Appadurai, ed. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge, 1988.
Ian Woodward. Understanding Material Culture. Sage: 2007.
Karen Harvey, ed. History and Material Culture: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative
Sources. Routledge, 2009.
Some Others:
Journal of Material Culture. Since 1996.
Daniel Miller. Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter. Chicago, 1998.
Henry Glassie . Material Culture. Indiana, 1999.
Michel de Certeau. The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Minnesota, 2002.
Bill Brown, ed. Things. Chicago, 2004.
Lorraine Daston, ed. Things that Talk. MIT, 2004.
Tim Ingold. Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture. Routledge, 2013.
華蓋床? 天蓬床?
What was a
Chinese bed?
Shanghai Museum of Art 上海博物館
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Bronze 中国古代青铜馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Sculpture 中国古代雕塑馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Ceramics 中国古代陶瓷馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Jades 中国古代玉器馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Paintings 中国历代绘画馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Calligraphy中国历代书法馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Seals 中国历代玺印馆
Gallery of Ancient Chinese Numismatics 中国历代钱币馆
Gallery of Arts and Crafts by Chinese Minorities 中国少数民族工艺馆
Gallery of Chinese Furniture in Ming and Qing dynasties 中国明清家具馆
Chong-ming county museum 崇明縣博物館
“明代 .
长221厘米, 宽122厘米, 高83厘米
明式家具中不乏大件以 其为材料。床的围档为紫檀材质,
乌镇江南百床馆. Wuzhen
(Zhejiang) Ancient Bed Museum
Wang Shixiang (王世襄) 1914-2008
He gave 79 pieces of Ming furniture to the
Shanghai Museum.
Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical
Chinese Furniture (Chicago: 1995)
清代匠作則例 , 主編王世襄 (鄭州: 2000)
锦灰堆 : 王世襄自选集. (北京:2000)
Auction Houses 拍賣行, a sampling:
China Guardian Auction 中国嘉德
Beijing Poly International Auction 北京保利
Sotheby’s 蘇富比
Christie’s 佳士得
Both: New York, Hong Kong, London, Paris. Soon Shanghai?
Nagel Auktionen內格爾 . Stuttgart (Germany)
Suite 519A, Shanghai Centre
1376 Nanjing Road West
Shanghai 200040, China
国嘉德 2013年春季拍卖会 > 物我同修—家青制器 . May 11, 2013
七屏风式罗汉床. “Luohan” bed.
尺 寸 高 68 cm;宽 162 cm;厚 50 cm
估 价 : RMB 2,600,000-3,000,000
成 交 价 : RMB 2,990,000. [US$ 487,000]
河北 保定 清代 衙門
Qing governor’s yamen in
Baoding, Hebei. 1999.
Fabric is recent.
kang 炕 in Dongbei 東北. 2005.
(Japanese influence?)
Painting of a 19th century Canton residence.
1640 scene from Xixiang ji 西廂記.
Canopy bed enclosed in a screen.
Woodblock illustrations
回到 Question 2:
What scholarly problem
could be investigated by
studying beds?
一個學者 為甚嗎研究床?
Your answers?
Pleasures in bed 在床上性愛.
Using pornographic pictures黃
色圖片 as historical sources
How comfortable? Night or day? How many people at once?
Who needs a bed, when a mat will do?

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