Who Miniaturises China? Treaty Port Souvenirs from Ningbo

  • Yuanxie Shi
  • Laurel Kendall
Chapter

Abstract

Miniature carved wooden figurines from Ningbo were consumed by missionaries, travellers, and occasional museum collectors. Inexpensive, small, lightweight, portable, and well crafted, they were ideal treaty port souvenirs. Miniatures portraying scenes of bucolic rural life, unrelenting toil, or grisly torture replicate scenes also widely circulated in treaty port art and in early photographs of China. As such, these miniatures can easily be interpreted as satisfying an Orientalist appetite for an exoticised China. While not incorrect, this interpretation is limited. In this chapter, Shi and Kendall restore some agency to the carvers themselves, first, in accounting for older woodcarving techniques that were creatively adapted to the production of free-standing miniatures and, second, in adapting images from a Chinese visual imaginary that predated the treaty ports.

Bibliography

  1. Babcock, Barbara A. “Modeled Selves: Helen Cordero’s ‘Little People.’” In The Anthropology of Experience, ed. Victor W. Turner and Edward M. Bruner, 316–43. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986.Google Scholar
  2. Baudrillard, Jean. “The System of Collecting.” In The Cultures of Collecting, ed. John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, 7–24. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  3. Bianzuan, Weiyuanhui 编纂委员会, ed. Ninghai xian wenhua zhi 宁海县文化志. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2014.Google Scholar
  4. Biermann, Karin. “Aufstellspielzeuge aus China: Kunstandwerkliche Miniatur-Holzschnitzerei des 19/20. Jahruhunderts im Hamburgischen Museum für Völkerkunde” [Standing Toys from China: Artistic Handicraft Miniature Wood-Carving of the XIXth–XXth Centuries in the Hamburg Museum for Ethnography]. Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg 13 (1983): 89–107.Google Scholar
  5. Bird, Isabella L. The Yangtze Valley and Beyond: An Account of Journeys in China, Chiefly in the Province of Sze Chuan and Among the Man-Tze of the Somo Territory. London: J. Murray, 1900. Reprint, Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  6. Boscagli, Maurizia. Stuff Theory: Everyday Objects, Radical Materialism. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.Google Scholar
  7. Bowen, Agnes E. “Chinese Models.” Children’s Museum News: The Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences VI, no. 5 (1919): 34–35.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, Mei陈眉. “Qiantan Ningshi jiaju zhuangshi yishu fengge de xingcheng” 浅探宁式家具装饰艺术风格的形成. Ningbo jiaoyu xueyuan xuebao 8, no. 6 (2006): 52–54.Google Scholar
  9. Clifford, James. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  10. Clunas, Craig. Chinese Furniture. Chicago: Art Media Resources, 1988.Google Scholar
  11. ———. “Oriental Antiquities/Far Eastern Art.” In Formations of Colonial Modernity in East Asia, ed. Tani E. Barlow, 413–46. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. ———. Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China. Cambridge: Polity, 1991.Google Scholar
  13. Conn, Steven. “Where Is the East?: Asian Objects in American Museums, from Nathan Dunn to Charles Freer.” Winterthur Portfolio 35, no. 2/3 (2000): 157–73.Google Scholar
  14. Darwent, Rev, and Charles E. “Native Stores – Curios.” In Shanghai: A Handbook for Travellers and Residents, xxiii–xx. Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1911.Google Scholar
  15. Day, Edward C. “Ningpo Wood Carvings.” International Studio 80 (1925): 311–17.Google Scholar
  16. Dennys, Nicholas Belfield. The Treaty Ports of China and Japan: A Complete Guide to the Open Ports of Those Countries, Together with Peking, Yedo, Hongkong and Macao. London and Hong Kong: Trubner and A. Shortrede, 1867.Google Scholar
  17. Eberhard, Wolfram. Guilt and Sin in Traditional China. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  18. Edgren, Sören. Chinese Rare Books in American Collections. New York: China House Gallery, China Institute in America, 1984.Google Scholar
  19. Goodrich, Anne S. Chinese Hells: The Peking Temple of Eighteen Hells and Chinese Conceptions of Hell. St. Augustin: Monumenta Serica, 1981.Google Scholar
  20. Goodrich, L. Carrington, and Nigel Cameron. The Face of China: As Seen by Photographers and Travelers, 1860–1912. New York: Aperture, 1978.Google Scholar
  21. Graburn, Nelson H.H., ed. Ethnic and Tourist Arts: Cultural Expressions from the Fourth World. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  22. ———. “Ethnic and Tourist Arts Revisited.” In Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds, ed. Ruth B. Phillips and Christopher B. Steiner, 335–53. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  23. Hasinoff, Erin L. Faith in Objects: American Missionary Expositions in the Early Twentieth Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.Google Scholar
  24. Hay, Jonathan. Sensuous Surfaces: The Decorative Object in Early Modern China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  25. Henriot, Christian, and Ivan Macaux. Scènes de la vie en Chine: Les figurines de bois de T’ou-Sè-Wè. Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer: Équateurs, 2014.Google Scholar
  26. Herle, Anita. “The Life-Histories of Objects: Collections of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait.” In Cambridge and the Torres Strait: Centenary Essays on the 1898 Anthropological Expedition, ed. Anita Herle and Sandra Rouse, 77–105. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  27. Heuser, Frederick J., Jr. “Presbyterian Women and the Missionary Call, 1870–1923.” American Presbyterians 73, no. 1 (1995): 23–34.Google Scholar
  28. Hevia, James L. English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  29. ———. “The Photography Complex: Exposing Boxer-Era China (1900–1901), Making Civilization.” In Photographies East: The Camera and Its Histories in East and Southeast Asia, ed. Rosalind C. Morris, 79–120. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  30. Hirasawa, Caroline. “The Inflatable, Collapsible Kingdom of Retribution: A Primer on Japanese Hell Imagery and Imagination.” Monumenta Nipponica 63, no. 1 (2008): 1–50.Google Scholar
  31. Hommel, Rudolf P. China at Work: An Illustrated Record of the Primitive Industries of China’s Masses, Whose Life Is Toil, and Thus an Account of Chinese Civilization. New York: John Day, 1937. Reprint, Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  32. Huang, Shijian 黄时鉴, and William Sargent, eds. 360 Professions in China: The Collection of Peabody Essex Museum in U.S.A.中国三百六十行:美国皮博迪艾塞克斯博物馆藏品. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2006.Google Scholar
  33. Kendall, Laurel. “‘China to the Anthropologist’: Franz Boas, Berthold Laufer, and a Road Not Taken in Early American Anthropology.” In Anthropologists and Their Traditions Across National Borders, Histories of Anthropology Annual 8, ed. Regna Darnell and Fredric W. Gleach, 1–40. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  34. ———. “A Most Singular and Solitary Expeditionist: Berthold Laufer Collecting China.” In The Anthropology of Expeditions: Travel, Visualities, Afterlives, ed. Joshua A. Bell and Erin L. Hasinoff, 60–90. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  35. King, Franklin Hiram. Farmers of Forty Centuries; or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan. 1911. Reprint, Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  36. Larson, Frances. “The Things About Henry Wellcome.” Journal of Material Culture 15, no. 1 (2010): 83–104.Google Scholar
  37. Laufer, Berthold. “Modern Chinese Collections in Historical Light.” The American Museum Journal XII, no. 4 (1912): 135–38.Google Scholar
  38. MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken Books, 1976.Google Scholar
  39. Meyer, Karl E., and Shareen Blair Brysac. The China Collectors: America’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.Google Scholar
  40. Mitchell, Timothy. “The World as Exhibition.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31, no. 2 (1989): 217–36.Google Scholar
  41. Morrison, Hedda. A Photographer in Old Peking. Hong Kong, Oxford, and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  42. ———. Travels of a Photographer in Old China, 1933–1946. Hong Kong, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  43. Phillips, Ruth B., and Christopher B. Steiner, eds. Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  44. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London and New York: Routledge, 1992.Google Scholar
  45. Rankin, Mary Backus. Elite Activism and Political Transformation in China: Zhejiang Province, 1865–1911. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986.Google Scholar
  46. Reed, Marcia. “A Perfume is Best from Afar: Publishing China for Europe.” In China on Paper, ed. M. Reed and P. Demattè, 9–28. Los Angeles: Getty Institute for Research, 2007.Google Scholar
  47. Reed, Marcia, and Paola Demattè, eds. China on Paper: European and Chinese Works from the Late Sixteenth to the Early Nineteenth Century. Los Angeles: Getty Institute for Research, 2007a.Google Scholar
  48. ———. “In Search of Perfect Clarity.” In China on Paper, ed. M. Reed and P. Demattè, 1–8. Los Angeles: Getty Institute for Research, 2007b.Google Scholar
  49. Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1978.Google Scholar
  50. Schmidt, Benjamin. Inventing Exoticism: Geography, Globalism, and Europe’s Early Modern World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  51. Schran, Peter. “Editor’s Introduction to Forms of Business in the City of Ningpo in China [1909].” Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 15, no. 4 (1983): 3–10.Google Scholar
  52. Shiba, Yoshinobu. “Ningpo and Its Hinterland.” In The City in Late Imperial China, ed. G. William Skinner, 391–439. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  53. Siu, Helen F., ed. Furrows: Peasants, Intellectuals, and the State: Stories and Histories from Modern China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  54. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  55. Strassberg, Richard E. “War and Peace: Four Intercultural Landscapes.” In China on Paper, ed. M. Reed and P. Demattè, 89–137. Los Angeles: Getty Institute for Research, 2007.Google Scholar
  56. Tsur, Nyok-Ching. “Forms of Business in the City of Ningpo in China [1909].” Translated by Peter Schran. Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 15, no. 4 (1983): 11–128.Google Scholar
  57. Tythacott, Louise. The Lives of Chinese Objects: Buddhism, Imperialism and Display. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2011.Google Scholar
  58. Wang, Jiaju王稼句. Sanbailiushihang tu ji 三百六十行图集. Suzhou: Guwuxuan chubanshe, 2002.Google Scholar
  59. White, Stephen. John Thomson: A Window to the Orient. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985.Google Scholar
  60. Williams, Ifan. Created in Canton: Chinese Export Watercolours on Pith 广州制作:欧美藏十九世纪中国蓪纸画. Guangzhou: Lingnan meishu chubanshe, 2014.Google Scholar
  61. Wolf, Arthur P. “Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors.” In Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society, ed. Arthur P. Wolf, 131–82. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  62. Worswick, Clark, and Jonathan D. Spence. Imperial China: Photographs 1850–1912. New York: Penwick Publishing, 1978.Google Scholar
  63. Yang, C.K. Religion in Chinese Society. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  64. Zhang, Bingchen 张炳晨. “Ningshi jiaju chutan (san)” 宁式’家具初探 (三). Jiaju 03 (1984): 21.Google Scholar
  65. Zhang, Mo张陌. “Yanhua zhong de sanbailiushi hang” 烟画中的三百六十行. Wenhua yuegan 12 (2014): 104–7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuanxie Shi
    • 1
  • Laurel Kendall
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.American Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations