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Title: Chinese wallpaper, global histories and material culture
Author: Wu, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 5990
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates Chinese wallpaper as global material culture. It goes beyond the traditional contexts of Europe, the eighteenth century country house and the 'Chinese room', in which Chinese wallpapers have historically been assessed, to examine how and why people have used Chinese wallpaper in a wider variety of temporal, cultural and spatial contexts. In so doing, it challenges a long tradition of Eurocentric approaches to Chinese wallpaper and Chinese export art more generally. Developed collaboratively by European merchants and Chinese craftsmen for export markets in Europe in the late seventeenth century, Chinese wallpapers combined images, materials and techniques drawn from longstanding traditions of Chinese visual culture, with a western decorative format to create a hybrid object that was simultaneously Chinese and European. The continued production of Chinese wallpaper in China today and its application in diverse decorative contexts, ranging from period rooms to sleek contemporary design concepts provides evidence, not only of its continued appeal, but also its remarkable adaptability and cosmopolitan character. The enduring presence and appeal of Chinese wallpapers in the global material landscape raises questions regarding how and why they are used in different geographical locations, cultural spaces and time periods and how they are understood in these diverse contexts. Using case studies in eighteenth-century 3 Britain, twentieth-century North America and twenty-first century China this thesis constructs a global account of Chinese wallpaper, drawing out its diverse meanings and values and highlighting the global cultural connections that influenced their development and subsequent interpretation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W200 Design studies