'Post-Enlightenment notions of culture, which have been naturalized in the West for centuries, require that art be autonomously beautiful, universal, and devoid of any practical purpose. The authors of this multidisciplinary volume seek to complicate this understanding of art by examining art objects from across Asia with attention to their function, ritual, and everyday contexts. From tea bowls used in Japanese tea ceremony to television broadcasts of Javanese puppet theatre, from Indian wedding-chamber paintings to art looted by the British army from the Chinese emperor's palace, from the adventures of a Balinese magical dagger to the political functions of classical Khmer images—  the authors challenge prevailing notions of artistic value by introduction new ways of thinking about culture.' (Front flap)
Access level


Location code REF.MRJ


Publication/Creation date


No of pages




No of copies


Content type


Chapter headings
Introduction: Wrapping and Unwrapping Art - Morgan PITELKA
From the Living Rock: Understanding Figural Representation in Early South Asia - Robert DECAROLI
Disposable but Indispensable: The Earthenware Vessel as Vehicle of Meaning in Japan - Louise Allison CORT
From the Wedding Chamber to the Museum: Relocating the Ritual Arts of Madhubani - Richard H. DAVIS
In the Realm of the Indigo Queen: Dyeing, Exchanging Magic, and the Elusive Tourist Dollar on Sumba - Janet HOSKINS
Plunder, Markets, and Museums: The Biographies of Chinese Imperial Objects in Europe and North America - James L. HEVIA
Situating Moving Objects: A Sino-Japanese Catalogue of Imported Items, 800 CE to the Present - Cynthea J. BOGEL
Angkor Revisited: The State of Statuary - Ashley THOMPSON
An Ancestral Keris, Balinese Kingship, and a Modern Presidency - Lene PEDERSEN
Raw Ingredients and Deposit Boxes in Balinese Sanctuaries: A Congruence of Obsessions - Kaja M. MCGOWAN
Ways of Experiencing Art: Art History, Television, and Javanese Wayang - Jan MRAZEK
What's the Use of Art? Asian Visual and Material Culture in Context
Rights statement

In Copyright

What does this mean?

This item is covered by one or more copyrights. It is available for research only or use within Hong Kong’s fair dealing rules. Please do not copy, re-use or reproduce this item without the permission of the copyright holder.

What's the Use of Art? Asian Visual and Material Culture in Context