In Accumulating Culture, Patricia Ebrey, challenges traditional historiography on Emperor Huizong (r. –) of the Northern Song. She reassesses. Main Author: Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, Language(s): English. Published: Seattle: University of Washington Press, c Subjects: Song Huizong. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong (review) | Zhang Yanyuan (ninth century), one of the earliest.

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Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. This is a magisterial undertaking. For Ebrey, Emperor Huizong was not merely a collector—he was the definition of culture, a political agent who, in addition to consuming art objects, also acckmulating commissioned catalogues of his collections.

View freely available titles: Accumulating Culture demonstrates how Huizong used his collections to negotiate complex relationships with traditional aristocratic members at court while accommodating new constructions of culture.

For example, members of opposing factions were brought together at cultural social events in the palace library, coklections private parties in his rarefied chambers, and at royal banquets, designed to replicate Zhou dynasty ceremonial dinners in his grand clarity edifice in order to view and discuss Huizong’s collection.

Contact Contact Us Help. In institutional terms they patronized education by supporting Confucian learning and schools and implementing projects to collate and print books.

Contemporary scholarship argues that as the scholar-officials gained political power, they articulated their identity, not through wholesale replication of court culture, but through alternative artistic practices that were often defined against imperial production and were a means to challenge it. Several Song-dynasty rulers practiced calligraphy, wrote poetry, and personally participated in literati social behavior—by organizing gatherings for viewing books and art, for example.

If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’. The latter, like the Chinese emperor himself, had inherited his elevated rank through aristocratic lineage and [End Page 98] was generally seen as part of the imperium.


Contact Contact Us Help. By transforming the civil-service examinations into the primary avenue for attaining positions in government, they huizony a means for recognizing the accomplishments of scholars; emperot also enhanced the power of the remonstrative offices, which were populated by members of this scholar-official class. During the reigns of Emperor Huizong’s predecessors, the Northern Song dynasty had inducted into the bureaucracy, in significant numbers, a new type of official, the scholar-official.

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Ebrey views these activities as less overtly political than debating policies. Ebrey has situated Emperor Huizong and his mega-collecting activities within this historical environment.

Accumulating Culture. The Collections of Emperor Huizong

While Ebrey recognizes that at times relations were strained between Huizong and the scholar-officials, she argues that his catalogues and the The new scholar-official, while pledging loyalty to the emperor, also challenged him, and in so doing sought to reform government for the betterment of state and society.

The artistic practices the scholar-official generated are now referred to in common academic parlance as “literati culture. Ebrey shows how in his partnership with the officials Huizong was making shrewd political calculations in his patronage of the arts.

Ebrey argues that Huizong amassed his enormous collection of objects as a means to forge social relationships and to announce his cultural authority and political leadership. This website uses cookies accumukating ensure you get the best experience on our website.

These catalogues were not a mere inventory of positive data listing his possessions, but served to bring together traditional scholars, scholar-officials, and the emperor to discuss culture and inscribe it for perpetuity.


This new member of the bureaucracy often came into conflict with the established career official. Zhang Yanyuan ninth centuryone of the earliest historians of Chinese art, opened his magnus opus Lidai ming huaji. The Collections of Emperor Huizong. Ebrey argues that in purpose and form they are reminiscent of the catalogs of things that were the province of scholars: Book titles Fo Journal titles.

Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Ultimately Ebrey challenges long-cherished views about literati art, suggesting that it was not as outside as twentieth-century scholarship has argued.

Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Catalog Record: Accumulating culture : the collections of | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Not uncommonly, imperial collecting is interpreted in modern scholarship as a dimension of statecraft, but Ebrey specifically examines it as a medium whereby emperors patronized the educated class and its values. University of Washington Press, Often relations between emperors and scholar-officials were antagonistic, yet some emperors, such as Wang Anshicourted reform-minded scholar-officials, vigorously endorsing their policies in efforts to advance both society and imperial authority.

If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own o and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’.

While many traditional and modern historians collectlons Chinese art have focused on the production of literati art, Ebrey’s groundbreaking book seeks to redress this imbalance empero considers Emperor Huizong’s contribution to visual culture of the Northern Song dynasty and beyond.