Siting China in Germany
Eighteenth-Century Chinoiserie and Its Modern Legacy
By (author) Christiane Hertel
Publication date:10 October 2019
Length of book:304 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
Chinoiserie—the use of motifs, materials, and techniques considered “Chinese” in ceramics, furniture, interior design, and landscape architecture—has often been associated with courtly decadence and shallow escapism. In Siting China in Germany, Christiane Hertel challenges conventional assumptions about this art form by developing a fresh, complex perspective on collections, gardens, and literature in the long eighteenth century.
From the extraordinary porcelain palaces at Dresden and Rastatt and the gardens of Wilhelmsthal and Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel to the literary and artistic translation practices in Dresden and Thomas Mann's historical novel Lotte in Weimar, Hertel interprets the extensive history of chinoiserie within but also beyond court culture. In particular, her study focuses on how manifestations of chinoiserie in Germany oscillated between the imagination, judgment, and critique of cultural and historical difference as well as identity.
Hertel’s erudite analysis of the cultural significance of German chinoiserie will interest art historians and scholars of Orientalism, German Sinophilia, and German Sinophobia.
—K. R. E. Greenwood, Choice