Chapter

The Universal Prospect

Pamela Kyle Crossley

in A Translucent Mirror

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780520215665
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928848 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520215665.003.0007
The Universal Prospect

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This chapter explores the impact of the spirit of the European “curiosity cabinet” on the use of cabinets by each Qing prince, noting that the boxes were the toys of universalism, in which reality is bestowed upon objects by subjecting them to the imperial power to stereotype, miniaturize, and segregate. It discusses that Qing art of the Qianlong period is famous for its reproduction of miniaturized complete worlds in various media. As with many other developments of the earlier Qing, the imperial trajectory went from consolidations of purposes of conquest to archetypes for purposes of expressing imperial universality to collapse, conflation, and fusion of court representation in the period of disintegrating imperial rule and increasing influence from civilian elites, progressive military leaders, and anxious aristocrats.

Keywords: European curiosity cabinet; Qing prince; toys of universalism; Qing art; Qianlong period; imperial universality; elites; military leaders; aristocrats

Chapter.  24480 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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