Journal Article

Design History and Study in East Asia: Part 2 Greater China: People's Republic of China/Hong Kong/Taiwan

Wendy S. Wong

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 24, issue 4, pages 375-395
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online December 2011 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epr034
Design History and Study in East Asia: Part 2 Greater China: People's Republic of China/Hong Kong/Taiwan

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Writings on the design history and design studies of the Greater China region (the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan and Hong Kong) have not emerged at this stage. This article summarizes existing works on Chinese design history and study, giving a brief overview of the literature written and published in English and notable publications in Chinese. The brief review of each key publication serves as introductory text for the subject matter. This review takes a pragmatic approach, using the term ‘sheji’ as a currently agreed-upon translation for the English word ‘design’ in the region. Historically, in the Chinese context, ‘gongyi’ was used to refer to the skills (techniques and technology) and art (aesthetic and philosophy) of making crafts to satisfy the needs of everyday life, including the hereditary upper class and ordinary folks. Recently, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China further removed the component ‘yishu’ (art), with only the term ‘sheji’ (design) remaining, and made ‘yishu’ a new discipline in the Directory of Degree-granting and Personnel Training Disciplines (Xuewei Shouyu he Rencai Peiyang Xueke Mulu) announced in March 2011. This recent announcement signifies a new era of design education and unifies the various different terms used in the region to refer to the English word ‘design’. Owing to the complexity of the terminology referring to ‘design’ in the Chinese context, various Chinese terms may appear in this article, along with reviewed literature, to provide further background for the definitions of the term in the current Chinese context.

Keywords: China; design history literature; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea; Taiwan

Journal Article.  10853 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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