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Shen, Hsueh-man

Shen, Hsueh-man

EURIAS Senior Fellow

Art, Space, and Mobility in Maritime East Asia, 12th-14th Centuries

How did maritime connectivity reconfigure the cultural boundaries of medieval East Asia? This book demonstrates that ports and entrepôts along a cultural band acted as areas of concentration of material, making the material culture within the band significantly different from that of surrounding areas. Such a “banding” process took place along the East China Sea and South China Sea during the long twelfth century, resulting in places like Ningbo of Zhejiang province (China) more closely aligned with western Kyushu of Japan than with other parts of Zhejiang.

Project Description

Focusing on oceanic and seaborne connectivity, this book examines cross-cultural exchanges of artifacts and technologies among China, Japan, and Korea during the 12th-14th centuries. I seek to understand the ways in which port city environments facilitated artistic production and the circulation of artworks across territorial boundaries. In particular, I investigate into the intermediary role played by immigrant communities at ports and entrepôts, and the networks thus built by these communities. I will study the objects recovered from shipwrecks, temples, as well as burials and settlements sites, and explore how such networks and circulatory systems reconfigured cultural boundaries of maritime East Asia. Through comparison of evidence from both land and underwater archaeology, I propose a new spatial perspective on Global Asia, which accounts for graded dispersal of objects, knowledge, and people along the routes.

Selected Publications

Authentic Replicas: Buddhist Art in Medieval China. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘I Press, 2018.

“The China-Abbasid Ceramics Trade during the Ninth and Tenth Centuries: Chinese Ceramics Circulating in the Middle East.” In Blackwell Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, edited by Gülru Necipoglu and Finbarr B. Flood, 197-217. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.

“Familiar Differences: Chinese Polychromes in the Indian Ocean Trade during the Ninth Century.” In Beiträge zur Islamischen Archäologie, vol. 4: A Hundred Years of Excavations in Samarra, edited by Julia Gonnella, Rania Abdellatif, and Simone Struth, 107-122. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2014.


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