Provenance, Patronage, and Desire: Northern Wei Sculpture from Shaanxi Province
|Title||Provenance, Patronage, and Desire: Northern Wei Sculpture from Shaanxi Province|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2001|
Northern Wei sculpture from Shaanxi province was produced for a variety of functions and religious purposes by patrons organized in different forms and representing a range of social classes. While past studies of Northern Wei sculpture have often been guided by a spatial model that is oriented along a metropolitan/provincial divide, this essay proposes an alternative approach which assumes that differences of provenance are modulated by the function of the work, the social class and political position of the patrons, the organizational form of the patronage, as well as religious and political motivations. Finally, the training and assumptions that scholars bring to their studies guide what kinds of questions may be (and may not be) asked in our work, and these in turn structure and limit the type of conclusions that may be drawn. Ultimately, an awareness of our own historical and subjective relation to the materials we study offers us the possibility of understanding why we choose to pursue certain lines of research to the exclusion of others.