Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Art and Politics
(1,763 words)

The ability of art and culture to provide national identity can be viewed as a key issue of Chinese art since the end of the 19th century. Collecting and owning artifacts, as well as practicing the arts, has always been a sign of political authority in China. As a constitutive factor in every dynasty's value system, and as part of the standard repertoire of classical education, art and culture were the keys to being affiliated with the political elites. In addition, the arts constituted a privilege and a means of communication for the elites, and in times of political opp…

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Köppel-Yang, Martina, “Art and Politics”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 01 February 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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