Appropriating the Past: Chinese and Western Antiquarianism (Alain Schnapp)
Abstract: Antiquarianism is considered to have been a creation of the European Renaissance but interest on ancient monuments and object was known in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China. European Antiquarianism was born as a rediscovery of the Ancients. Classical and national antiquities were collected and studied to reconstruct the story of ancient Europe and colonised countries. Chinese antiquarianism relies on continuity. From the Han to the Song and after Chinese scholars were engaged in collecting, describing and preserving antiquities but they were interested in different kinds of monuments and objects. I will try to describe the differences and convergences between these two traditions in order to stress the universal dimensions of antiquarianism.