Cultural Statecraft in the Russian and Chinese Contexts

Written by Jeanne L. Wilson. In the last decade, the Russian and the Chinese leaderships have come to focus on cultural and civilizational factors as a component of both their domestic and foreign policy. Neither Russia nor China has a coherent sense of national identity; this is a work in progress. The abandonment of Marxism-Leninism in …

Confucius Institutes and the limits of attraction

Written by Falk Hartig. By late 2015, 500 Confucius Institutes (hereafter CIs) had been established around the world and the number of Confucius Classrooms at primary and secondary schools has reached 1,000. While one has to treat those official numbers with some caution (apparently not all institutes counted in Beijing may already be in operation and …

Pearls mixed with fish eyes – some observations on the Chinese art market

Written by Minna Törmä. Every now and then a Chinese artwork hits the news headlines because of the exorbitant price it has fetched at auction. Often it is a piece of ‘imperial’ porcelain or a piece of jade, though occasionally the news in the Western world also tells about a work of calligraphy or painting which …

Looking back at the history of cultural relations between Italy and China in the Twentieth Century

Written by Laura De Giorgi. One of the peculiar features in the development of Sino-Italian relations is the importance that both countries attribute to culture as a privileged terrain for bilateral cooperation. To some extent, this has been the reflection of the shared perception of being both cultural nations, whose modern national identity has been built …

Imperial Yellow: A Costume Colour at the Top of the Social Hierarchy

Written by Jing Han. When considering popular colours in China, one’s immediate thought may be of red, the colour of the national flag and the colour of celebration. However, it is actually yellow that dominated the imperial wardrobe in ancient times. This piece will explore the hierarchy of costume colours in ancient China and tell the story of imperial …

Chinese Characteristics: The Next Big (Export) Thing?

Written by John Hartley. In my research field of Cultural Science, the role of ‘we’ and ‘they’ groups in organising knowledge is seen as crucial. Knowledge is rarely neutral. ‘Ours’ is trusted, thick with meanings that bind ‘us’ together, and applicable to all situations, while ‘theirs’ is untrusted, possibly threatening, and not in the least applicable …

Shanghai Tang: China’s Aspiring Global Fashion Brand

Written by Jonathan Schroeder, Janet Borgerson, and Zhiyan Wu. How do Chinese brands draw upon what we call ‘Chinese brand culture’ in order to create distinctively Chinese fashion? Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum in New York hosted its annual Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, which examined 500 years of Chinese influence on European luxury …

Fashion, China, and Trends: A Critical Perspective

Written by Tina Mai Chen and Paola Zamperini. In June 2015, the runways for Moda Uomo in Italy celebrated China in more ways than anyone could have expected even in 2007, when Jean Paul Gaultier wove his dystopian haute couture gowns inspired by a delirious conflation of Japanese and Chinese motifs in his Spring collection for …

Problems in Huallywood

Written by Zhan Zhang. Three years ago, the National Digital Film Industrial Park opened in Wuxi, not far from Shanghai, with the nickname “Huallywood” (Hua meaning China). It was viewed as “ushering in a new golden age of filmmaking in China” and “Huallywood” aimed to become a global digital film capital in China like its counterparts in the …

The significance of sharing: Video in China

Written by Gianluigi Negro. In a famous Ted talk Chris Anderson stated that web video would drive a worldwide phenomenon he called Crowd Accelerated Innovation – a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. Although Anderson’s prediction sounds deterministic, the significance of video sharing and creativity has found a …