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Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia$
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S. Heijin Lee, Christina H. Moon, and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892150

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892150.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

China: Through the Looking Glass

China: Through the Looking Glass

Race, Property, and the Possessive Investment in White Feelings

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 China: Through the Looking Glass
Source:
Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia
Author(s):

Minh-Ha T. Pham

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479892150.003.0003

This chapterargues that the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition provides an exemplary case for studying the ways in which authorship is constituted not simply by the law but by a complex of race, knowledge, power, and emotions. As this exhibition demonstrates, Orientalism is a primary means by which Western fashion designers establish their privileged status as authors, as artistic agents specially endowed with the power of creating and controlling circuits of meanings not just about aesthetics and design but about race, representation, and value. In a strange twist of irony—but one that perfectly encapsulates the illogic of the inverted worldview through the looking glass—Western fashion’s use of Orientalist reproductions of “China” and “Asia” has enabled it to both draw and blur the lines between authors and copyists.

Keywords:   Orientalism, China, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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