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Paperback: $32.00
ISBN-13: 9780824829537
Published: June 2005
525 pages | color & b/w illus.

House Home Family: Living and Being Chinese

  • Drawing on the work of leading scholars in the fields of anthropology, architecture, art, art history, geography, and history, House Home Family explores and analyzes the functional, social, and symbolic attributes of Chinese dwellings. It goes beyond generalization to clarify the diverse nature of house, home, and family in China, exploring such topics as the Chinese garden as an integral part of living, house-building ritual and fengshui, architectural aesthetics, the inter-relatedness of furniture and architecture, preservation of historical structures, the structure and development of the family (jia), gender and household space, the role of lineage in the construction of ritual and social space, the function and meaning of the architectural division of space, and domestic space and privacy. The Chinese house, the elementary space in which a family lives and works, resonates the tensions between continuity and innovation that characterize China today. As a dynamic instrument of socialization and a domain of propriety, its “inner” and “outer” spaces as well as ornamentation and ritual helped shape the identity of the Chinese and simultaneously serve as a reflection of this identity.

    This inaugural volume in the series Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Vernacular Architecture contains more than five hundred illustrations, most in color and including a number of rare drawings that demonstrate the richness of domestic architecture and living patterns in traditional and contemporary China. Through its exploration of how Chinese families are organized and why Chinese construct their living spaces the way they do, this carefully researched, convincingly argues, and refreshingly insightful book yields a deeper and wider understanding of what it means to live and be Chinese.

    Contributors: Nancy Berliner, Maggie Bickford, Francesca Bray, Myron L. Cohen, David Faure, James Flath, Wen Fong, Puaypeng Ho, Nancy Jervis, Ronald G. Knapp, Cary Liu, Kai-Yin Lo, Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, Joseph Wang, Yan Yunxiang.