Graphics and text in the production of technical knowledge in China. The warp and the weft
Edited by Francesca Bray, Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann, Georges Métailié, Brill, 2013.
This collection offers a challenging new interpretation of technical knowledge in Chinese thought and practice. Conveying technical knowledge in China through charts, plans or drawings (tu) dates back to antiquity. Earlier studies focused on specialised forms of tu like maps or drawings of machines. Here, however, tu is identified in Chinese terms, viz. as a philosophical category of knowledge production: visual templates for action, spanning a range from mandala to modernist mapping projects, inseparable from writing but with distinctive powers of communication. A distinction is made between two principal types of tu: ritual/symbolic and representational, highlighting essential issues such as historical shifts in their significance, the relations between tu and political power, media for inscribing tu and the impact of printing, and encounters with the West.