fig. 1 
China

Two Chinese figures at the National Gallery of Victoria
It was not until the present century that Buddhist sculpture, in common with most other forms of Chinese art, was recognised by western cognoscenti as having any aesthetic merit. In the following article, I shall sketch the responses to two figures now at the National Gallery of Victoria, and then discuss the Romantic cast to early modernist thinking, which, I argue, framed these figures’ reception.

Within the borders of China proper, the disintegration of the Qing empire (1644–1911), and the relative anarchy of the early republic in the years that followed, allowed dealers and their agents, as well as collectors, historians and museum officers, to discover, survey and not infrequently vandalise Buddhist sites in their efforts to feed the expanding markets for art and knowledge. Certainly, from the beginning of the second decade of this century, Chinese sculpture found a market not only in Japan, where it had always been highly valued, but also in the west.

Two additional factors contributed to the western interest in Buddhist art: firstly, the publication of the Sacred Books of the East series (1879–1920) edited by Max Müller, which continued a strong German interest in anthropology and sociology (an interest beginning with the generation of Herder and Kant), and, secondly, the British, French, Russian and Japanese archaeological expeditions into Central Asia. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw intense competition to control Central and East Asia, and, in addition to their scholarly contribution, these expeditions represented an opportunity to acquire antiquities.

Broadly speaking, the Buddhist art coming out of China and its environs to the northwest divided into four categories: (i) archaeological material, banner paintings, manuscripts and printed books collected from Chinese Central Asia, most notably by Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot from the Qianfo tong cave temple site at Dunhuang; (ii) temple sculpture and frescos; (iii) scroll paintings, both from temples and from private collections; and (iv) smallscale devotional sculpture and ritual objects from tombs and hoards. A number of dealers – Chinese, Japanese and French – circulated objects from the latter three categories, with the Japanese also making available to western collectors paintings and sculptures of varying quality from their own temples and collections.

By the 1930s, Yamanaka and Company had premises in Tokyo, Peking (Beijing), New York, Boston and London. Other major dealers in Chinese art included C. T. Loo and Charles Vignier, both of whom had galleries in Paris. It was from Vignier that the English critic and painter Roger Fry purchased in 1913 a Chinese Buddhist sculpture, which would be acclaimed as the centrepiece of the sculpture section in the 1915 Burlington Fine Arts Club exhibition Objects of Chinese Art.1 See Catalogue of a Collection of Objects of Chinese Art (exh. cat.), Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1915, pl. xvii. The piece was subsequently sold to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, but I have not had the opportunity to examine it. Dated to the sixth century in the London catalogue, it belongs to a series of very similar works published by Sirén as Tang (O. Sirén, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Centuries, London, 1925, pls 527a & 527b, 528a & 528b). See also B. Gray, The Development of Taste in Chinese Art in the West, 1872 to 1972 [George de Menasce Memorial Lecture]’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 39, 1972–73, p. 27. Vignier also possessed the pair of Chinese limestone figures, representing the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Mahasthamaprapta, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (figs 1 & 2).

 

These were first published in 1925 by Osvald Sirén in his Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Centuries, the first major work of connoisseurship on the subject.2 Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, pls 478a & 478b. Chinese Sculpture was published the year Sirén retired from the post of Professor of Fine Arts at Stockholm University. Sirén assigns the two Bodhisattvas, together with a number of other images and heads, including three large figures at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, to the Nan (southern) Xiangtang shan cave temples on the Henan–Hebei border, north-central China. He dates the Philadelphia figures to the Sui (581–618), but the two now at the National Gallery of Victoria to the end of that period or to the succeeding Tang (618–906), on the grounds of their being weaker products, without the buoyant quality of the earlier pieces, and inferior in execution: they were ‘more empty and commonplace’.3 Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, p. ciii. The provenance given for the two pieces is ‘Collection Charles Vignier’, from which it is unclear whether they were owned by Vignier or by his gallery.

Thirty years later, seeing the two figures at the gallery of Vignier’s niece, Mlle Densmore,4 They passed apparently from Vignier to the collection of a Mme Saint, and then to the Densmore gallery, Paris (Edgar Bluett, letter to Felton Bequests Committee, 24 March 1949, Felton Bequests Committee papers, National Gallery of Victoria). where they were ‘shown under more favourable conditions, properly cleaned and in better light, which made them stand out almost like new acquaintances’, Sirén revised their date to the Northern Qi dynasty (551–77). They were now ‘of excellent quality’.5 O. Sirén, ‘Two Bodhisattva Statues’, Oriental Art, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1955, pp. 11–12.

The National Gallery of Victoria had first been alerted to the Bodhisattvas in 1949 by Edgar Bluett, the Felton Adviser for Asian art, who travelled to Paris to see them in the company of the ‘general’ Felton Adviser, A. J. L. McDonnell. McDonnell then recommended to the Felton Bequests Committee that they buy the Mahasthamaprapta, which he considered the superior of the two figures. One can understand why. The Avalokiteshvara has suffered damage to its left eye, the top of the lotus stalk and the so-called ‘leaf-shaped’ attribute held in its right hand.6 Sometimes called a palette or alms-bowl pouch, this attribute has yet to be securely identified. It is common to many Bodhisattva images carved in the sixth century – for example, each of the paired Avalokiteshvara figures on a marble stele dated to 562, excavated from the Xiude si at Hebei. McDonnell’s approach was supported by the Gallery Trustees, but in the event the Committee turned the acquisition down. It was only after Sirén wrote of the two figures again in 1955 that their case was re-presented, this time championed by Leonard Cox, Melbourne neurologist and the Gallery’s Honorary Curator of Oriental Art, who argued, successfully, for the Bodhisattvas to be acquired as a pair.7 See L. B. Cox, The National Gallery of Victoria 1861 to 1968: A Search for a Collection, Melbourne, [1970], p. 257. The subsequent presence of the figures in Melbourne surprised the American art collector and philanthropist Avery Brundage, who had hoped to purchase them for his own collection (Dr Eric Westbrook, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria 1956–73, discussion with the author, 1997); Brundage was in Melbourne for the 1956 Olympics. In 1949 the figures were on offer for 1.5m francs (£1500) each. They were purchased in 1955 for 3.3m francs (£3350) for the pair. In the same year, Trevisani’s Joseph Being Sold by His Brothers, c.1710, was bought for £600, Vuillard’s Portrait of Madame Bonnard with Her Dog at rue Drouai, 1907, for £5400, and Reynolds’s Lady Frances Finch, 1781–82, for £13 700.

The surfaces of both pieces are coated with brown lacquer,8 In an analysis carried out by the Getty Conservation Center on behalf of the Gallery, the spectrographic profile tallied closely both with that for myrrh and with that for East Asian lacquer.itself covered over in part with the remains of a gilded finish. Lacquer from the rhus vernificlua was widely used across China, Japan and Korea, both to waterproof and to decorate the wooden surfaces of buildings, sculpture and vessels, but also, in the Qing period, on Buddhist images – of bronze and wood in particular – to support a surface layer of gold. The lacquer and gold on the Melbourne figures bears no relation to any possible original decorative scheme, and might have been added more to homogenise a surface characterised by a general state of disrepair and restoration than as a matter of fashion. For Sirén, revisiting the Bodhisattvas in 1955, the appeal of the pieces lay now not only in the ‘plastic modelling in conjunction with the linear play of the folds and chains’, but also in ‘the tactile beauty of the stone material which has taken on a patina reminiscent of bronze’. In fact, what he was seeing as patinated stone was lustrous brown lacquer. Edgar Bluett repeated the panegyric in his letter to the Felton Committee.9 Edgar Bluett, letter to Felton Bequests Committee, 19 May 1955, Felton Bequests Committee papers, National Gallery of Victoria.

Chinese limestone sculpture deployed in cave temples was conventionally decorated with pigments over a gesso foundation, as were figures in wood and in unfired (sunbaked) clay. In 1996 the Gallery’s Chief Conservator, Thomas Dixon, examined the Mahasthamaprapta, selectively taking cross-sections of the lacquer and the layers below it, and identified green, ochre and red pigments and gold (probably leaf) from an early decorative schema, in addition to gesso. Unfortunately the lacquer has concealed such surviving pigments as there are, and it would now be extremely challenging to recover any significant area of earlier decoration.

I want to note here that the dating of both Melbourne figures to the Northern Qi must be treated with some caution. There is a very strong case to be made for dating the Avalokiteshvara to the 570s, and I can see no reason to contest Sirén on this. However, noting that further investigation remains to be done, I would suggest that the Mahasthamaprapta is later. It was presumably made, in imitation of the Avalokiteshvara, either because an original Mahasthamaprapta was damaged beyond repair, or because it was desirable to add a second Bodhisattva to what had initially been conceived as a single image. I would not completely disallow that the appearance of the figure is due to recarving, but this seems unlikely. Features such as the general proportions, and the treatment of the drapery and jewellery, militate against this.

Just how much later the Mahasthamaprapta may have been made is uncertain, but the cross-sections referred to above indicate that it cannot be modern (that is, early twentieth century). The dating of the piece will be the subject of a future note in the Art Bulletin, but for the present I suggest that a date from the Northern Song (960–1127) onwards would be credible.10 Sirén, ‘Two Bodhisattva Statues’, p. 12, comments that 12 sculptural activity at Nan Xiangtang shan seems to have been revived to a modest extent in the Ming (1368–1644). In retrospect, it is fortunate that the Felton Committee rejected McDonnell’s 1949 recommendation to buy the Mahasthamaprapta only.

Rhythm and life
Cox described the two Melbourne figures in 1958 as ‘rendered in flattish relief with lovely curving lines’, and wrote of the drapery diverging ‘to a lovely hem of swordlike points and scalloped edges’.11 L. Cox, in Quarterly Bulletin of the National Gallery of Victoria, vol. X, no. 4, 1956, n.p. Such observations continue into the postwar period a discourse of rhythmic vitality that had its origins in Romanticism. It was a discourse that upheld a particular understanding of the ‘life’ of a work of art – a way of understanding quite different from those which would have prevailed in the original context of the figures. While not denying in any way the sensitivity of Sirén to that context (for example, to the nuances of Buddhist eschatology, and to the political, economic and social relationships between the indigenous Confucian state and the ‘foreign’ Buddhist church, not to mention the enablements and constraints associated with class and gender), the late version of Romanticism that he espoused asks us to measure how successful sculptors were in revealing, however unconsciously, profound truths about the universe and ourselves within it. The following passage appears in the preface to Chinese Sculpture, and in fact develops a line of thinking explored by Sirén five years earlier, in his Essentials in Art:

Rhythm is the pulse-beat in a work of art: but it throbs not with the regularity of the physical pulse, it transmits the vibrations of the inner man. It translates into visible or tangible movement certain states of consciousness or emotional reactions. The more intensely we feel the rhythm in a work of art, the more our aesthetic enjoyment is stimulated. It is through the medium of rhythm that we may enter into a work of art and experience something of the exuberance and glow which fired the artist to creation. If the rhythm has once opened the door for us, we are led as if by an unseen hand further and further towards the hidden springs of life from which the artist drew his inspiration; our own vitality wakens at the call of the artist; we respond to this appeal, and in some measure we share with him the joy of creation.

The formal method of expression is not necessarily of decisive importance for the artistic significance of a work. Rhythm may be conveyed by means of [the] relatively concrete as well as in abstract form; it can be expressed in line or tone, by the balance of cubic forms as well [as] by a reflex of light, plastically or pictorially. But it cannot be achieved by a mechanical reproduction of outer form; it must be created from within, out of the union between the artist and his motif. If we conceive rhythm, as hinted above, as a subjective phenomenon, an abstract quality, it seems natural that it should dominate in modes and schools of art which are not hampered by an absorbing interest in the imitation of nature.12 Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, p. xvii.

In Fry’s ‘The Significance of Chinese Art’, a contribution to the Burlington Magazine monograph Chinese Art published in the same year as Sirén’s Chinese Sculpture, ‘rhythm’ is also strongly emphasised: ‘linear rhythm’ is repeated numerous times, ‘flowing, continuous character’ is likewise repeated, and Fry refers to painting as the ‘graph of a dance executed by the hand’.13 R. Fry, ‘The Significance of Chinese Art’, in R. Fry et al., Chinese Art: An Introductory Handbook to Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Textiles, Bronzes & Minor Arts, Burlington Magazine Monographs, no. 1, rev. edn, London, 1935, p. 3.

As a theme within aesthetics, rhythm was peculiar neither to Sirén nor to other writers on China. From the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, it was a key concept in modernist attempts to define and to understand the significance of art and literature. Reynolds identifies rhythm as a bridge between the Symbolist aesthetics of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Mallarmé and the abstraction that emerged during the early years of this century, in particular in the painting of Mondrian and Kandinsky.14 D. Reynolds, Symbolist Aesthetics and Early Abstract Art: Sites of Imaginary Space, Cambridge Studies in French, no. 51, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 26–40.

Reynolds argues that rhythm for the Symbolist poets was the organising principle of a universe pervaded by dynamism: Novalis ‘saw all life as rhythm’, and Mallarmé sought to ‘”transpose” the world into a rhythmic, permutational structure’.15 ibid., pp. 29, 30–1. For Baudelaire, there was a fundamental relationship between art (painting), mathematics and music. This relationship derived from early Romanticism, where music, in its capacity to move the listener directly, was understood as the exemplary model for poetry and painting.

Mallarmé, however, regarded poetry as superior, in that it was capable of unifying the universe by recreating it in more perfect form.16 See D. Reynolds, ‘Mallarmé and Hegel: Speculation and the Poetics of Reflection’, French Cultural Studies, vol. 2, 1991, pp. 71–89. Poetry was self-sufficient and self-reflexive – ‘après avoir trouvé le Néant, j’ai trouvé le Beau’ (after I found Nothingness, I found Beauty)17 Stephane Mallarmé, letter to Henri Cazalis, July 1866, cited in Reynolds, ‘Mallarmé and Hegel’, p. 75; see also C. Taylor, Sources of the Self, Cambridge, 1989, p. 420. – an idea that responds to Hegel’s dialectical program, but is post-Hegelian in that epiphanic resolution is found within the work itself. There must have been something of this presumption in the approach of Mallarmé’s friend Charles Vignier to Chinese art. Basil Gray writes of Vignier’s struggle with a language of aesthetics in terms of ‘a basic Hegelianism’.18 Gray, p. 27.

The language of rhythm, creative imagination, expressiveness, spirit and élan recovers Spinoza’s sensibility of the numinous being omnipresent.19 See Taylor, p. 371. This language has continued to be widely deployed in the early twentieth century, across a variety of media. Thus, in 1908 we have the director of the Munich Künstlertheater writing of the transformation of drama ‘at the curtain line from a physical movement-rhythm into a spiritual movement-rhythm’.20 See P. Weiss, cited in Reynolds, Symbolist Aesthetics, p. 38. Of interest here is the comment made by William Honey, a former Keeper of Ceramics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, on the ‘absurd’ popularity in England, during the second decade of this century, of Bergsonian ideas (of the élan-vital, which guides the world teleologically towards greater goodness).21 See R. Gotlieb, ‘”Vitality” in British Art Pottery and Studio Pottery’, Apollo, vol. cxxvii, no. 313, March 1988, p. 165. Such notions, Honey believed, helped account for the growing taste for Chinese ceramics among collectors.

Fry’s writings of the period, including An Essay in Aesthetics’ (1909), ‘Art and Socialism’ (1912), ‘Art and Life’ (1917) and ‘The Artist’s Vision’ (1919),22 For reprints of these essays, see R. Fry, Vision and Design (1920), Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1940. deploy a range of terms that are firmly implicated with what Taylor calls the Romantic turn inwards:23 Taylor, ch. 21. imaginative life, as in ‘Art, then, is an expression and a stimulus of this imaginative life’, ‘religion is also an affair of the imaginative life’, ‘imaginative life comes … to represent … what mankind feels to be the completest expression of its own nature’, ‘Art, then, is, if I am right, the chief organ of the imaginative life’ (1909);24 R. Fry, ‘An Essay in Aesthetics’, in Vision and Design, pp. 26, 27–8, 29. and spiritual life, as in ‘art is one of the chief organs of what, for want of a better word, I must call the spiritual life’ (1912).25 ibid., p. 52.

Sirén himself, in his own contribution to the Burlington Magazine monograph, wrote that sculptors ‘sought … to fill them [accepted formulae] with the greater significance which depends on the intimate connection between the single individual and the universal life’. Such art was known from medieval European sculpture, ‘but it was carried further in China’; moreover, the Chinese, Sirén wrote, had a ‘stronger feeling for the essential unity which underlies all the changing manifestations of material life’.26 O. Sirén, ‘Sculpture’, in Fry et al., p. 16). Along the same lines, Raphael Petrucci remarks in the introduction to his Chinese Painters that ‘Art possesses a unity like that of nature’.27 R. Petrucci, Chinese Painters: A Critical Study, trans. F. Seaver, New York, 1920, p. 15. In the preface to Chinese Painters, Binyon described Petrucci as ‘one of the ablest and most devoted students and interpreters of the art of the Far East’ (p. 7).

What was being said was entirely reasonable for its time, not only because of its consistency within the shift in thinking that Taylor identifies, but also in relation to what was then known about historical Chinese discourses on painting, in which Binyon, Sirén, Waley and others were much interested. A Romanticism conceived of as a turning inwards, with nature as moral source, does indeed have parallels in China, in a range of writings by Daoist, Confucian and neo-Confucian practitioners, philosophers, poets and artists. It is not surprising therefore that within progressive circles in the early part of the century the status of Chinese art came to be elevated so quickly. Before useful parallels between Chinese and western approaches can be drawn, however, it is crucial, I believe, to retrieve as far as reasonably possible what Chinese authors intended their contemporaries to understand in any particular instance.28 In this I follow Quentin Skinner’s line, as adumbrated in Q. Skinner, ‘A Reply to My Critics’,. in Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics, ed. J. Tully, Cambridge, 1988, pp. 231–88.

One characteristically refined articulation of the relationship between Chinese and western thinking (or a construction of such a relationship, depending on one’s viewpoint) is Laurence Binyon’s 1911 essay Flight of the Dragon, on Chinese and Japanese aesthetics.29 L. Binyon, The Flight of the Dragon: An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Art in China and Japan, London, 1911. Let me cite two chapters among a number that would serve as well. The first is on rhythm, dealing with it not as a ‘mere mechanical succession of beats and intervals’ but as ‘a spiritual rhythm passing into and acting on material things’. ‘Whatever rhythm is’, writes Binyon, ‘it is something intimately connected with life, perhaps the secret of life and its most perfect expression … In all the art of China and Japan we find this predominant desire, to attain rhythmical vitality’.30 ibid., pp. 13, 16. The second is a chapter on water (of which the dragon was originally a spirit), where Binyon suggests that the ancient Chinese would have understood Wordsworth better than did his own countrymen (as in ‘Come hither, in thy hour of strength, / Come weak as is a breaking wave –’). Affinities are also found between Shelley’s ‘Cloud’ and the ‘free, gay strain of the Chinese wanderer’, and between Keats’s letters and Daoist thought.31 ibid., pp. 28–30.

Two ways of thinking about ‘life’
In conclusion, when Chinese Buddhist sculpture was first acknowledged in the west, individual works were credited with a form of ‘life’ that derived from their rhythm, vitality and expressiveness, which were considered to reverberate with life at its profoundest and most universal. This perception also applied to numerous other non-western art forms appreciated for their ‘primitive’ or ‘rustic’ qualities.32 As William Rubin notes in the MoMA Primitivism catalogue of 1984, it was the quality of ‘expressive force’ which Gauguin’s generation prized most highly in the arts of Persia, Egypt, India, Java, Cambodia, Peru, Mexico and Japan (W. Rubin, ‘Modernist Primitivism: An Introduction’, in ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern (exh. cat.), vol. 1, ed. W. Rubin, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1984, pp. 2–3).

The sensibility had its political roots in Montaigne and Rousseau, and its theological roots in Spinoza. In the case of China, however, an awareness – at least by the western avant-garde – of a very longstanding indigenous attention to nature as the manifestation of spiritual forces ensured that Chinese art was regarded as highly sophisticated in the Romantic sense, while not being imitative (of the ideal) in the classical Platonic sense. In contrast, the ‘life’ of the figure within its native religious contexts was achieved through quite another dynamic: not only through the successful representation of the role of the divinity, or force, that the figure signified, but also through its efficacy as an actor within the spiritual and ideological worlds shared by carver, patron and the larger Buddhist community. That, however, is another subject.

Derek Gillman Deputy Director, Curatorial and Education Services, National Gallery of Victoria (in 1997).

Notes

1     See Catalogue of a Collection of Objects of Chinese Art (exh. cat.), Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1915, pl. xvii. The piece was subsequently sold to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, but I have not had the opportunity to examine it. Dated to the sixth century in the London catalogue, it belongs to a series of very similar works published by Sirén as Tang (O. Sirén, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Centuries, London, 1925, pls 527a & 527b, 528a & 528b). See also B. Gray, The Development of Taste in Chinese Art in the West, 1872 to 1972 [George de Menasce Memorial Lecture]’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 39, 1972–73, p. 27.

2     Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, pls 478a & 478b. Chinese Sculpture was published the year Sirén retired from the post of Professor of Fine Arts at Stockholm University.

3     Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, p. ciii. The provenance given for the two pieces is ‘Collection Charles Vignier’, from which it is unclear whether they were owned by Vignier or by his gallery.

4     They passed apparently from Vignier to the collection of a Mme Saint, and then to the Densmore gallery, Paris (Edgar Bluett, letter to Felton Bequests Committee, 24 March 1949, Felton Bequests Committee papers, National Gallery of Victoria).

5     O. Sirén, ‘Two Bodhisattva Statues’, Oriental Art, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1955, pp. 11–12.

6     Sometimes called a palette or alms-bowl pouch, this attribute has yet to be securely identified. It is common to many Bodhisattva images carved in the sixth century – for example, each of the paired Avalokiteshvara figures on a marble stele dated to 562, excavated from the Xiude si at Hebei.

7     See L. B. Cox, The National Gallery of Victoria 1861 to 1968: A Search for a Collection, Melbourne, [1970], p. 257. The subsequent presence of the figures in Melbourne surprised the American art collector and philanthropist Avery Brundage, who had hoped to purchase them for his own collection (Dr Eric Westbrook, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria 1956–73, discussion with the author, 1997); Brundage was in Melbourne for the 1956 Olympics. In 1949 the figures were on offer for 1.5m francs (£1500) each. They were purchased in 1955 for 3.3m francs (£3350) for the pair. In the same year, Trevisani’s Joseph Being Sold by His Brothers, c.1710, was bought for £600, Vuillard’s Portrait of Madame Bonnard with Her Dog at rue Drouai, 1907, for £5400, and Reynolds’s Lady Frances Finch, 1781–82, for £13 700.

8      In an analysis carried out by the Getty Conservation Center on behalf of the Gallery, the spectrographic profile tallied closely both with that for myrrh and with that for East Asian lacquer.

9      Edgar Bluett, letter to Felton Bequests Committee, 19 May 1955, Felton Bequests Committee papers, National Gallery of Victoria.

10     Sirén, ‘Two Bodhisattva Statues’, p. 12, comments that 12 sculptural activity at Nan Xiangtang shan seems to have been revived to a modest extent in the Ming (1368–1644).

11     L. Cox, in Quarterly Bulletin of the National Gallery of Victoria, vol. X, no. 4, 1956, n.p.

12     Sirén, Chinese Sculpture, p. xvii.

13     R. Fry, ‘The Significance of Chinese Art’, in R. Fry et al., Chinese Art: An Introductory Handbook to Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Textiles, Bronzes & Minor Arts, Burlington Magazine Monographs, no. 1, rev. edn, London, 1935, p. 3.

14     D. Reynolds, Symbolist Aesthetics and Early Abstract Art: Sites of Imaginary Space, Cambridge Studies in French, no. 51, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 26–40.

15     ibid., pp. 29, 30–1.

16     See D. Reynolds, ‘Mallarmé and Hegel: Speculation and the Poetics of Reflection’, French Cultural Studies, vol. 2, 1991, pp. 71–89.

17     Stephane Mallarmé, letter to Henri Cazalis, July 1866, cited in Reynolds, ‘Mallarmé and Hegel’, p. 75; see also C. Taylor, Sources of the Self, Cambridge, 1989, p. 420.

18     Gray, p. 27.

19     See Taylor, p. 371.

20     See P. Weiss, cited in Reynolds, Symbolist Aesthetics, p. 38.

21     See R. Gotlieb, ‘”Vitality” in British Art Pottery and Studio Pottery’, Apollo, vol. cxxvii, no. 313, March 1988, p. 165.

22     For reprints of these essays, see R. Fry, Vision and Design (1920), Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1940.

23     Taylor, ch. 21.

24     R. Fry, ‘An Essay in Aesthetics’, in Vision and Design, pp. 26, 27–8, 29.

25     ibid., p. 52.

26     O. Sirén, ‘Sculpture’, in Fry et al., p. 16.

27     R. Petrucci, Chinese Painters: A Critical Study, trans. F. Seaver, New York, 1920, p. 15. In the preface to Chinese Painters, Binyon described Petrucci as ‘one of the ablest and most devoted students and interpreters of the art of the Far East’ (p.?).

28     In this I follow Quentin Skinner’s line, as adumbrated in Q. Skinner, ‘A Reply to My Critics’,. in Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics, ed. J. Tully, Cambridge, 1988, pp. 231–88.

29     L. Binyon, The Flight of the Dragon: An Essay on the Theory and Practice of Art in China and Japan, London, 1911.

30     ibid., pp. 13, 16.

31     ibid., pp. 28–30.

32     As William Rubin notes in the MoMA Primitivism catalogue of 1984, it was the quality of ‘expressive force’ which Gauguin’s generation prized most highly in the arts of Persia, Egypt, India, Java, Cambodia, Peru, Mexico and Japan (W. Rubin, ‘Modernist Primitivism: An Introduction’, in ‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern (exh. cat.), vol. 1, ed. W. Rubin, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1984, pp. 2–3).