1st Edition

A Study of Shang Dynasty Aesthetic Consciousness

By Zhu Zhirong Copyright 2025
    320 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the aesthetic consciousness of the Shang Dynasty and its influence on Chinese aesthetic development and contemporary aesthetic creation.

    The Shang Dynasty is the first era in China with authentic historical documentation. Its artifacts and inscriptions have great aesthetic value and serve as vivid and rich records of aesthetic concepts. By examining the production and use of pottery, jade, bronze, and oracle bone inscriptions, the book sheds light on the functions of these creations as media for conveying emotions driven by human nature. By discussing how Shang script was invented and used, the author explores the significant role it played in the development of the aesthetic consciousness of the Chinese ancients. Based on surviving documents, including the hexagrams in the Book of Changes, the Pan Geng in the Book of Documents, and the Shang songs in the Book of Songs, he further examines the poetic characteristics of Shang literature, recognizing it as both historically and literarily significant.

    The title is essential reading for scholars, students, and general readers interested in Chinese aesthetics, ancient Chinese civilization, culture, and art.

    1. Introduction  2. The Social Context of the Shang Dynasty: The Dual Influences of Regal and Religious Power  3. A General Introduction to Shang Aesthetic Consciousness: The Developed Consciousness of the Subject  4. The Aesthetic Features of Shang Pottery  5. The Aesthetic Features of Shang Jade  6. The Aesthetic Features of Shang Bronze  7. The Aesthetic Features of Shang Writing  8. The Aesthetic Features of Shang Literature  9. Conclusion


    Zhu Zhirong is a professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of East China Normal University (ECNU), Director of the Research Center for Aesthetics and Art Theory at the ECNU, Vice President of the Chinese Association for Theory of Literary and Art. He is the Changjiang Distinguished Professor, a prestigious title bestowed by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China in 2016. His publications with Routledge also include Philosophy of Chinese Art.