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Have you ever thought about dependencies in Asian art and architecture?
Most people would probably assume that the arts are free and that creativity and ingenuity function outside of such reliances. However, the 13 chapters provided by specialists in the fields of Asian art and architecture in this volume show, that those active in the visual arts and the built environment operate in an area of strict relations of often extreme dependences. Material artefacts and edifices are dependent on the climate in which they have been created, on the availability of resources for their production, on social and religious traditions, which may be oral or written down and on donors, patrons and the art market. Furthermore, gender and labour dependencies play a role in the creation of the arts as well. Despite these strong and in most instances asymmetrical dependencies, artists have at all times found freedoms in expressing their own imagination, vision and originality.
This shows that dependencies and freedoms are not necessarily strictly separated binary opposites but that, at least in the area of the history of art and architecture in Asia, the two are interconnected in what are often complex and multifaceted layers.
Julia A. B. Hegewald, University of Bonn, Germany.
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