The essays in this anthology examine artwork and sites in East and Southeast Asia through the lens of eco–art history. In these regions, significant anthropogenic changes to terrain, watercourses, and ecosystems date back millennia, as do artwork and artefacts that both conceptualize and modify the natural world. The rising interest in earth-conscious modes of analysis, or “eco–art history,” informs this anthology, which explores the mutual impact of artistic expressions and local environments in East and Southeast Asia. Moreover, conceptual tools and case studies focused on these regions impart important insights bearing on the development of eco–art history.The book includes case studies examining the impact of the Little Ice Age on court painting and systems of representing marine life in the Joseon period in Korea. Other contributors consider contemporary artistic strategies, such as developing a “sustainability aesthetics” and focusing attention to non-human agents, to respond to environmental damage and climate change in the present. Additional essays analyse the complicated art historical ecology of heritage sites and question the underlying anthropocentrism in art historical priorities and practices. As a whole, this anthology argues for the importance of ecological considerations in art history.
De-nin D. Lee is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, Boston. She is the author of The Night Banquet: A Chinese Scroll through Time (2010). Her current research examines the intersection of Chinese landscape and environmental concerns.