Chinese House (Potsdam)
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In the 17th century, Dutch traders brought Chinese mother-of-pearl , lacquer, silks and porcelain to Europe. In the noble courts of the baroque era, an interest in Oriental arts grew during the rococo period into Chinoiserie, a genuine fashion for all things Chinese. In addition to the enthusiasm for Asian luxury goods which harmonized with the certain forms of rococo, travelogues and exhibitions portrayed the carefree living of the Chinese, which corresponded with the European courts' ideal of a relaxed lifestyle.
Whole rooms of palaces were decorated with porcelain, small Chinese-style furniture and wall murals which presented the ideal world that was supposedly China. The Chinese House has the shape of a trefoil. The rounded central building contains three cabinet rooms regularly interspersed with free spaces.
Rounded windows and French windows that reach almost to the ground let light into the pavilion's interior. The rolling tented copper ceiling is supported in the free space by four gilded sandstone columns, the work of the Swiss ornamental sculptor Johann Melchior Kambly , who was in the employ of Frederick the Great from The gilded sandstone sculptures that sit at the feet of the columns and stand at the walls of the rooms originate from the workshops of the sculptors Johann Gottlieb Heymüller ca.
People from the area stood as models for the eating, drinking and music-making Chinese figures, which explains the statues' European features. The cupola crowning the roof is surmounted by a gilded Chinese figure with an open parasol.
Friedrich Jury created it in copper after a design by the sculptor Benjamin Giese. The wall of the circular central chamber, accessible by the north side, is coated with stucco marble. Religious NGOs and the quest for a binding treaty on business and human rights, in: Friedensarchitektur in der Krise, in: LIT Verlag, , www. Vom Wolf im Schafspelz. Theory and Practice, London: Legitimization of Private and Public Regulation: Past and Present, in: Politics and Governance, 5: The localization of CSR norms: The attempt to re-fashion the world, to make it new, was just as prominent in historical writing as in poetry and fiction.
Engagement with the past provided an important means to re-imagine the present, and debates about history, over the nature of the discipline and its place in the new China, were central for many of the leading intellectuals of the time.
German scholars have been more attentive [End Page ] than most to the significance of these issues, and Axel Schneider's Wahrheit und Geschichte emerges out of this important strand of German sinology. It is a study of two of the key figures involved in reshaping Chinese historical thought and historical writing during the early twentieth century, Chen Yinke and Fu Sinian The recent fracturing of the imposed consensus in mainland China regarding Marxist interpretations of the past and the continuing search for new ways to create the present through the past have led to the republication of many works by historians of the Republican period.
Schneider makes good use of this material, and in exploring the significance of Chen Yinke and Fu Sinian he also casts some light on this resurgence of contemporary Chinese interest in the early twentieth century. Both Chen and Fu worked at Academia Sinica, the first modern research institute in China, and both were key figures in the attempt to establish history as an autonomous discipline during the s and s. Schneider indicates that he chose to focus on these two historians in order to explore the connection between scholarship and politics during this period and to contribute to our understanding of the way history was used in constructing a new, post-imperial, China.
In the first two chapters he sets out the aims of his study and provides brief biographies of the principal subjects of the book. Schneider begins from the hypothesis that traditional Chinese conceptions of historiography were called into question by the reception of Western theories of history. This initiated a process of reflection on the epistemological foundations and sociopolitical functions of history and led to a questioning of the foundation of Chinese identity, both cultural and national, and the place of Chinese culture in the world.
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