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The Full-Length Mirror

A Global Visual History

Beautifully illustrated, a stirring and wide-ranging reflection on art, technology, culture—and the full-length mirror.
This book tells two stories about the full-length mirror. One story, through time and space, crisscrosses the globe to introduce a broad range of historical actors: kings and slaves, artists and writers, merchants and craftsmen, courtesans, and commoners. The other story explores the connections among objects, painting, and photography, the full-length mirror providing a new perspective on historical artifacts and their images in art and visual culture. The Full-Length Mirror represents a new kind of global art history in which “global” is understood in terms of both geography and visual medium, a history encompassing Europe, Asia, and North America, and spanning over two millennia from the fourth century BCE to the early twentieth century.

288 pages | 70 color plates, 90 halftones | 6 1/4 x 8 1/4

History: General History

History of Science

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“As has been the case with the numerous other books Wu Hung has offered us, The Full-Length Mirror is a significant work that aptly displays his original ideas, lucid writing and unparalleled erudition: no full-length mirror will ever be large enough to reflect the towering presence and shadow he has marked on art history and Sinology.”

J. P. Park, June and Simon Li Professor in the History of Art, University of Oxford

“In an impressive sweep across time and space, enlivened by penetrating insights, this very readable study uses the full-length mirror as a point of entry into a highly stimulating range of questions about technologies, representations, and the connections between them.”

Craig Clunas, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, University of Oxford

“In this highly original and enthralling study, Hung takes readers on a journey across time, space, and media to explore how emperors as well as ordinary individuals in both China and Europe used full-length mirrors to express power, desire, memory and the self. The images are as stunning as the insights.”

Meredith Martin, Associate Professor of Art History, New York University

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