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The Research Agenda of Zhu Qiqian: A Reframing of Traditional Chinese Craftsmanship

Martin Hofmann


As a researcher, Zhu Qiqian 朱啟鈐 (1872-1964) is commonly known as the founding father of Chinese architectural history. Consequently, his work has been analyzed predominantly by architectural historians and in the context of architectural history. However, this lopsided perception distorts and obscures Zhu’s comprehensive research objectives and his contribution to a variety of fields, in particular his attempt to reframe and thoroughly investigate the history of Chinese traditional crafts. In order to reveal the intended scope and the unique approach of Zhu’s studies, this article analyzes the motivations behind Zhu Qiqian’s engagement with traditional craftsmanship, the far-reaching program of the research group he established, and one of his main research projects, the Zhejianglu 哲匠錄 (Collected Biographies of Master Craftsmen).

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