Viewing blue as a Bridge in Hero


Scene: Yimou, Hero (2003).

Zhang Yimou’s  film Hero tells the story of Nameless, a warrior who attempts, with the help of three assassins, to kill the King. As the story unfolds, the king unravels Nameless’ plot piece by piece in increasing detail. There are three main phases of the film characterized by three different colors. The first phase is characterized by red, it is a story of betrayal specifically between the assassins Flying Snow and Broken Sword that leads to Nameless defeating the assassins, this part of the story happens to be untrue. The second phase, characterized by blue scenes and costumes, tells the story of love and sacrifice between Flying Snow and Broken Sword, however, still presumes that Nameless is attempting to defeat the two assassins to save the King. The final phase of the story is characterized by white and tells the true story of how Flying Snow and Broken Sword sacrifice themselves to give Nameless the opportunity to assassinate the King. The Scene depicted above is part of the blue phase, it shows a fight on the water between Broken Sword and Nameless while Flying Snow lies dead. In this scene the color blue, present in the surroundings and the costumes acts as a narrative bridge between the radical lie that Nameless tells the king and the whole truth of the plot to assassinate the king.


The fight takes place on the lake itself, with a dance like quality to the movement over the surface of the lake.  The entire scene takes place in a blue surroundings, which stands in stark contrast to the red forest in the first part of the story and the white surroundings, specifically the desert, in the last scene. If we consider the symbolism of the blue surroundings (the lake) we can consider that it acts as a bridge between the lush forest, often a symbol of life, and the stark desert, often a symbol of death. The blue tones of the scene are carried through the water and symbolize the partial truth of the story that Nameless presents to the king in the blue phase.


The blue of Flying Snow and Broken Sword’s costumes further bridges the narrative between the initial lie that Nameless tells and the final truth about the plot to assassinate the king associated with the white costumes. More specifically, Flying Snow and Broken Sword share a similar blue hue while Nameless is portrayed in a black costume. This highlights the notion that at this moment in the plot, the viewer and the king understand that Flying Snow and Broken sword, in their commitment to each other, are willing to sacrifice their lives to fulfill a greater goal. However, the narrative has not yet revealed that Nameless too is part of the plot to assassinate the king.  In this scene his black costume, in contrast to the blue background and costumes, portrays Nameless as the outsider or opposing force to Flying Snow and Broken Sword’s plan to assassinate the king. Eventually Nameless adopts a blue costume and begins to reveal his intentions to unify with the three other assassins in order to kill the king. In this way the colors and costumes of this scene serve as a bridge between the fragmentation between characters, specifically Nameless from the three assassins and Broken Sword and Flying Snow from each other and the unification at the end of the narrative not only between the three assassins but of all of China under one king.

clear and persuasive


Flying Snow’s Red Vengeance

Yimou, Zhang. "Hero" (Beijing New Picture Film Co.: 2002) film clip, YouTube video, 4:33 posted by "gladtohelpafriend," November 16, 2009.

Yimou, Zhang. “Hero” (Beijing New Picture Film Co.: 2002) film clip, YouTube video, 4:33 posted by “gladtohelpafriend,” November 16, 2009.

This scene of conflict from the film Hero (2002) between Flying Snow and Moon takes place after Broken Sword and Flying Snow find out that they both betrayed each other. This causes Flying Snow to kill Broken Sword. Moon challenges Flying Snow days later in the forest  they are in but she is not as strong as Flying Snow, so she does not succeed in killing her. This story represents one of the different versions of how the “assasinations” of the assasins (Broken Sword and Flying Snow) take place. Analyzing the color of the film like author Robert Burgoyne discusses in “Color in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero,” (2012) the color red and gold in this scene emphasizes the feelings of betryal & vengaence that only lead Flying Snow to feel dark and empty at the end of the scene and not as powerful as she seemed throughout the combat.[1]

The all red outfit that Flying Snow wore represented how much of a strong warrior she was in comparison to Moon because Moon wore an outfit that was more pink, which is a lighter hue. Along with the color of the outfit, both robes were flowy and long which symbolized the focus of the movement they created with their bodies when sword-fighting. The way that Flying Snow wore her long robe represented how strong and in control of her body she was. She was able to flip and spin without losing her balance like Moon did and show-off her strength in her movement. stay with the significance of the color red

Another red element in this scene was the blood that dripped onto the ground from the sword. As I mentioned in class this was the only time that the audience saw actual blood when someone was stabbed. Having the actual blood be shed in the scene was a way for the audience to see that death would only cause more pain for everyone. After killing Broken Sword Flying Snow did not feel a satisfied, her pain did not go away, niether did it go away when she killed Moon. In the other scenes the audience can tell that the warriors do not want to kill one another, so that fact that Flying Snow did kill people in this scene means that she became powerless through the act of killing. stay with the idea of blood and its significance

After this the gold leaves in the forest turn a deep red which symbolizes the betrayal of Broken Sword which caused Flying Snow to kill both Broken Sword and Moon. The gold color could also symbolize trust and honesty which was broken by Broken Sword and Flying Snow when they betrayed each other. The strong feelings of vengeance and anger that Flying Snow felt toward Broken Sword could be expressed through the deep color red in the scene. The leaves also turn red when Moon falls to the ground, dead, which represents the negative consequences that violence have on the person that uses it to get vengeance. contrast between or transition from gold to red?

[1]Robert Burgoyne, “Color in the Epic Film: Alexander and Hero,” in Rebeca, (n.p: 2012) 14-39

well organized work


White and Black Contrast in “In the Mood For Love”


Costume design is not simply for appealing aesthetics and creating a nice fashion; it is more than that. Costume design in film is created to be reflective, representative, symbolic and moving. In “In the Mood For Love,” Maggie’s quipaos are representative and also tell a story to further provide interpretation in what is going on in that point that may not be spoken or blatantly laid out for the viewer to understand. It often requires the viewer to look deeper into the purpose of the design of the costume in order to fully comprehend what is going on in the segment. Maggie’s black and white qipao creates contrasting aromas that indulge the viewer to look closer into Maggie and Tony’s relationship, time, and love.

First off, the contrasting black and white colors in this qipao indicate a sharp contrast in Maggie’s life. The black on her dress could be representative of the sadness she faces when she is suspicious of her husband’s fidelity. This blackness could also be representative of loneliness and sadness; a dark time period in Maggie’s life. The white, however, could be representative of a new, clean slate in which the story is untold. This white part of her dress could be the potential new relationship which she is developing with Tony, and it is a canvas or blank page waiting to be written on. White also represents innocence, where there is a part of Maggie that feels that, although she believes her husband is being unfaithful to her, she feels guilty developing feelings for Tony. The innocence could also be representative of a simple, innocent crush to mend her lonely, broken heart. The sharp contrast with the blackness indicates a shift in feelings where Maggie feels happy and excited by her neighbor, but there is still an underlying sadness that she feels in her heart.

Another important thing to notice is that the black and white lines in the dress do not overlap; they are distinct and separate. These two separate entities could either be representative of Maggie and her husband, Maggie and Tony, or Tony and his wife. However, the divides occur and offer a sense of prediction that the viewer can see that there are distinct things that separate two people, no overlapping is able to occur. It is also important to recognize that certain stripes on the dress are thicker and thinner than others. This could mean that at certain periods in time, one specific entity or person may be more significant in Maggie’s life than the other. This could be representative of her husband, being the dark black stripe in her life, bringing darkness, whereas the white stripe could be representative of Tony, a light in her life. The thickness and thinness indicate that one of the two men play a larger role than the other at distinct times in her life and this is important to note because there is also a sharp contrast between the colors, indicating very contrasting ideals and differences between the two men and how Maggie feels for them both.

nice interpretation of color white and black


Hero: Women Warriors

moon and snow

In the film Hero, directed by Yimou Zhang, a warrior called Nameless is invited to see the King of Qin after defeating three assassins that had attempted to take his life. This particular scene is part of a flashback during Nameless’s account to the king in which one of the three assassins, a female warrior named Flying Snow is confronted in the woods by Moon, the apprentice of Broken Sword (another of the three assassins who is both Moon’s master and Flying Snow’s lover). Moon approaches Flying Snow in the woods in order to get revenge for the death of Broken Sword. At first, Flying Snow refuses to fight Moon and doges her blows. Moon attacks repeatedly and expresses her anger in yells and grunts while Flying Snow remains silent. The two engage in nothing short of a dance ant the forest’s yellow forests are swept up in the movement of their red robes. When Moon manages to cut off a lock of her hair however, Flying Snow agrees to “help her die.” She makes her move and lands a fatal strike. Moon pulls Flying Snow’s sword from her wound and throws it. The sword hits a near-by tree and a close up shot reveals blood dripping from the blade. When the blood drips, the leaves in the forest suddenly turn from yellow to crimson red and drift slowly to the ground. try to avoid description

start from here: The fight scene between the two female warriors is a brilliant yellow and red color scheme. Each account of Nameless’s stories are shaded in different colors from red and blue to green and white. This particular scene is untrue. In this version, the red sets the stage for the jealousy, anger, lust, love and betrayal that plays out on the screen. In this clip, we experience perhaps the only true violence of the film. The fact that blood is only shown in this particular part and that Moon is particularly vocal about her anger through her series of exasperated yells supports this idea. It is a fight driven by rage and emotion rather than a traditional battle of honor between warriors. The yellow, a traditionally imperial color worn only by emperors, ties this scene into the story line as a whole. In the end, Nameless does not kill the king. Through his trials and with the guidance of Broken Sword he realizes that peace rather than vengeance is the only way to unite china ‘All Under Heaven’ and stop the decades of suffering that resulted from China’s warring states. I argue that the yellow not only foreshadows this but is emblematic of this idea. Violence and anger do not bring closure rather, giving up personal goals for the collective good is the only way to achieve peace. Finally, the scene is significant because it is the only one that depicts a battle between two female warriors. This narrative seems to be an attempt by the director to counter hegemonic orientalist stereotypes of women as frail and meek. Instead, the two women are agile, intelligent, strong, and have super-power like ability. At first, the scene seems to propagate the stereotype that women only ever fight over men. In the end however, this sexist perception is done away with when the scene is revealed to be made up and, in reality, the two women are strong, virtuous, and idealistic to the death.

it would be clearer should the writing move from one color to another.

Link to Scene:


Hero, Yimou Zhang, 2002. Film.

Appreciation vs. Orientalizing

The “China Through the Looking Glass” exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of New York aims to capture Chinese aspects of art, fashion, and culture and appreciate it. It’s goal overall is to sell the idea that Western and Eastern art and fashion influence each other, but I argue that it is mostly the West orientalizing the East, specifically exotifying the most tangible qualities. Many of the art pieces are misrepresentations of Chinese culture and do not indicate appreciation for the real meanings behind the art, but just its unique qualities. This perfume bottle from the exhibit is an object that has aspects to contribute to the consumer orientalizing aspects of the West influencing the East. The exhibit titled its section “enigmatic spaces,” to contribute to the mystifying the Chinese culture, rather than attempting to understand it. The perfume bottle in this exhibit exemplifies the orientalizing of Chinese people and culture from the Western perspective from its name “Nuit de Chine” and fake Chinese writing, among other details.

Les Parfums de Rosine (French 1911). "Nuit de Chine" perfume flacon.

Les Parfums de Rosine (French 1911). “Nuit de Chine” perfume flacon.

Perfume Bottle

The photo shows an artistic display of a perfume bottle and the enigmatic space it takes up. The bottle is selling a scent, with red and purple accents. It is a memorable, unique shape. From this display, we can infer that the bottle is representing the repackaging of Chinese culture. Somehow, the brand of perfume is able to capture the “scent of China” and sell it. The Eastern manufactorers are able to produce and profit from the incorrect assumptions made from using a “Chinese” product. The makers of this perfume chose the colors red and purple, which symbolize exotic mystery, and relates China to this type of “other.” The perfume bottle shape and decorations allow one to exotify the Chinese culture incorrectly represented in this object.

“Nuit de Chine”

The product is called “Nuit de Chine,” which means “night in China” in French. The perfume bottle is from France, which only makes sense why the perfume’s name is in French. However, one must consider the meaning that the product somehow embodies the scent of a night in China. The perfume orientalizes the China lifestyle and culture, acting as if it is something one can acquire and wear. Westerners who are unfamiliar with Chinese culture may think the perfume is an accurate depiction of China, which diminishes the country’s value into a commodity. The Western perspective on this “Chinese” product and scent does not appreciate but devalues the Chinese culture.

Fake Chinese Writing

In addition to the title of the product, the perfume has some sort of characters on the bottle’s label. It is not distinctively Chinese, but it is the largest part of writing on the product. Due to the fact that the writing is not real Chinese, it is a huge indication of the lack of knowledge and respect for the Chinese culture in this product. The Western creators of the perfume bottle did not care to represent China in a correct way, but chose to create some kind of incorrect writing for the look of the product. Not only was fake Chinese writing incredibly disrespectful, it also allows the consumer to further orientalize Chinese culture by misrepresenting it. The consumer could ignorantly claim to know and understand Chinese culture, all because of the commodification of a fake representation of culture that the French company chose to portray.

Overall, the representation of China and its people’s culture is belittling and disrespectful. Western influences turned meaningful aspects of China into an orientalized commodity that could easily be misinterpreted. Rather than appreciating the true essence of Chinese culture, the French makers of “Nuit de Chine” essentialized race into a mysterious, exotic scent that could be misinterpreted in many ways.

you have made a number of critical statements and supported with visual evidence. further tie the statement and evidence close and in detail. For the question of bottle form, for instance, how does the bottle reflect Orientalization? 

China: Through the Looking Glass

China: Through the Looking Glass Met Gala

China: Through the Looking Glass
Met Gala

In the Met Gala exhibit China: Through the Looking Glass, an amalgam of fashion pieces as art was presented in a decontextualized and culture sensitive setting. In the photograph above, the exhibit displays a traditional Chinese porcelain vase next to two aesthetically similar but clearly distinct dresses. This specific grouping of two different forms of art in three objects epitomizes the idea of surfaces as an expression of beauty and art, the redefining of orientalism, and the concept of using culturally and traditionally significant objects as inspiration for fantastical embodiments of symbols and signs respectfully removed from the original context. break this long sentence and make it sound clear.

Objects: Each of the three objects in the photograph above has an individual purpose and context, but together they function in conjunction as a gallery art exhibit. It is clear that there are three objects in a line presented to the audience, a porcelain vase, an elegant gown, and a more exploratory/extravagant dress. Though these objects would rarely be associated with each other on a day-to-day basis, it is obvious that the two pieces of apparel derive its symbols from the porcelain vase. All three items are the same two colors: blue and white. And all three items project a sense of tacit fragility and admirable delicacy. While the porcelain vase’s material itself is shatter-able, the first dress projects delicacy through its soft silk material and tight hem, the second dress projects fragility through the multitude of gems on the bodice and the elaborate layers of chiffon ruffles. The vase is too intricate for casual use just as the dresses are too sophisticated for wear. Thus, all three display pieces are not for use but for aesthetic appreciation.

Placement: China: Through the Looking Glass claims that a main concept of the exhibit is to promote a communication between the east and the west without appropriating or orientalizing the east. The photograph above is representative of the aforementioned idea in the placement of the objects. Clearly the porcelain vase is inherently Chinese, while the two dresses speak more of western influence in style and material. However, all of these objects are of similar height. The curators have purposefully elevated the porcelain vase so that it is not degraded or looked down upon, but seen as an equal. Furthermore, the vase is place a few feet in front of the two mannequins, while temporally distant from the viewer it is proximally more tangible. This closeness of the vase disallows orientalization as it is brought into the reality of the viewer as well as the two dresses.

Lighting: The deliberate lighting of the exhibit also reconfirms the goal of decontextualization. As we can see, the porcelain vase while physically closer to the viewer, is shrouded in shade while the light directly shines on the two dresses. Initially, this automatically brings the viewer’s attention to the dresses. The viewer will first perceive the two dresses and then shift their focus to the porcelain. This process of interpretation lets the viewer recognize the dresses as the main art exhibit, and then by shifting their gaze to the vase, the viewer understands that the vase was the source of inspiration. Also, the three objects on display contrasts with the dark tapestry in the background. Because the foreground differs so greatly from the background in color, material, lighting, and time period, the decontextualization of the exhibit is even more profound. The dynamic between the tapestry and the three art pieces emphasizes that the vase and dresses are each a solitary form of art regardless of context.

The carefully selected three items showcased in the exhibit along with the particular lighting and placement of the art is a paradigm of what China: Through the Looking Glass wants to convey to the audience. It simultaneously evokes artistic awe and admiration, demonstrates a reverent mode of communication between China and her western counterparts, and also shows the possibility of extracting unique symbols without importing the whole framework of the symbol.

yes, the three pieces in display reflect incorporation between source of inspiration and outcome of creation without contextualization. The transition from a classical flower vase to modern fashion dresses does contrast China as Other and West innovation, however. 




Western Dress vs. Eastern Vase


The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition, China Through the Looking Glass sparked discussion regarding cultural appropriation, and orientalism. Many well-known and influential western fashion designers were featured in the exhibition. The curator of the exhibition, Andrew Bolton, was quoted as saying, “When you posit the East is authentic, and the West is unreal, there’s no dialogue to be had.” Although the Chinese culture is often misrepresented in the West as something very exotic and dramatized, the influence of the East inspired many Western and Eastern artists to create beautiful pieces of art for the exhibition. nice intro but any thesis statement that you’ll introduce?

This blue and white evening dress designed by Roberto Cavalli (Italian born) that was displayed in the MET’s China Through the Looking Glass exhibition, was directly influenced by the iconic blue and white porcelain vases that are associated with Chinese culture, particularly the Ming Dynasty.


Cavalli’s dress adds to the discussion of cultural representation, but does not do so insensitively.

This dress is aesthetically beautiful. The shape of the dress adds to the elegance. White and blue are the two dominant colors. The shapes appear to be floral patterns. Only the bottom two thirds of the dress are visible in the image. The viewer only sees below the waistline to the floor. From the waist to halfway down the leg, the dress is very form fitting but then opens up and is loose and flowing around the feet.

If the viewer knew nothing about this particular dress it would be easy to assume there were no cultural associations and it was just a beautiful dress. However, with background knowledge the viewer would know that this particular dress by Cavalli was a part of the China Through the Looking Glass exhibition. The Western designer found inspiration for the dress from Chinese vases from the Ming dynasty. When comparing the two objects side by side the shape of dress matches the shape of the vase, and the curvy body of a woman helps the dress to be shaped like a vase. The colors of the dress were derived from the traditional blue and white colors of the porcelain vases. It is difficult to see all of the details that are a part of the designs on the dress, but at first glance the dress designs are very similar to some of the designs on the vases. The fact that the image is cutoff just above the waistline is more of an implication that the body has become the vase.

It is hard to know how informed Cavalli is about the specific designs he used, which adds to the cultural discussion regarding . Although it is common for Westerners to take a piece of Chinese culture and misrepresent it in a negative way, I think Cavalli has simply added to the discussion between East and West in a decent manner.

very nice description of the designed work and would be stronger should you make an argument



Enigmatic Bodies: Annie May Wong as a Dragon Lady

Annie May Wong in the 1934 film "Limehouse Blues"

Annie May Wong in the 1934 film “Limehouse Blues”

"Daughter of the Dragon" featuring Anna May Wong (1931)

“Daughter of the Dragon” featuring Anna May Wong (1931)

In our presentation, we addressed the question as to how the body of the Chinese woman is seen as exotic and sexy in Western filmography, and what symbolism is used to achieve this image of the Chinese woman as being mysterious and intriguing. Looking through each of the pictures in the enigmatic bodies exhibit, it became evident that the symbol of the dragon was overused and exaggerated to perpetuate this sense of mysticism we as westerners associate to the Chinese women, and more often than not, the body used to perpetuate this association was that of Anna May Wong, the first Chinese film star in Hollywood. It became evident that the dragon became a key indicator of the Chinese “other” for Western consumers, a symbol that has persisted to symbolize an otherness between the East and West in the past and today.

yes, the symbol of dragon but explain why so?

The first image in the collection seemed to characterize perfectly the stereotypical western view of the eastern other we observe in Hollywood filmography of this time. The photo is a sequence taken from the 1934 film Limehouse Blues, which features Annie May Wong as a supporting actress. Our eyes are immediately drawn to the Chinese dragon woman taking the stage, her body captivating the entire audience, which predominately consists of westerners. She is different from them; the dragon body raps around her gown, almost making it look like her face is that of the dragons. Her presence on the stage almost makes it seem as though she is subordinate to the westerners in the audience, and merely there to entertain their gaze and fascination with the exotic otherness she embodies. The dragon is again pushed forth onto the audience as a symbol of a Chinese ethnic other as it is plastered across all the walls, making the restaurant different and mysterious.

Again, Annie May Wong and the dragon are pushed towards us as indicators of a mysterious Eastern other in another photo in the exhibit entitled “Daughter of the Dragon” from 1931. She is shrouded underneath the dark ominous shadow of the dragon that seems to overtake the entire picture. Perhaps the dragon is meant to be her own shadow, making the association between the Chinese woman and the dragon even stronger. She isn’t scared; rather, she is a daughter of the dragon. She further perpetuates this exotic intrigue that the Chinese dragon lady portrayed in early Western filmography.

the connection between the image of “dragon lady and the fashion/costume?”

Enigmatic Space in Perfume

In the exhibit, Empire of Signs, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City the impact of Chinese art, culture and general aesthetics on Western art and fashion was presented. The thesis was that Chinese aesthetics have driven “fashionable imagination” in Western countries for decades. In this exhibit, enigmatic objects, bodies and spaces were explored and shown to audiences. Enigmatic means: difficult to understand, mysterious. The items presented in the exhibit show this influence both as an enigmatic concept, and enigmatically.

One of the categories of the exhibit Empire of Signs, was Enigmatic Objects. It is here the image of a bottle of perfume is seen.

Les Parfums de Rosine (French 1911). "Nuit de Chine" perfume flacon.

Les Parfums de Rosine (French 1911). “Nuit de Chine” perfume flacon.

This bottle of perfume is from a french company founded in 1911. The fragrance is called “Nuit de Chine”, or Night in China/Chinese Night. For the reason that the perfume is called “Night in China” alone, it represents an enigmatic space. The bottle represented a capitalization of the appeal of mystery the Orient held for Europeans in the early 1900s. The scent symbolized for consumers the appeal of a location they might never visit, but that was “exotic” and shrouded in mystery. It would make them, the wearer, mysterious and exotic, desirable, out of reach. For researchers, the perfume symbolizes a location that is neither in the imagination of a French parfuemerier, nor in a busy Chinese city at night. It is both a location that is nowhere, and is in both places.

good claim: “Night in China” as enigmatic space

This image itself is enigmatic as well. The perfume bottle has a label on it with what appears to be a false Chinese symbol. The label is meant to be uninterpretable, mysterious. It is not meant to be understood by users, nor taken seriously. The French words say the name of the brand, Rosine, and the name of the scent. The dark colored perfume, coupled with the simplistic brass handles on either end are intended to mimic popular European depictions of China. The entire bottle, its simplicity, its vague label, its name are all intended to promote an enigmatic space of China.

the bottle, the label, and the scent created “enigmatic space of China”: the claim is appealing which calls for explanation/support, however.

A Chamber of Whispers — Echoing the Consequences of Cultural Exchange

Adam Geczy, in his article A Chamber of Whispers, offers a critique of orientalization in defense of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘China Though the Looking Glass’ exhibit. The Chamber of Whispers is the last section of the exhibit — juxtaposing Chinese artifacts from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries against the couture pieces they inspired. Gezcy wants the reader to reexamine the negative connotations of orientalization by pointing out the ways in which the East (China) was inspired by Western art. He points out cultural symbols such as the brise fan, which originated in Europe and co-opted into Chinese culture by way of printing cultural designs upon the object:

Picture1 Brise fan made in France c. 1830 – 1840

He introduces the term ‘transorientalism’ as “a more serviceable term that, while admitting of ethical aspects of cultural appropriation, also supports the undeniable circumstances of exchange, re-translation, and re-envisioning embedded in the Orientalist idea, and a dynamic that still today shows no signs of abating” (Gezcy 24). Gezcy aims to protect the integrity and freedom of artists that choose to create pieces inspired by Chinese culture by defending the experimentation that cultural exchange provides. However, he fails to acknowledge the power dynamics between the East and West, and the perpetual understanding of the East as ‘other’ or ‘stuck in the past’.

wonderful claim which calls for immediate support: how could one learn about “the power dynamics” through the fan object? 

Picture2Jar with Dragon. Early 15th Century. Picture3Evening Dress, fall/winter, 2005-6. This piece was inspired by the Jar with Dragon.

Gezcy is correct in saying that the East and West engaged in cultural exchange; the sheer volume of objects and concepts that were imported, exported, and intellectually  exchanged is worthy to note. However, Western interpretations of Eastern Art seems have more cultural longevity than the original Eastern art forms. This is to say that people value the ability of Western art to legitimize aspects of Chinese culture and make it accessible to the masses. Western art, in an attempt to appreciate aspects of Chinese culture, has misinterpreted cultural symbols and as a result taken them out of context. While Chinese artists have created works influences by Western artists, there remains an understanding of where the ideas originated from and the image of Western culture is not harmed in the process.

The West has historically viewed the East as an ‘other’; a foreign, amorphous location that can be used as an artist’s playground:  “Yet it is also worth remembering that, against all accusations of inauthenticity…dressing up furnished a means for expression that allowed one to do things that would have been difficult to justify in every day life” (Gezcy 27). It is this statement that unravels Gezcy’s argument, because he unabashedly describes the problematic lens through which Westerners view Chinese culture. Westerners did not have the freedom to experiment with their surroundings, and turned to Chinese culture as a means for exploration. When they had completed their exploratory phase, they created works of art that summarized their premature conclusions about Chinese culture. China has never had societal dominance in this manner. While they engaged in cultural exchange with the West, there was never a relegation of Chinese art to an inferior status.

In addition, there has not been a call from the East de-contextualize Western art from its Chinese origins in the support of academic and artistic freedom. Gezcy’s defense of the Chamber of Whispers exhibit is written under the assumption that people value Eastern and Western art equally. The consequence of using the term ‘transorientalism’ is that it purposefully ignores the inherent power imbalance involved in the exchange of Eastern and Western art.

your comments are critical and forceful. Just wish that you could use the art objects as visual evidence to support your claims