This article considers the emotional status of grave goods in medieval China. Its purpose is twofold. First, the author investigates the conceptual structures available for interpreting the emotional processes involved in medieval burials. He argues that it is possible, and indeed productive, to read grave goods as traces of emotional operations and, in so doing, to articulate a dimension of the embodied processes that structured and motivated wider developments in the social and cultural history of China. Second, the author demonstrates how sensory-based analyses of grave goods can elucidate intermediating processes among the conceptualization of emotion in philosophical texts, the representation of emotion in the literary and visual arts, and the actual experience of emotion in premodern China. Using the recently discovered cemetery of the Northern Song Lü family as a case study, he articulates the emotional function of the aesthetic appreciation that occurred when selecting objects for burial. In explaining the relationship between the sensorial affect of the grave goods and the family's commitment to the abstract ideal of sincerity, the author uses the concept of the emotive object to chart common ground for histories of thought and the arts in China.

You do not currently have access to this content.