A urethane rubber door, wonky and uneven, leaned against the opus reticulatum is the access to the historical space of the Celestial Empire: the scene impressed illustrates the Chinese imperial court life, on the background the traditional palatine architecture and a mountainous landscape. The material softens the form, it disorients perception, it breaks up the functional asset in favor of a reality that erases the aesthetic categories, the perfection, the canon. The antimanierist style remains, the vision of the artist is to decompose the imitation (the cast) and frees the Chinese aesthetic making it a metaphor of the insatiable and uncertain.
Keywords: Roman Empire and Chinese Empire
What ties ancient Rome with the Chinese empire? Chinese silk that reaches Rome is worth as much as gold and it is crafted and resold to the oriental markets, even though the Parthians were very careful in maintaining their commercial role in order to prevent China and Rome to have direct contacts. The value of silk conquers Rome to the point that the emperor Tiberius asks himself if it could be profitable to have economic control on the market’s demand. The Historia Augusta mentions a delegation of ambassadors of the kushana empire that travel to Rome: the friendship and political support of Rome, possibly against the reaffirmation of the Parthian empire, emerges from the coinage in which the personification of Rome and the title kaisar alludes to that of the roman “Cesar”. In Hou Han Shu, the renowned annals of the Han Dinasty, Da qin, which means “great China” is the term that indicates the Roman empire and Rome. In the imaginary of Han’s court, “Da qin (the Roman Empire) produces plenty of gold, silver, and precious jewels, luminous jade, ‘bright moon’ pearls, fighting cocks, rhinoceros horn, coral, yellow amber, opaque glass, whitish chalcedony, red cinnabar, green gemstones, decorated gold-threaded and multi-coloured embroideries, woven gold-threaded net, delicate polychrome silks painted with gold, and asbestos cloth”. This thin material is impalpabile and separates the structuring of two profoundly different empires. On the skin of the Roman Empire the ius (right, duty) and lex (law) are imprinted so deeply to affect the genesis of capitalism. On the other hand, around the great Chinese rivers, Laozi and Confucius (in today’s China, faded figures forgotten inside an old drawer) they teach that man is nature, leaving in heritage a social doctrine that looks to restraint political power.
McLaughlin R., Rome and the Distant East. Trade Routes to the Ancient Lands of Arabia, India and China, New York 2010.