At another gallery, I also tried to photograph a Chinese painting I
really liked. Suddenly, a guy popped out of the back room and shook a
finger. No pictures here, lady.
Say what? Why?
explained that I was admiring an actual original painting. By
photographing it, I would be violating the artist’s intellectual
property rights. Really? I thought. So, what about the intellectual
property rights of the artists whose work — mostly Western masterpieces —
is copied over and over again and hangs all over the gallery, which sells mostly copies of
Western masterpieces? He was kidding, right?
Nope, not kidding. No photo, lady.
dissatisfied as I was with the merchant’s explanation, I had to
acknowledge that the vast majority of paintings produced before the 20th
century are considered public domain and can be freely copied and sold.
Moreover, there’s a huge market appetite for imitation art
throughout the world. U.S. retailers such as Pier 1 are known to carry
oil paintings from China. Add to this all those hotels, motels and
furnished Florida condominiums that buy imitations of paintings — many
imported from China — by the gross.
There is also a factor that goes back to the roots of Chinese art.
masterpiece is an honorable craft in countries such as China and Japan.
Working in traditional calligraphy and pottery, budding artists are
actually encouraged to quietly observe the master first, and then copy
the masterpiece to learn the fundamentals.
In that light, a
Chinese art student might not feel even mildly larcenous as he makes a
meticulous copy of a Van Gogh – at least at first. But, hired to
mass-produce a hundred copies of the same Van Gogh, followed by three
dozen Mona Lisas, the conscientious artist might eventually suffer
enough second thoughts to rethink his or her career.
I’m not suggesting at all, however, that China lacks original art or original ideas.
its thousands of years of history, China has conceived several museums’
worth of unique art forms ranging from ink wash paintings to
The story of post-war Japan provides a telling
parallel to present-day China. Japan after the war got busy making
knockoff toys and gadgets. Decades passed before Japan’s economy drew
close to the West. As this happened, Japanese design and industry caught
up also in innovation, originality and quality. Similarly, China is now
going through what might be called its imitation phase, as it waits for
its pre-Cultural Revolution traditions — in art, design and
entrepreneurial pizzazz — to come fully back to life.
the successful ecosystems created both in Da Fen Village and the Pearl
River Delta — with all the merchants, distributors, developers and
manufacturers in one place — are a model that Western high-tech
companies are emulating today in hopes of gaining efficiency and bigger
The following slideshow illustrates street corners of
Da Fen Oil Painting Village, and the basic operations of their
Chinese art mass-produced
Paintings mass-produced and sold at Da Fen Village are not limited to Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Monet. They include copies of traditional Chinese paintings as well.
First of all - glad to know that this article is being used as a metaphor. And it is appropriate in a sense that that way no names need to be taken. However, on the other hand the danger of such a metaphor is that unless its boundaries are not defined by the one who is creating the metaphor, it either becomes unconstrained or contextless and hence losing its power as an appropriate metaphor. This is is my view.
From a scientific community point of view - think about it - by nature either we replicate or mutate and both have been and will be necessary for the evolution. This is how the nature has grown and this is how human race has grown. It is again the human beings who has added economics and the virtual boundaries in this natural context. But at the bottom of it the process is same. Sometimes it is visually demonstrated in one part of the human world in one context while next it is shown in different part of the human world in entirely different context. But no matter process remains same - replicate and mutate and evolve. In that context, in that part of the human world it is just appropriate at that point of time. One wants to induce a change in this process based on human added elements such as economics and virtual boundaries - then you better be mother nature else you are just interfering with some natural process (which has already been more and enough interfered.)
Junko, I do not believe you have to explain yourself. Copying results of somebody else IS in fact steeling. Because you are leapfrogging the author as you are bypassing the effort and the expense needed to create. In this industry those are decades of effort and galactic-size expenses. China is well known for disrespect to IP rights, latest effort not withstanding. And if you steel someone's IP benefiting on their greedy decisions it does not create an excuse and does not make it less of a steeling.
That's what I said, just get along with it. This will never change anytime soon. And for human in the land call USA or any other land, if they care for fellow human living there, you must do something very serious to fix it or else do not complaining or make excuses if you get more problems and just live with it. Your smart and wise decision is all needed. Thanks.
When the international corp. moneybags go to China they know full well that their ideas will be taken, their methods will be copied and yet they choose to go anyway. They dump their engineers at home and use cheaper once in China looking to make more and more money.
Well the locals take advantage by learning and copying whatever they can, in a way compensating themselves for lover pay. Can you blame them?
Let me clarify a few things here. I enjoyed visiting Da Fen Village and I do admire the great work done by those copyists there. I have a great respect for them and their work.
But the point for my writing this story was to use Da Fen as a metaphor.
When the Da Fen village some day becomes famous as an artist colony where genuinely original art is being developed (which I hear the Shenzhen government had been hoping for), these artists, I am sure, will find richer rewards.
I have nothing against Da Fen. Rather, I was impressed with the way all the merchants and artists came together, and developed such an efficient ecosystem around their business -- much the same way the Pearl River Delta region has flourished.
How about every people in earth just stop complaining and just get along and live a peaceful life. Not every countries in earth should every time come out with original idea or invention to become a counrty or great country. If this is taken as a world rule and must be obey I'm sure not many country will became a developed nation not even european countries, not even USA or Japan, S.Korea etc.
We must knew its not newly happen today but has occur long time ago. But we as human must not forgot we are one species, we are not be neighbors or live with alien or something in this earth, its our own species. That why everybody should be thankful when we are given or blessed with genius, inventor, smart human not matter its White, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Arad, Black or etc. That mean no conflicted.
Here, in this tread we are not talking about more deeper matter like religon, culture, ideology or so on wheres problem its more complicated to solve to unite all human as one earth inhabitant. But just business, human creation, or technology metter. But to solve it as I state above we must think as one,and it can't be solve if people complicated their thingking. Thanks.
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