WHAT’S THE USE OF ART? — Asian Visual and Material Culture in Context, edited by Jan Mrazek and Morgan Pitelka. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, 314 pp., with illustrations, $58 (cloth)

The question is rhetorical, that is, uttered for effect, to make a statement rather than to obtain an answer. It was first heard in 2001 during a discussion of the Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies when Jan Mrazek suggested bringing together Asia experts to produce papers on the relationship between the function and the objectification of Asian art.

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