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Abstract

This article examines the practice of moxie or imitation in art in Chinese aesthetics, compares it with the Platonic notion of mimesis, and explicates its original meaning. I then trace its development from traditional painting to the late Qing export paintings in which traditional Chinese aesthetics was combined with Western perspectives to satisfy Western tastes. The discussion extends to the contemporary development of moxie in China by considering the case of Dafen Cun, an art village in Shenzhen that is famous for its copycat art practices. It explores how Dafen Cun has become a major exporter of copies of Western and Chinese paintings and how its artists achieve techniques comparable to the traditional methods of moxie while losing its original spirit. The final section reviews how global consumerism has exerted influences on moxie, which can only be justifiably approached in respective cultural and historical contexts.

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