The Western reinvention of China can be found in various discourses ranging from French Enlightenment philosophes, German political economists, to British writers through centuries. It covers all aspects of Chinese culture, and varies from zealous idealization to blatant demonization.
But do those divergent and even contradictory accounts offer an alternative to «Orientalism?» Or are they artifacts with inherent and even dangerous limitations? More fundamentally, does the cultural theory of Orientalism provide an adequate basis for cross-cultural studies? This study examines conflicting 18th- and 19th-century European presentations of China and the inherent consistency in them. It also critiques contending positions on major cultural theories and contributes distinct and dynamic perspectives in the field of cross-cultural studies.