Even more than any interpretation of everyday ›reality‹ it is the contemplation of another culture that is subject to both the respective beholder's complex and comprehensive intellectual precondition. Mental images of another culture consist of transpositions and projections of mostly unconscious or unquestioned points of view and ways of perceiving of the external beholder's culture of origin onto differently conditioned circumstances and phenomena – furnished with meaning derived from a hardly perceivable cultural setting which in addition is possibly founded or legitimated in an incomprehensible way. The specific preconception structure is a fundamental cognitive handicap when contemplating other cultures while at the same time images of the other – regarded upon as disguised images of the self – dispose of a certain potential as means of (self-)knowledge.
Using the example of the most influential serial in the field of civic education in Germany – more precisely, those seven issues dealing with China exclusively (published 1961-2005) – this article is aimed at five core issues as raised by Intercultural Hermeneutics. The particular findings as displayed suggest in fact that even an adept beholder is likely to rather recognize her/his very own cultural subjectivity (respectively the one by the bearer of an intellectual image) than finding out about the other culture beyond its surface forms of appearance.