May 20 Lu Pengliang

Friday, May 20, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

The Two-Thousand-Year Journey of the Goosefoot Lamp (Yanzudeng): Exoticism, Antiquarianism and Visual Redesign

Lu Pengliang
Henry A. Kissinger Curatorial Fellow, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Goosefoot Lamp, Western Han dynasty (206BC – 9AD), Bronze, H. 35cm, Excavated in 1992 from Zibo, Shandong Province, Collection of the Zibo Museum

The goosefoot lamp (yanzudeng), a specific type of bronze lighting instrument, appeared in the late Warring States period and enjoyed intermittent interests from the third century BC to the nineteenth century. Following the Han dynasty (206BC-220AD), this type of lamp did not gain popularity again until the eleventh century, when Song-dynasty scholars and collectors re-discovered the form and treated examples as an important antique. In the following centuries, Chinese literati praised the form of the goosefoot lamp, enriched its cultural significance, and created new artwork based upon it. Instead of focusing on one time period and one medium, this study aims to explore the ever-changing meanings of the goosefoot lamp throughout the imperial Chinese history. Relying on recent archaeological discoveries, historical texts, and cross-media comparison, I aim to answer the following questions: Why were lamps cast in the shape of goosefeet, this being a very unusual design in the Chinese bronzes of the Qin and Han period? Why did lamps of this kind become collectable antiques from the Song period onward? And how did Qing-dynasty antiquarians and artists use this specific type of lamp to create new art forms?

Friday, May 20, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
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