Dec. 1, Yifan Zou

Friday, December 1,  4:30 – 6:30 pm, CWAC 156

Traditions Reinterpreted: Text and Image in Wu Zhen’s Eight Views of Jiahe (1344)

Yifan Zou

Department of Art History, University of Chicago

Wu Zhen 吳鎮 (1280-1354), Eight Views of Jiahe 嘉禾八景 , 1344,  ink on paper handscroll, 37.5 x 566 cm.

This paper explores the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) painter Wu Zhen’s 吳鎮 (1280-1354) depiction of his hometown in Eight Views of Jiahe 嘉禾八景 (1344), a 37.5 x 566 cm paper handscroll with ink renderings of eight scenes and accompanying text. Despite several previous excursions into this scroll, I propose still another trip back to the Jiahe. Not only does the “hypnotic effect” of the “eight views” topic encourage a periodic retelling, but due to their different focuses, most previous studies have not examined the work’s text and images as a coherent whole. This paper will explore how different traditions—the tradition of the Eight Views, and the traditional relationship between map and text in Chinese gazetteers, especially Song dynasty tujing 圖經 (cartographic classics)—were reinterpreted in Wu Zhen’s Eight Views of Jiahe. The questions that can be raised from an exploration of this work are broader than might be expected. Could it help us discover how Wu Zhen—a painter who lived most of his life in obscurity—made his way around the territory? In what way did he translate knowledge from tujing to the Jiahe handscroll to make it an appealing fundraising tool for local site? Where can we pin this work on the spectrum from maps to landscape paintings? Finally, how might this work lead us to approach the question of professionalism in the realm of cartography before European cartographic techniques were introduced to China? While it is impossible to resolve these questions, this paper will attempt to contribute to them.

 

Friday, December 1,  4:30 – 6:30 pm, CWAC 156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Nancy P. Lin (nancyplin@uchicago.edu)

WEDS. Nov. 16, Zhenru Zhou

Wednesday, November 15,  5:00 – 7:00 pm, CWAC 156

A Visual Study of the Front Panel of a Tang Dynasty Buddhist Shrine

Zhenru Zhou

Department of Art History, University of Chicago

Front panel of a Tang dynasty Buddhist shrine. Photo courtesy of ​Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.

This paper is a contextual and visual study of the front panel of a Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) Buddhist shrine housed in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (fig.1). I will first discuss the possible provenance and dating of this panel by comparing it with a group of “little dragon-and-tiger pagodas” (xiao longhu ta 小龙虎塔). Demonstrating that the architecture to which this panel was originally attached would have belonged to a type of small-sized sculpted pagodas in Henan and Shandong provinces dated back to the first half of the 8th century, I will further argue against the common idea that this type is an abbreviated and inferior version of the “dragon-and-tiger pagoda” type or the brick multi-eave pagoda type. Based on their unique formal characteristics, e.g. the twin-pagoda format, the multi-eave and slender profile, the single niche, the Pure Land imagery, the inscribed sutras and votive texts, I will argue that these pagodas were meant to be the miniaturized representation of the grandiose architecture of “seven-leveled stūpa” (qiji futu 七级浮屠), and that their media specificity may reflect a shifting conception of Buddhist monument during the High-Tang period in central China.

 

Wednesday, November 15,  5:00 – 7:00 pm, CWAC 156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Nancy P. Lin (nancyplin@uchicago.edu)

Oct 27, LI Jian’an

Friday, October 27,  4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC 156

从山林到海洋——福建古代陶瓷与海上丝绸之路

From the Mountain Forests to the Sea: Fujian Ancient Ceramics and the Maritime Silk Road

栗建安 LI Jian’an 

福建博物院文物考古研究所, 所长  Director, Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, Fujian Museum

*Note: This talk will be delivered in Chinese

中国东南沿海的福建在半个多世纪以来的考古工作中,发现了自商代以降尤其是历史时期的众多古窑址,出土的唐宋元明清各个朝代的各类陶瓷器,与海上丝绸之路沿线上的沉船、港市遗址所遗存的大量福建陶瓷可相互映证,因此成为海上丝绸之路的重要历史见证、研究的珍贵实物资料,也证实了福建陶瓷在早期贸易全球化进程中的重要历史地位。

Friday, October 27,  4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC 156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Nancy P. Lin (nancyplin@uchicago.edu)

Oct 13, GU Zheng

Friday, October 13,  4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC 156

Between Journalism and Propaganda: The Assassination of Song Jiaoren in Minglibao

GU Zheng  顾铮

Professor and Vice-Director of the Research Center for Visual Culture, School of Journalism, Fudan University
Visiting Scholar, Harvard-Yenching Institute

*Note: This talk will be delivered in Chinese

本文尝试检视作为民国初年革命党人主要喉舌的《民立报》对于武昌起义以及之后的重大新闻事件暗杀宋教仁案的视觉处理,探讨他们如何认识照片、尤其是肖像照片在新闻报导与政治宣传中的作用与使用方式。报人与革命党人的身份的重合,使得他们对于照片的使用达到了某种空前的水准,也令新闻与宣传的边界受到挑战,这在“刺宋案”中体现得尤为明显。

This event is sponsored by the Committee on Chinese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies with generous support from a United States Department of Education National Resource Center Title VI Grant.

Friday, October 13,  4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC 156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Nancy P. Lin (nancyplin@uchicago.edu)

May 27 Naixi Feng

Friday, May 27, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Stone Drums en route: Text, Thing and the Historical Narrative of Beijing in the mid-seventeenth Century

Naixi Feng
Ph.D. Student, East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department, University of Chicago

In 1403, Beiping was elevated to the capital of the Ming Empire and designated as “Bei-jing.” Later on, Beijing experienced a transformation from a military-oriented political center to a culturally significant place, representable and appreciable as a literary milieu. How was the cultural image of Beijing gradually built up in the ending years of the Ming (1368-1644) through literary sketches of urban life? I would like to use the largest book project on Beijing from the Ming dynasty, A Sketch of Sites and Objects in the Imperial Capital (帝京景物略, 1635) as the central material. Focusing on the first essay “the Stone Drums at the Imperial Academy,” this presentation will explore the role of ancient ritual objects in the creation of a legitimate and historically discursive past of Beijing in the final years of the Ming dynasty. I will pursue the following questions: In what ways did these ritual objects endow this previous capital of three non-Chinese regimes (Liao, Jin, Yuan) with an intelligible, legitimate and monumental past? What’s the power of those illegible and mythical characters inscribed on the stone surface? And how did the ritual objects balance the cultural statuses of Beijing in the whole country before and after the Yongle emperor relocated the capital to Beijing in 1403?

Friday, May 27, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

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
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

May 16 Chen Chao-Jung

Special Talk:

Monday, May 16, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC157

This presentation will be held in Chinese.

精⾦金良墨—谈全形拓的沿⾰革与技法
Going 3D the Chinese Way: Full-form Rubbings of Bronze Vessels in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

CHEN Chao-Jung 陳昭容
Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan 中央研究院歷史語言研究所

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Full-form rubbings first appeared in China in the mid 19th century. It is a special reproduction method for recording decorations and shapes of bronze vessels that combines elements of sketching, drawing, rubbing, and paper-cutting in order to produce three-dimensional representations of bronzes on two-dimensional media. The method demands considerable skill and the process is laborious and time-consuming. Artisans routinely produced full-form rubbings in the form of painting scrolls for the literati clientele since the mid 19th century. Many survived in the rubbing collections formed by Late Qing and Early Republican Era scholars. With the rise of modern photography, the tradition of full-form rubbings has been gradually replaced by the faster and more accessible reproduction technology. It is a dying art form carried on by a very small number of artisans today.

Professor Chen’s talk will focus on the history and development of full-form rubbings, including major artisans and their work, the new art form of combining full-form rubbings with traditional literati studio paintings, and the major full-form rubbing collections and their host institutes. She will also introduce briefly the techniques of full-form rubbing.

青銅器形體及紋飾的描寫,早期都以線條繪製為主。全形拓是十九世紀中葉興起的一種特別技藝,結合素描、繪畫、傳拓、剪紙,在平面的拓紙上傳達立體的青銅器形體與花紋。自攝影技術發達之後,需要高超技巧、慢工細作的青銅器全形拓,因傳承不易,成了希罕而珍貴的藝術品。本次演講將介紹宋代金石學興起及主要圖錄、全形拓的發展歷史,每個時期主要的拓工及作品、全形拓與繪畫結合成為廣受歡迎的博古畫、主要全形拓收藏單位,也將談談簡單全形拓技法。

Monday, May 16, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC157
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

April 15 Kristina Kleutghen

Friday, April 15, 4 to 6pm, CWAC156

Optical Devices, Art, and Visuality in China

Kristina Kleutghen
Assistant Professor, Art History, Washington University in St. Louis

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When European optical devices were first introduced into early modern East Asia, these devices affected not only viewing experiences and ideas about vision, but also the production of art. In contrast to the well-established effects on Japanese art, the Chinese case has barely been explored, not the least reason being that the science of optics did not develop significantly there prior to the mid-nineteenth century. Yet from the seventeenth century onward, Qing domestic production and use of optical devices resulted in significant relationships with art at the imperial, elite, and popular levels. The devices and the viewing experiences that they mediated created varying levels of foreign intervention into Chinese art, vision, and visuality. However, the consistent but diverse methods of Sinification of all these elements and the reliance on domestic products rather than imports offers new insights into how Qing art engaged the West without being limited to either the court or the capital. Through an art-historical case study of several different optical devices and their related works of art that are all linked through one particular type of magnifying lens, this talk examines how the production and consumption of these new objects and images varied with place, format, audience, and social status. 

Friday, April 15, 4:00 to 6:00pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

April 1 Dongshan Zhang

Friday, April 1, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Making Images of Dharma

Dongshan Zhang
Ph.D. Student, Art History, University of Chicago

Fig. 1铁山刻经 Sutra Engraving On Mount Tie, Shandong, by Seng'an Daoyi.

To deal with the coming of the Final Dharma, or mofa, people initiated different types of projects around the Northern dynasty (439 – 589). The Buddhist images and stone engravings in the Xiangtangshan caves, Yunju temple, and in the mountains in central Shandong area are representatives. A few of the stone engravings found on the boulders and slopes of the mountains in Shandong are made with characters of unusually large size. This essay reconsiders the nature of the Northern dynasty Buddhist stone engravings in Shandong, and suggests that the preservation of images of dharma in the Final Dharma period was the true aim of the Shandong large-character engravings.

Friday, April 1, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

March 11 Anne Feng

Friday, March 11, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Water, Ice, Lapis Lazuli: The Making of a Buddhist Paradise through the Sixteen Meditations in Tang China 

Anne Feng
Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, University of Chicago

This paper provides new insights into the relationship between Buddhist meditation and images in medieval China by looking at 7th to 8th century illustrations of the Sixteen Meditations in Dunhuang caves. I demonstrate how these paintings provided new possibilities for depicting moments of metamorphosis pictorially. Drawing upon recent scholarship on Buddhist ‘visualization’ in East Asia, I will trace how imagery of the Sixteen Meditations was introduced and appropriated at Dunhuang and address the perplexing iconography of these paintings. Working against previous studies that treat the Sixteen Meditations as a linear step-by-step sequence, in which the meditator focuses on a static visual object in each meditation, I argue that the visual phenomena described in meditation manuals were constantly in flux. This emphasis on moments of metamorphosis is frequently captured by illustrations of the meditation on water, which is an important threshold moment for the meditator to envision the Western Pure Land. Reading contemporary mediation guides and tales of rebirth, I will show how the iconography of the Sixteen Meditations could be creatively stretched and condensed, and how these intricate manipulations allow us to understand how Pure Land transformation tableaux were understood as dream flight destinations in the Tang dynasty.

Friday, March 11, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu