OCT. 28, TAO Jin

Friday, October 28, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

The City God’s New Clothes: A Brief Study on the Articulated Living Image

城隍的新衣:軟架身神像初探

Tao Jin 陶金, 

Architect, Tsinghua University Architecture Design Institute, Beijing

建築師,清華大學建築設計研究院

 *the lecture will be delivered in Chinese

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“The articulated living image”, a type of anthropomorphic icon with movable joints, can be widely found in all types of vernacular shrines throughout China. However, scholars have often neglected this important body of materials that could be traced back as far as the early medieval period (5-6th century). The articulated living images now housed in the famous City God Temple of Shanghai are the most-frequently-visited ones in China today. This study began with the robe-changing ritual for the icons in 2016, and then reports on an extended interview with the craftsmen who were responsible for creating the robes and icons since the 1990s. Through an investigation of the seven features of the articulated living image:human-scale, movable joints, actual attire, human hair, simulated organs, nine orifices, and buried animals, I argue that a deeper understanding of the cultural and ritual significance of such humanoid statues will allow us to gain a new perspective on the concept of human body and the relationships between soul and body, human and deity in ancient China. By employing anthropological research methods, I hope to reconstruct and retrace four major scenarios of the articulated living image: processing, feasting, holding official audiences, and dwelling, which define the spatial prototypes of Chinese anthropomorphic sacred architecture. I will also discuss the cultural relationship amongst a wide variety of cult practices related to the articulated statues, such as shamanism, magic substitute of sacrifice, tomb figurines, and Chinese medicine.

軟架身神像,約起源於南北朝時期,乃是一種以消息連接,周身關節活絡之仿人體神像,其在中國各處地方神祠之中均有供奉。然而,如此一種具有重要文化意義的材料,卻一直未能進入學界之視野。坐落在上海豫園南側的城隍廟是中國香火最為鼎盛的廟宇之一,廟內的一組軟架身神像重新製作於1990年代。本研究即由2016年端陽節、重陽節上海縣城隍老爺的兩次“換袍”儀式記錄開始,繼而深入蘇州太湖之濱,走訪了當年負責神像製作的木雕匠人以及為城隍神像長期製作袍服的繡莊。通過考察軟架身神像的七項特征(等身、關節、衣冠、毛髮、裝臟、九竅、安靈)背後的文化與儀式,我們將打開一個探索中國古代身體觀、魂魄觀、鬼神觀的集約化新視野。施用人類學的途徑,我們構建出以軟身像為中心的四類擬人儀式場景:【遊】、【宴】、【朝】、【寢】;這四類場景的外延固化,則形成了中國本土宗教建築中“擬人部分”的原型。此外,附體薩滿、法術芻靈、墓葬俑人、中醫銅人等與軟架身神像密切相關的文化概念及宗教實踐也將會在本研究中有相應的涉及。

Friday, October 28, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Yunfei Shao(yunfeishao@uchicago.edu) or Zhiyan Yang (zhiyan@uchicago.edu)

Oct. 7, Chelsea Foxwell

Friday, October 7, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Birds from Abroad and Men at Home: Copying and Classification in Late 18th-Century Japan

Chelsea Foxwell, 

Assistant Professor of Art History and the College, University of Chicago

foxwell-keisai-image-for-vmpea

This paper examines attitudes toward images, observation, and the social order in late-eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Japan by focusing on the paintings and woodblock-printed books of Kuwagata Keisai 鍬形蕙斎 and his better-known contemporary, Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾 北斎.

 

Keisai, who slightly predated Hokusai, had a notable tendency to depict things in the aggregate, in a way that showed greater concern with the ordering and manipulation of existing forms than with the production of what we would call original designs. Keisai’s lavish color-printed book Birds from Abroad (Kaihaku raikin zui, 1790-1) shows exotic specimens copied from a set of paintings of foreign birds in Nagasaki. His monumental handscroll set Artisans of Edo (Edo shokunin zukushi ekotoba, c. 1803) transcribes the customs and professions of the contemporary Japanese city. In both works, copying, a form of image acquisition, and classification, a means of making sense of the world, shape and comment on social identities.

 

This worldview was related to the rapidly growing market for visual information in the form of illustrated woodblock-printed books throughout East Asia. Keisai and Hokusai’s works, I argue, did not only reflect the new wave of visual information; they commented on it in a way that was subtle enough to avoid causing offense. Finally, the question remains: in the lively early modern world of woodblock-print reproduction, did “artistic originality” matter, and how?

Friday, October 7, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Yunfei Shao(yunfeishao@uchicago.edu) or Zhiyan Yang (zhiyan@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

May 6 Henry Smith

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

Making Meiji Red: Materiality vs Meaning in the Changing Colors of 19th-century Ukiyo-e

Henry Smith
Professor Emeritus of Japanese History, EALC, Columbia University

Two decades ago, I postulated a “Blue Revolution” in ukiyo-e woodblock prints that began in 1829 with a sudden increase in the use of imported Prussian blue, a versatile pigment that quickly dominated landscape prints in particular. I further argued that this bright new blue came to express a new awareness of the world across blue oceans under blue skies into which the Japanese were increasingly drawn. I hypothesized finally that a similar process would be repeated four decades later in the 1860s with the import of a new generation of imported colorants, but now the principal hues were purple and red. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, I proposed, “Red became the modal color of another era with other priorities: where late-Edo blue was the color of expanding space, Meiji red was to become the color of accelerated time.” This talk is a report on an ongoing research project in which I have been engaged for two years in cooperation with the Department of Scientific Research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to identify these new colorants and trace their history. The results force a thorough reconception of the materiality of Meiji ukiyo-e colorants and their artistic possibilities, and in turn a new look at the diverse and changing meanings embodied in “Meiji Red.”

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

April 29 Douglas Gabriel

Friday, April 29, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Revolution from 360 Ft. Below: On the Pyongyang Metro and the Problem of Ground

Douglas Gabriel
Ph.D. Student, Northwestern University

Among the deepest subway systems in the world, the Pyongyang Metro is marked by a radical disjunction with the space of the North Korean capital above it. Rather than referencing street names or landmarks above ground, each of the 17 stations on the Metro’s two lines is named after and elaborately designed according to a revolutionary theme, ranging from Camaraderie to Prosperity. Further, the Metro stations contain no maps of Pyongyang, and, in turn, city maps do not indicate the locations of the Metro stations. Frequently, the Pyongyang Metro is characterized as, on the one hand, a conspicuous form of propagandistic brainwashing, and, on the other hand, the result of a militaristic effort to conceal the locations of underground sites that could potentially serve as emergency bomb shelters. In contrast, this paper draws on visual evidence as well as previously unutilized primary sources in order to demonstrate that the bifurcation of the Metro and the city space stems from a highly singular understanding of the relationship between material reality and revolutionary ideas. I argue that the architectural design, lighting, sound, and mosaic murals of the Metro stations form a complex system of aesthetic effects aimed at suspending the North Korean revolutionary project within a dialectic of ground and transcendence.

Friday, April 29, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
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 8 Sandy Lin

Friday, April 8, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

The Hōōden (Phoenix Pavilion) Screens from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition: An Object Biography

Sandy Lin
Ph.D. Student, Art History, University of Chicago

In Summer 2015, a group of three screens were discovered in a storage facility of the Chicago Park District and later acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago. Photographs of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and contemporary sources suggest that the screens were painted by Hashimoto Gahō for the Hōōden (Phoenix Pavilion), a building commissioned by the Japanese government and erected in Jackson Park for the fair. Their discovery makes an exciting addition to the four ranma (transom) panels (now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago) as the only surviving architectural elements from the Hōōden, which burned down in 1946. Nevertheless, a close examination of the screens has revealed some material discrepancies and historical incongruities. In an effort to clarify the confusion, this presentation outlines the object biography of the screens, following their footsteps through their (1) material birth in 1892, (2) career in the 1893 World’s Fair, (3) neglect after the conclusion of the fair, (4) second career from 1936 to 1942 in a Japanese teahouse that was converted from the Hōōden, and (5) provisional death in 1943, when they were removed from the teahouse and sheltered in storage. Throughout the different stages in their life, the screens developed numerous relationships with various communities of people and objects, accumulating a biography that exemplifies their anachronic ability to embody multiple temporalities.

Friday, April 8, 4:30 to 6:30pm, 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