Innovation/Adaptation: 5,000 Years of Making Art in China

Lectures in the Innovation/Adaptation: 5,000 Years of Making Art in China series investigated objects in action, as agents of social coherence and of cultural change.  During the first semester, scholars spoke on Neolithic jade, early bronze casting, Tang Dynasty gold and silver, and Song studio painting practice.  Each of these art forms have come to characterize material culture in China, and each is now undergoing fundamental changes in understanding. 

During the spring semester we celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year, with a talk on the decorative arts, textiles, and popular prints that were made for traditional festivals and that in display and use transcended divisions of class, education, and taste, submerging these distinctions in the shared aspiration for good fortune.   Complementing this lecture, History of Art students mounted their historical exhibition of Chinese New Year’s prints and decorations – colorful traditional and modern works on paper.  Popular culture also was the focus of the next lecture, which explored the agency of material culture in shaping (as well as manifesting and reflecting) rapid changes in social values and structures during the Ming period.  Our series concluded with the problematic of contemporary art produced in China and produced by Chinese artists around the world.

Spring Semester Lectures:

Jan Stuart
Keeper of Asia, The British Museum
"Timely Images: Chinese Art and Festival Display"
February 9
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

Hao Sheng
Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
"Fresh Ink: Ten Takes on Chinese Tradition"
April 9
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

Craig Clunas
Professor of the History of Art, University of Oxford
"Looking at Looking at Chinese Painting"
April 18
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

Fall Semester Lectures:

Robert Bagley
“The Painted Pottery of Gansu Province: Prehistoric Art in Comparative Perspective”
September 15
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

Jenny So
“Scholars, Antiquity, and Jades of 12th-17th Century”
September 29
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

François Louis
“The Belitung Shipwreck: Medieval Chinese Treasures and Modern Culture Politics”
October 13
5:30-7:00 PM
List 110

Poster for Fall Semester Lectures