The Influence of the Republican Period on the Painting of Ming China

Colloquium: Center for Chinese Studies | October 4 | 4-6 p.m. | Heyns Faculty Club

 Craig Clunas, FBA, Professor of the History of Art, University of Oxford

 Patricia Berger, Professor Emerita, Chinese Art, UC Berkeley

 Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

The creation of a modern Chinese art in the first half of the twentieth century necessarily required the creation of its opposite - ‘traditional Chinese art’, that which by definition was not modern. The materials out of which traditional Chinese art, and in particular ‘traditional Chinese painting’ were constructed were many and various, including the actual art of the past, and the copious historical written record about painting and painters. From the early twentieth century onwards, new structures of collecting and display, as well as new technologies of publishing and reproduction, came together with a range of intellectual and theoretical positions, both indigenous and imported, to make possible a way of looking at the art of premodern China which has endured to the present day. At the same time, the development of art history as a discipline, both inside China and internationally, made the art of the past very much a part of current debate. This lecture will look at some of the complex processes whereby the art of the Ming period (1368-1644) came to stand as the apogee of this tradition, and how the selective use of Ming examples constructed an image of the Chinese past with an enduring global reach.