February 19 Tom Kelly

Friday, February 19, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Luminescent Surfaces: Inscribing a Ming Rhinoceros Horn Cup

Tom Kelly
Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department, University of Chicago

tom pic

This paper considers how the creation and reception of an object-inscription might lead to the construction of a political monument in late imperial China. I focus specifically on the case of an inscription for a rhinoceros horn vessel from the late Ming and the story of its re-mediation over the course of three centuries. The first section of the paper reconstructs approaches to rhinoceros horns among collectors from the sixteenth century, examining how the poetic animation of these luxury imports re-calibrated conceptions of the exotic and the antique. Against this backdrop, I ask what might have been at stake for Ming scholars in trying to transform a rhinoceros horn into a vessel with a classical genealogy through acts of naming and marking. The second section of the paper charts the circulation of the vessel and the re-mediation of its markings during the Qing, exploring the ways in which the transmission of the inscription in different formats provided later scholars with a means of working through anxieties of displacement and loss. In doing so, the paper weighs some of the latent desires embedded in object-inscriptions from the Ming against the reception of these texts by Qing antiquarians. At the same time, I use this case to reflect on the divergent values attributed to the act of inscription as a situated political performance and to the “thingness” of an inscription as a physical trace of the past.

Friday, February 19, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

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February 12 Christian de Pee

Friday, February 12, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

The City Organic: Writing the Commercial Streetscape in Eleventh-Century China

Christian de Pee
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Michigan

de Pee-Image

During the eleventh century, Chinese literati changed the geographic orientation of inherited literary genres and devised new literary genres in order to create a space in writing for the commercial cityscape. Within this newly created literary space, literati represented the commercial cityscape, not as an achievement of human artifice, but as an extension of nature, where traffic flows like water, money and goods circulate like the vital essences of the body, and trade flourishes like a well-tended garden. The efforts of eleventh-century literati to discern natural principles in urban traffic and in the urban economy aligns their writing of the city with other intellectual developments of the period, such as a widespread interest in natural observation, medical diagnostics, financial management, civil engineering, and criminal forensics. The writing and painting of the commercial city in eleventh-century China thus has significant parallels (and even direct connections) to the writing and painting of the industrial city in nineteenth-century Europe: the playful manipulation of boundaries between nature and artifice, the application of medical diagnostics to urban planning, an apprehensive fascination with the interchangeability of commoditized goods and labor, the anonymity of urban crowds and the related development of detective stories, and the foregrounding of the painter’s eye and the painter’s hand in the visual arts. Although the similarity between Song-dynasty cities and the metropolises of the nineteenth century should not be overstated, the commonalities do allow the disarticulation of certain “modernist” ways of seeing and thinking from linear narratives of Western modernity.

Friday, February 12, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

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

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Jan 29 Miriam Wattles

Friday, January 29, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 153

Defining Manga Anew in 1928: Ippei, a Book, and History

Miriam Wattles
Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture, UCSB

IppSen

It wasn’t until the explosion of mass media in the 1920s that the word “manga” began to be used for comics and cartoons in Japan. Reformulations of the past were integral to the redefinition of the word. Okamoto Ippei (1886-1948), hugely popular with the public and head of a newly formed manga circle, wove a new historical sensibility into his prescriptions for the future of manga in his book Shin manga no kakikata (How To Make New Manga, 1928). The larger genus he employed was “minshûga,” or “pictures of the people.” In proposing this term at this particular historical moment, Ippei was responding to deep underlying tensions between elite and popular culture, individualism and collectivism, and nationalism and cosmopolitanism. This talk counters present amnesia around Ippei and his definition of manga and gives a surprising history of public ownership of one particular copy of Shin manga no kakikata.

Friday, January 29, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 153
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

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January 15 Federico Marcon

Friday, January 15, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Money Talks: Monetary Disputes in Early Eighteenth-Century Japan

Federico Marcon 

Professor of Japanese History at Princeton University

koban

AT THE TURN OF THE eighteenth century, as the lavish splendor of the Genroku era waned into a decade of economic stagnation and social unrest, two scholars debated on the nature of money and its proper administration. The dispute revealed not only the extent of the monetary integration of Japanese society only after a century of Tokugawa rule, but also the sophistication of samurai’s understanding of financial dynamics. The story of the clash of the two views of what money is, the bullionism of Arai Hakuseki and the contractualism of Ogiwara Shigehide and Ogyū Sorai, bespeaks a turning point in the economic politics of early modern Japan—a turning point of transnational relevance, as in contemporaneous England economic thinkers were debating analogous issues. 

Friday, January 15, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Ben at benjamin2@uchicago.edu or Xi at xizh@uchicago.edu

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Winter 2016 Schedule

Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia is proud to present our schedule for Winter 2016.
All sessions unless otherwise noted will take place in the Cochrane-Woods Art Center (CWAC)

Fridays, 4:30-6:30
pm
Room 156

2015-04-15 19.48.03
By CC

January 15   Federico Marcon, Assistant Professor
East Asian Studies, Princeton University
TBD
(Co-coordinated with Trans-regional Workshop; This event is sponsored by CEAS Committee on Japanese Studies)
January 29   Miriam Wattles, Associate Professor
History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara
Rethinking Kiyochika
(Co-coordinated with APEA Workshop; This event is sponsored by CEAS Committee on Japanese Studies)
February 12   Christian de Pee, Associate Professor
History, University of Michigan
The City Organic: Writing the Commercial Streetscape in Eleventh-Century China
February 26   Thomas Kelly, Ph.D Candidate
East Asian Studies, University of Chicago
Luminescent Surfaces: Picturing a Ming Rhinoceros Horn Cup
March 11   Anne Feng, Ph.D Candidate
Art History, University of Chicago
Water, Ice, Lapis Lazuli: The Making of a Buddhist Paradise through the Sixteen Meditations

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December 4 Martin Powers

Friday, December 4, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152

How Did Artists Question the Authorities in Early Modern China and England?

Martin Powers
Professor, History of Art, University of Michigan

Zhou Chen street characters mother

Looking at cultural practice in Europe’s late, early modern period, Pierre Bourdieu saw a development in which “intellectual and artistic life…progressively freed itself from aristocratic and ecclesiastical tutelage”. It was only after the decline of aristocracy that artists acquired the agency to use their skills to question social practice, and so in 18th century England one begins to find politically-charged prints from the 1720’s onward. A comparable development occurred in China after the decline of “aristocratic and ecclesiastical tutelage” in Song times. It was then that artists, inspired by the guwen 古文movement, began to address social themes in their work. Afterwards one can find examples of subversive art in China from Song times at least through the end of the Ming. This lecture examines the pattern of development in both cases and finds that both Chinese and English artists adopted similar tropic strategies, and in a similar order, as artists acquired more and more independence from the rich and noble.

Friday, December 4, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

 

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November 20 Nancy P. Lin

Friday, November 20, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152

The Big Tail Elephant Working Group: Urban Insertion as Artistic Strategy

Nancy P. Lin
Ph.D. Student, Art History, University of Chicago

Lin Yilin, Safely Maneuvering across Lin He Road, 1995
Lin Yilin, Safely Maneuvering across Lin He Road, 1995

The Big Tail Elephant Working Group [大尾象工作组] (BTE), comprised of the artists Lin Yilin (b. 1964), Chen Shaoxiong (b. 1962), Liang Juhui (1959–2006), and later Xu Tan (b. 1957), emerged in Guangzhou in the early 1990s. As many artists began to move towards the burgeoning art scene in Beijing, BTE continued to stay in Guangzhou, choosing the city’s urban spaces as the subject, site, and raw material for their artwork. This paper examines the group’s strategies and positions in relation to the changing social, economic, and physical terrain of Guangzhou between 1991 and 1998. While most scholarship on urban site-oriented practice attributes the critical force of the work to its ability to disrupt the environment, I argue that BTE operated more subtly through methods of “urban insertion” into the existing spaces and flows of the city. Exploring these insertions, I demonstrate the ways in which BTE’s innovative practice shed light on the city’s urbanization process at the same time as it opened up new possibilities for contemporary art and its sites of exhibition in China in the 1990s.

Friday, November 20, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152
Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact xizh@uchicago.edu

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November 10 Zhao Shengliang

Special Talk:

Tuesday, November 10, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 153

This presentation will be held in Chinese.

表象与真实:敦煌壁画之原貌
Dunghuang Murals In the Present and the Past

Zhao Shengliang
Professor, Dunhuang Academy/Lanzhou University
Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 7.07.46 PM
Mogao Caves #263 (Right: Restored by Duan Wenjie)

敦煌石窟经历了千百年的历史,由于自然或人为的破坏,现存壁画与创建的当初有很大的不同,由于光照、空气变化等方面的影响,使颜料产生变色、褪色等状况。因此,在认识和研究敦煌艺术时,如果不了解这些历史变化,而把变化之后的现状作为当时的艺术特点,必然会产生对艺术史现象的错误认识。本次讲演作者将从敦煌壁画制作过程和颜料变色特点等方面来分析敦煌壁画现状与原貌的差距,并追溯七十多年来研究者们对敦煌壁画原貌的探讨,提出了认识和研究敦煌壁画原貌的思路。
Dunhuang Grottoes have been experienced enormously physical changes due to the affection of natural and human factors over the past thousand years. This talk will trace these changes as shown in Dunghuang murals of the past and the present by detailing the producing process, uses of pigments, and the discoloration over time, which sheds light on the understanding of original features of Dunhuang murals.

Tuesday, November 10, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 153

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

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November 6 Xin Wu

Friday, November 6, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152

This event is sponsored by CEAS Committee on Chinese Studies

Serial Landscapes: Visuality and Physicality in Place-making

Xin Wu

Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, College of William and Mary

View of Yuelu Mountain

How did the gaze enact, and act upon, place-making? This talk explores the significance of landscape in Confucian pedagogy and ritual, through an approach to visuality and spatiality. One of the four grand academies (shuyuan) of Song dynasty, the Marchmount Academy was closely related to activities of the founder of neo-Confucianism Zhu Xi (1130‒1200) who promoted an epistemology of renewed attention to nature. Connections between scholarly activities and academy landscape revealed links between philosophy, and the construction of cultural spaces initiated in landscape poetry and rooted in regional environments. While the intertwinement of the academy’s history with a classical landscape theme—Eight Views of Xiao-xiang—and the existent Buddhist territories invites further scrutiny. All these contributed to the formation of a new visuality of collective identity based on a decentered spatiality embodied within serial landscapes.

Friday November 6, 4:30-6:30pm, CWAC 152

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

 

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October 23 Pao-Chen Tang

Friday October 23, 10:30-12:30 am, CWAC 156 

Co-hosted with Mass Culture Workshop

Of Snow and Flow: Actions and Special Effects in The Grandmaster

Pao-Chen Tang

Ph.D. Student, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago

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Through analyzing selected sequences from Wong Kar-wai’s 2013 The Grandmaster in which characters interact with the ubiquitous falling snow created by particle systems, I argue that the energetics of the film’s special effects engages with traditions of Chinese visual culture, medicine, martial arts cinema, and the western avant-garde notion of vibratory modernism. Based on this at once culturally specific and transcultural energetics, I hope to offer a way of conceptualizing cinema in relation to digital compositing in which special effects and profilmic actions intertwine.

Friday October 23, 10:30-12:30 am, CWAC 156 

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

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