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Pre-Modern China Lecture Series

09/16/2019 @ 4:10 pm - 6:00 pm

Title: Thematic Transmission in the Tradition of Chinese Painting

Cheng-hua Wang
Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

Lineage and the stylistic transmission of Chinese painting were issues that had received much scholarly attention in the field of Chinese painting by the late 1990s. Along with the paradigm shift from the studies of scroll paintings to those of caves and tombs and the  prevalence of synchronic approaches in art-historical research, the continuation and transformation of traditions, the diachronic dimension of Chinese painting, has fallen out of the focus in the field. Even in the time when historical transmission featured prominently in the studies of later Chinese painting—from the tenth century onward, the discussion on the threads of linkage was limited to some formal features associated with the works of progenitors of the traditions and, in most cases, even further concentrated on the element of brushwork. Even though there is no denying that brushwork was considered a benchmark for branding artists and formulating lineages in pre-modern Chinese artistic discourse, the linked series based on brushwork was but one mode of historical thinking in China. This talk endeavors to reflect upon the different modes of historical transmission in later Chinese painting and highlight how theme worked in it by focusing on the painting theme of Qingming shanghe (Up the River during Qingming).


4:10 pm - 6:00 pm
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