To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
China and Inner Asia
In Session: Word, Image, Studio, Water: Remembrance of Place in Premodern China
3: The Rebuilt and the Unbuilt: Publicizing a Private Studio in Song Literary Culture
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Wayne State University, United States
The studio, as an enclosed site specifically used for reading, writing, and art creation, enabled the scholar to cultivate oneself in private while being apart from political or even domestic interactions. However, a private space is, after all, never completely private. This paper examines the notion of porous privacy via the case of ruined studios in literary and visual representations of the Song dynasty (960–1279). Facing a broken-down studio caused by natural disasters, by war, or by the absence of its owner, the studio owner, or in most cases, the later generations, devoted themselves to the remembrance and reconstruction of this space. Some literati restored the original glory of the studio by rebuilding and even worshiping it, in the process of which they advertised the primarily private studio to a broader audience; others commemorated the studio through certain fragments (e.g., a painting, a plaque, or a studio name), leaving the remnant trace unbuilt. Both ways defined the memory of the studio but from two seemingly contradictory dimensions, since one targeted the public and the other cherished the studio in a more introspective mood. Yet, they in effect conceptualized the feature of the porousness of a private studio. The reconstruction of the studio, either in physical architecture or in the mind, transformed a personal experience into a well-defined shared memory. Accordingly, the revitalized studio became a stage for the display of the studio owner, projecting to others the persona that he and/or his followers desired to establish.