China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: The sumptuous material world of the Manchu court constellated human, materials, and knowledge movements in and beyond the Qing empire. By purposefully producing and circulating discrete objects and images, the Manchu rulers engaged in both technical matters as well as pursued specific imperial agendas. In and outside of the court, a wide strata of people including elites, artisans, and religious leaders maneuvered different forms of media to communicate and negotiate with the rulers. By examining how and why the court and its interactors devoted interest and resources to these media, this interdisciplinary panel elucidates various ways in which objects and images facilitated the circulation and construction of knowledge. The papers demonstrate how the travels of materials and knowledge shaped the multi-ethnic and religious Qing empire. Wen-shing Chou explores the ways that courts of the Qing, Paṇchen, and Dalai Lamas used visual and material means to remap the rebirth lineages of Qianlong and his Gelukpa clerical allies, examining how this historical memory contributed to the creation of a new Buddhist geography and genealogy. Ellen Huang contextualizes the technical knowledge of Jingdezhen blue-and-white porcelain making within a broader textual and material history, arguing that this technique served to map a geography of things and memorialized routes of circulation demonstrative of a Qing worldliness. Focusing on jade production in Jiangnan, Yulian Wu examines how the Imperial Household Department’s production infrastructure facilitated cross regional transmission of practical knowledge, illuminating the Qing court’s novel way of redistributing skills as a reflection of empire building.
Paper Presenter: Wen-shing Chou – Hunter College, City University of New York
Paper Presenter: Ellen Huang – ArtCenter College of Design
Paper Presenter: Yulian Wu – Michigan State University