China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: In the study of Qing art, Beijing has often been described as the stronghold of conservative artistic trends or the stage of spectacular courtly fantasies, contrasted with the innovations and developments of the South. Certainly the court’s immense resources defined much of what was created or came through the capital, but the city’s status as an artistic community and network in its own right is not well understood. Recent scholarship reveals that the artistic landscape of Qing Beijing was less homogeneous than previously thought and was shaped by the interaction and competition of different social forces, in which the court was but one agent. To draw a different map of Qing Beijing, this panel looks outside received narratives of the capital as a cultural backwater. Focusing on the individuals, patronage relations, and artistic communities through which Beijing’s painters and calligraphers flourished, it charts networks that extend across boundaries of class, rank, and ethnicity, between the Imperial and Southern Cities, and linking the palace and the empire as a whole. Encompassing a scene in which Manchus, Han, Mongols, and foreigners shared and connected, and in which archaism, innovation, and the utterly novel coexisted, Qing Beijing invites consideration of historiographic biases and Jiangnan-centric narratives of the Qing, in the process expanding understandings of what may be considered “Chinese” art.
Paper Presenter: Nixi Cura – The University of Glasgow
Paper Presenter: Ke Xu – Peking University
Paper Presenter: Henning von Mirbach – University of California, Santa Barbara
Paper Presenter: Joseph Scheier-Dolberg – The Metropolitan Museum of Art