China and Inner Asia
Ideas about “authenticity” are culturally constructed and historically contingent. What one deems to be genuine or fake, authentic or insincere follows cultural, societal and legal norms agreed upon by particular communities in specific contexts. This panel problematizes stereotypes of China as a “copycat culture" by exploring how attitudes towards authenticity in China were discussed, changed over time and place, and varied between communities and object types. Four major areas are addressed, covering a long time-span from the Neolithic period to the present: Archaeology and Material Culture; Art and Art History; Texts and Manuscripts; and Heritage Management and Preservation. Dr Anke Hein (Oxford) explores how Gansu locals today harness the cultural capital of the past through replication of Neolithic pottery, blurring boundaries between souvenirs and forgeries. Dr Birgitta Augustin (Berlin) discusses personal authenticity as expressed in Ni Zan’s (14th c.) poeyr and painting. Mr Yan Weitian (Kansas) shows how epigraphic sources informed 18th c. debates over the relationship between historicity and authenticity in calligraphy. Dr Patrycja Pendrakowska (Warsaw) explores Chinese views of Western architecture theme parks in southern China, as a vehicle for contrasting cultural expectations of authenticity. The session is chaired by Stephen Little (LACMA) and Bill Chapman (Hawai'i), senior figures in the museum industry and academia, who will guide dialogue. The panel features pre-circulating papers, and unlike traditional formats, speakers will only briefly summarize their main points, with the majority of the session dedicated to discussion. The papers are work in progress, for a planned journal special issue.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Anke Hein – University of Oxford
Virtual Paper Presenter: Birgitta Augustin – Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Virtual Paper Presenter: Weitian Yan – University of Kansas
Virtual Paper Presenter: Patrycja Pendrakowska – Humboldt Universität zu Berlin