The seventeenth century Chinese painter Chen Hongshou (1599-1652) is best known for his enigmatic paintings of personages from the distant past. Recent research reveals that these depictions reflected in part the artist's state of mind and the social conditions he endured as the Ming dynasty disintegrated around him. A close examination of his best known paintings opens a window onto a turbulent time as one artist confronts the challenges associated with dramatic dynastic upheaval.
The fabled Silk Road held vast treasures lying buried under the loess soil of the deserts of China and central Eurasia until intrepid travelers from many lands, risking unheard of dangers, uncovered wonders. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous international expeditions of archaeologists, art historians and adventurers found hidden cities, temples and caves holding manuscripts, sculptures, utensils of everyday life and wall paintings which told, to the delight of historians, of life in a time hundreds of years earlier. The competition between these groups which included British, Germans, French, Japanese and Russians was fierce. Today museums around the world hold the treasures they discovered.
Helen Anderson, independent scholar, intrepid traveler and former chairman of the Asian Arts Council will take us along the paths travelled by these men, outlining the treasures they found.
Tang art has incomparable vigor, realism and dignity; it is the art of a people thoroughly at home in a world they knew to be secure. Optimism, energy and a frank acceptance of reality inform their painting, architecture and decorative arts. Within the Tang Dynasty there was an unusual hundred year (665 to 766) “golden era” where poetry, painting and architecture flourished. It was overseen by the only empress regnant in Chinese history, We Zhao and her son, the Emperor Xuanzong. This is a story of exceptional men and women and equally exceptional art.
Scripps is fortunate to have a large teaching collection of artworks from Asia, including over 2500 Japanese prints, more than 150 Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese paintings, an extensive Asian textile collection, an East Asian cloisonné collection, and more than 100 Chinese bronze mirrors. These works are regularly shown in classes and used in student curated exhibitions on campus. An exhibition in September-October 2019 at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery will highlight some of the best examples, including 7th-8th century Tang Dynasty mirrors, 14th-16th century Chinese paintings, and 19th-20th c. Japanese cloisonné. For the AAC Lecture Series at SDMA Professor Bruce Coats will be surveying and commenting on the selections.