18 September 2013: Symposium 'Chinese Art and Material Culture in a Global Context'

Chinese Art and Material Culture in a Global Context: Objects of Study and Disciplinary Frameworks

  • The symposium will bring together scholars who engage with Chinese art and material culture from various angles, within Sinology, Social Science, Art History, (Comparative) History, the History of Collecting, and curatorial practice. Two presentations on the subject of Chinese art and material culture and on the disciplinary context of (Global) Art History will be followed by a roundtable discussion by museum curators and academics based in Taiwan, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands, combining case study-specific arguments with overarching claims pertaining to the fields in which participant scholars place the ‘Chinese object’. The discussion will address Chinese artifacts introduced by the participants, and propositions on the relationship between Chinese art & material culture and ‘the global’, such as:

  • Material culture can be understood as both ‘local’ in the specific combination of elements selected, and ‘global’ in the wider repertoire from which they are drawn.

  • The history of interactions, flows and encounters requires comparative knowledge of all partners in the exchange: mentalities, institutions, and individuals.

  • Art historians (of China) need to be historians of the object in context: social, religious, economic, political, and so forth.

  • In both historical terms and in the contemporary world, any analysis of art and material culture is dependent on an understanding of value that transcends the simple binary of economic and aesthetic values; attending to questions of physical materiality and of technology offer particularly productive points of entry to an expanded conception of valuation.

This symposium is organized by the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) and the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), and hosted by the National Museum of Ethnology, with generous support from the Hulsewé-Wazniewski Foundation for the advancement of education and research in the archeology, art, and material culture of China at Leiden University.

All are welcome! Please register at
 a.k.grasskamp@hum.leidenuniv.nl or anna.grasskamp@asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de


Wednesday 18 September 2013, from 3 to 6 pm, Steenstraat 1, Leiden

15:00-15:05 Welcome by Maghiel van Crevel (Sinology, Leiden University; secretary, Hulsewé-Wazniewski Foundation; director, LIAS)

15:05-16:10 PART ONE: Presentations
Chair:Menno Fitski (curator of East Asian Art, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

15:05-15:30 Shih Ching-fei (Art History, National Taiwan University): Chinese Art and Material Culture in a Global Context: Canton, the Qing Court and the Holy Roman Empire

Discussant: Anne Gerritsen (History, Warwick University; Kikkoman Chair for Asia-Europe Intercultural Dynamics, Leiden University)

15:30-15:55 Monica Juneja (Global Art History, Heidelberg University): Material Encounters:Can Peripatetic Objects Challenge the Disciplinary Frame of Art History?

Discussant: Kitty Zijlmans (Art History, Leiden University; director, LUCAS)

15:55-16:10 Discussion

16:10-16:25 Coffee Break

16:25-18:00 PART TWO: Round Table
Chair: Maghiel van Crevel

16:25-16:55 Brief Introductions of Selected Objects of Study

Svetlana Kharchenkova
(Social Science, University of Amsterdam) on Liu Bing, Over the Crowd, 2012, and the Direct Auctioning of New Artworks in China

Willemijn van Noord (Eastern Art, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery) on a Shang dynasty fang ding (rectangular caldron) and The taotie Motif in the Context of Global Material Culture

Paramita Paul (Sinology, Leiden University) on the Lantau Big Buddha built by Po Lin Chan monastery, completed in 1993, and Contexts of the Colossal

Wang Wenxin (Sinology, Leiden University) on Sitting beside Chrysanthemums and Holding a Pocket Watch from the series Twelve Beauties of Prince Yong by an unidentified artist from the imperial workshop and The Making of Self and Other in a Qing Court Painting

Eline van den Berg (Chinese Art and Archeology, Society of the Friends of Asian Art) on a sancai Tang dynasty horse and its transformation From Burial Figurine to Household ‘Art’

16:55-17:45 Round Table

Jeroen Duindam (Comparative History, Leiden University)

Anne Gerritsen (History, Warwick University; Kikkoman Chair for Asia-Europe Intercultural Dynamics, Leiden University)

Lennert Gesterkamp (Sinology, independent scholar)

Christiaan Jörg (former curator of Decorative Arts, Groningen)

Mark Meadow (History of Art and Architecture, University of California Santa Barbara)

Barend ter Haar (Sinology, University of Oxford)

Jan van Campen (curator of Asian Export Art, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Willem van Gulik (former chair of East Asian Art and Material Culture, Leiden University)

Thijs Weststeijn (Art History, University of Amsterdam)

17:45-18:00 Wrap-up

Anna Grasskamp (Art History, Leiden University; Asia and Europe in a Global Context, Heidelberg University)

Drinks for all in the café of The National Museum of Ethnology

19:00- Dinner for Speakers

Last Modified: 03-09-2013