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The Presence of Antiquity in Modern East Asian Visual Culture

Sat, June 25, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 104

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


Our panel aims to stride toward a comprehensive understanding of the presence of traditional Chinese objects, artistic practices, and scholarship in the concentric spheres of modern Chinese, East Asian, and global culture. The dichotomization of modernity and tradition in the history of early twentieth-century China is eroding. Scholars have demonstrated that entrepreneurs in Shanghai combined Western and Chinese elements in cultural products possessing confident hybridity. Historians of collecting have shown that a scholar’s investigation of metal and stone artifacts—jinshi (Chinese) and kinseki (Japanese)—could complement his activity in the international art market. Investigating a connoisseur and painter, and inquiring into the afterlives of jinshi practice in the media, our panel brings elite and commercial visual culture into one conversation. Kure relies on newly discovered manuscripts to show that Nagao Uzan developed connoisseurship distinctive of modern times, when the Japanese enjoyed novel access to artworks in China. Netting compares the nationalist significance of grave goods in 1930s Shanghai pictorials, to the deracination of these items in American magazines. Examining the equation of jinshi taste with national identity in graphic design, Zhou addresses a largely unexplored topic of broad import. Yiu considers how Lui Shou-kwan based his ink paintings on the whole Chinese painting tradition, rather than on single elements that seemed to answer twentieth-century needs. The papers highlight the political meanings of artists, designers, and connoisseurs drawing inspiration from the past. Their range suggests that individuals selected objects and practices that were particularly meaningful in his/her place and social milieu.

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