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Empresses, Art and Agency

Jan. 10

A comparison of historical depictions of women in Chinese art with representations of women by modern and contemporary Chinese visual artists. Topics will include the imperial patronage of the Song dynasty (960-1279) and the role of court women in the production of art, courtesan culture of Ming dynasty Nanjing, and seventeenth-century individualist painter Bada Shanren.

Scholar Bio: Hui-Shu Lee received her doctorate degree in Chinese art history from Yale University in 1994 after first studying at National Taiwan University and working in the National Palace Museum. Her field of specialization is Chinese painting and visual culture, with a particular focus at this time on imperial patronage of the Song dynasty (960-1279) and the role of court women in the production of art. Dr. Lee's research to date has included courtesan culture of Ming dynasty Nanjing, the well-known 17th century individualist painter Bada Shanren, and a number of 20th century artists. She has received a number of awards and fellowships, including a Getty postdoctoral grant. Among her publications are Exquisite Moments: West Lake & Southern Song Art (New York: China Institute, 2001) and Empresses, Art, and Agency in Song Dynasty China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010).

Additional reading:
Hui-Shu Lee, Empresses, Art and Agency in Song Dynasty China.
Marsha Weidner, ed., Flowering in the Shadows: Women in the History of Chinese and Japanese Painting.
Francesca Dal Lago, "Crossed Legs in 1930s Shanghai: How 'Modern' the Modern Woman?" East Asian History 19 (June 2000), 103-44.
Britta Erickson, "The Rise of a Feminist Spirit in Contemporary Chinese Art," Art Asia Pacific, 31 (2001), 65-71.
Sasha Su-Ling Welland, "What Women Will Have Been: Reassessing Feminist Cultural Production in China: A Review Essay," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 31:4 (Summer 2006), 941-966.
Wu Hung, Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century.