Special Lectures on Chinese Art – 28 & 29 Oct

Professor Jing Lyu | Fudan University, Shanghai

Lecture 1: Retrieving the Glory of Lacquerware in Ancient China
28 Oct 2019 16:30-17:30 | Seminar Room A, Fire Station, Edinburgh College of Art
Lecture 2: Between Innovation and Tradition: Xiaojiaochang New Year Prints in Shanghai
29 Oct 2019 11:10-13:00 | Seminar Room C, Fire Station, Edinburgh College of Art

Jing Lyu (吕静) is a Professor in the Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology at Fudan University, Shanghai. She obtained her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in history at Fudan University and completed a doctorate in literature at Tokyo University. Before joining Fudan University in 2005, she served as a researcher at the Institute of History of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute of Oriental Culture of Tokyo University, and lecturer at the University of Sacred Heart. The research interest of Professor Lyu includes the ancient history of China, the history and society of East Asia, and cultural relics. She focuses on the study of oracle bones, bronzes, bamboo slips, lacquerware and intangible cultural heritage. Her books include Research of Mengshi (盟誓) in Spring and Autumn Period: A Reconstruction of Society based on Religious Cults (2007) and The Collection of Oracle Bones at Fudan University (2019), and translation of The Society and Country of Ancient China (2018). She also manages more than ten research projects, including the art project of National Social Science Fund, The Investigation and Research on Ancient Chinese Lacquerware collected in Japan, Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science Project, Shanghai Pujiang Talent Project, Project of National Cultural Relics Bureau, and the international project funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Professor Lyu is the awardee of research excellent of Shanghai Philosophy and Social Science (2011).

Lecture 1: Retrieving the Glory of Lacquerware in Ancient China
28 Oct 2019 16:30-17:30 | Seminar Room A, Fire Station, Edinburgh College of Art

China is the only original country of lacquer throughout the world, and lacquerware, which is made of lacquer, is an invention of ancient China in prehistoric times. By using lacquer as glue or enhancer, this kind of artefact was more multifunctional and endurable, especially in an ancient society where resources were limited and tools were rude. The production and use of lacquerware not only show the wisdom of Chinese ancestors, but also make great contributions to world civilisation. The technique of producing lacquerware also has a significant influence in neighbouring countries, such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Cambodia.

At least 8,000 years ago, the residents living along the Lower Yangtze River had been varnishing artefacts with lacquer. After the end of the Bronze Age and before the mass production of porcelain,
lacquerware reached the first peak in the history of China. During the first peak, from the Warring
States Period to the Han Dynasty, the amount and types of lacquerwares exploded. They appeared in nearly every aspect of life, including catering and ceremonial vessels, entertainment equipment, furniture, architecture, religious utensils, military affairs, etc. Various techniques were applied on
lacquerwares, like varnishing, painting, needle painting, metal embroidering, metal foil decorating and inlay. Both nobles and civilians were able to use lacquerware in their daily life due to its availability in quantity, so that lacquerware helped to enhance living quality in early China.

Later in the Tang Dynasty, the technique of lacquerware was highly advanced. As Tang culture spread out into Korea and Japan, lacquerware also permeated the society, politics, religion and art in these countries, which marked the second peak of Chinese lacquerware. The third peak was located from the Song to the Qing Dynasty when the techniques of lacquerware, such as carving, gold and silver inlay, and mother-of-pearl inlay, advanced to the pinnacle and brought incomparable aesthetic experience. This period symbols the optimal level of Chinese lacquerware. The lecture will first give an overview of the development of lacquerware in China. It will also discuss how the production of lacquerware contributed to the cross-cultural and artistic interactions between countries in East Asia.

Lecture 2: Between Innovation and Tradition: Xiaojiaochang New Year Prints in Shanghai
29 Oct 2019 11:10-13:00 | Seminar Room C, Fire Station, Edinburgh College of Art

Chinese New Year Prints originated from the door gods with the meaning of lustrum on time change (New Year). After the Song Dynasty, with the development of block printing, New Year Prints were in mass production and were increasingly accessible to the masses. The customs were further flourished. New Year Prints from different regions had different genres and styles, mainly four popular styles were recognised. Derived from Taohuawu New Year Prints in Suzhou, Xiaojiaochang New Year Prints in Shanghai is a carrier of Shanghai School’s artistic expression. Not only delivering realistic themes, diversified forms, westernized materials and modernized technology, such type of prints had a strong aftereffect, which laid the foundation for the emergence of novel advertising pictures and popular calendar posters (yuefenpai) of modern Shanghai.

Please note the lectures will be given in Chinese with spontaneous translation.

All Welcome!