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Visual Archaeology- Recovering Lost Meanings in Chinese Decorative Arts


Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the pictures you see on Chinese scrolls, snuff bottles, furniture, architecture, and porcelain vases? Are they just pretty designs conjured from the imagination of the artist or is there much more to it?

The calamities that the Chinese nation suffered in recent history have resulted in a discontinuity in the tradition of Chinese visual culture. Much of the meaning behind the traditional imaginary has been lost to the average viewer in the contemporary world, and even too many art historians, both in and outside China.

Having spent more than a decade travelling across three continents and going through hundreds of thousands of books and art works in libraries and museums in China, Britain, France Germany, Holland, Japan, and the US, the visual culture detective Dr Yibin Ni will reveal to you and his series of lectures the meanings hidden behind many eye-catching designs and story scenes, with which we will gain a deeper understanding of how the traditional Chinese people lived, what their dreams were, and the attitudes towards love, family and sex.

Venue: Shanghai Art Museum 4th Floor


Image above: blue-and-white porcelain bowl, Jiajing period (1521 – 67), Ming dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei


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