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2005 Lecture - event information

Recarving China's Past: 'Wu Family Shrines' and the Story of the Stones

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Saturday, November 5, 2005
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Lenart Auditorium
Fowler Museum of Cultural History
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The history of the Wu family shrines begins with a conspicuous absence. Before the Song dynasty (960-1279) there is no textual or visual record of any stone carving or cemetery structures belonging to a Wu family in Shandong. In the Song, rubbings and textual descriptions became the basis for an assemblage that first came to be known as the Wu family shrines. The assemblage was comprised primarily of four stele and one gate-pillar inscriptions, and, secondly, a few pictorial stones. This assemblage only became associated with actual stones after Huang Yi's claimed rediscovery of the cemetery stones in 1786. Since that rediscovery, however, scholarship has, with few exceptions, relied on rubbings and received editions of Song texts to reinforce the recognized assemblage as the Wu family shrines. This talk looks at the history of the stones themselves and their architecture to show that the story they tell may not match the traditional assemblage.

Cary Y. Liu
is Curator of Asian Art at the Princeton University Art Museum. A specialist in Chinese architectural history and art history, he has M.Arch and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University. Recent exhibitions for which he has been curator include: Recarving China's Past: Art, Archaeology, and Architecture of the Wu Family Shrines (2005), Providing for the Afterlife: "Brilliant Artifacts" for Shandong (2005), Seeing Double: Copies and Copying in the Arts of China" (2001), and The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection (1999). Among his publications are contributions to Art of the Sung and Yuan: Ritual, Ethnicity, and Style in Painting (1999), and the journals Hong Kong University Museum Journal, Oriental Art, Orientations, and T'oung Pao. His most recently published essay, "Chinese Architectural Aesthetics: Patterns of Living and Being between Past and Present," can be found in House, Home, Family: Living and Being Chinese (2005, Knapp and Lo, eds.).

The Sammy Yukuan Lee Lectures on Chinese Art and Archaeology are sponsored by the UCLA Asia Institute and funded by the Lee Family Foundation. The series began in 1982 to commemorate the 80th birthday of Sammy Yukuan Lee, a noted collector and authority on Chinese art, particularly lacquers, textiles, and ceramics. Mr. Lee is now in his 103rd year and remains an active art collector. The lectures have been held annually in recent years and this year’s event is the 18th in the series. The lecture is cosponsored by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History and the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies.

IMAGE ABOVE: "Sleeve Dancer," from the Western Han dynasty (206 bce - 8 ce), earthenware with pigments, approximately 41 cm tall, from a private collection. Photo courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum.

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Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA Fowler Museum

The Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture Series features a yearly lecture and seminar presented by leading scholars on Chinese art and archaeology.
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