Calligraphy and Everyday Life among Late Qing Officials

Qianshen Bai, Boston University, Zhejiang University

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Utilizing diaries, letters, and other collections of informal jottings, this lecture describes and analyzes calligraphy in the everyday life of late Qing government officials. It deals with a number of issues, including the daily practice of calligraphy, calligraphies as gifts, fans and couplets as major calligraphic formats, the ways of maximizing the efficiency of calligraphic production to cope with an increasing demand for calligraphy caused by population growth, the taboo on selling calligraphy, and the relation between an economy of gifting and the acquisition of calligraphy. By these means, this lecture seeks to deepen our understanding of the cultural life of the Chinese elite toward the end of imperial China.

Professor Qianshen Bai graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Peking University and a Ph.D. from Yale University. From 1997 to 2015 he taught at Boston University and became a professor of art history at Zhejiang University very recently. He is the author of Fu Shan’s World: The Transformation of Chinese Calligraphy in the Seventeenth Century. He received a fellowship from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2004 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011. He is now conducting a research on Wu Dacheng, a government official, scholar,

Sponsors: Center for Chinese Studies, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sammy Yukuan Lee Foundation

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Duration: 00:58:55

Published: Saturday, November 07, 2015