Capital Redefined: Beijing as the Center of Time and Space and Its Imagined Other


Talk by Professor Ya-Chen Ma, National Tsing Hua University


Tuesday, May 27, 2014
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Bunche Hall 11377



Embedded in the intensive visual interactions between the court and local societies in the eighteenth century, Beijing could not be projected as a political center without marginalizing the provinces. Measuring more than 8 feet in width and almost 8 feet in height, Xu Yang’s (c. 1712-a. 1779) Springtime in the Capital was commissioned by the Qianlong emperor to redefine the capital as the center of time and space in the Qing empire. This presentation examines how Beijing was constructed pictorially as a magnificent imperial capital through reference to its imagined Other, Suzhou, and the provinces.

Ya-Chen Ma received her PhD from Stanford University in 2007. She teaches in the Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan and is a visiting scholar at Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University during this academic year. Her research interests include urban, commercial and visual culture in late imperial China, as well as Qing court art. She has published articles on Giuseppe Castiglione’s One Hundred Horses, Ming images of warfare, eighteenth-century Suzhou prints, Xu Yang’s Burgeoning Life in a Resplendent Age, and The Jade Terrace History of Calligraphy and Painting. She is currently working on two book projects The Manchu Cultural Hegemony: Commemorative Images of War and Martial Prowess of the Qing Empire and Suzhou and Beijing Redefined: Prized Commerce and Visual Politics in Eighteenth-Century China.