Calligraphy and Everyday Life among Late Qing Officials

28th Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Art

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Calligraphy by Weng Tonghe (1830-1904). Collection of Mr. Wan-go Weng

28th Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Art

Saturday, November 7, 2015
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
UCLA Fowler Museum, Lenart Auditorium

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Calligraphy and Everyday Life among Late Qing Officials

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, collector, and painter-calligrapher, in the late Qing dynasty. Professor Bai is also an accomplished calligrapher.


Parking on the UCLA campus is $12 a day. Enter UCLA from Sunset Blvd. at Westwood Plaza. Parking attendants will direct you to Lot 4. There is an elevator at the southeast end of Lot 4 and a stairwell at the northeast end, closest to the museum.

The lecture and museum admission are free and open to the public.
A light reception with refreshments will follow the talk.

Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Art

First presented in 1982 in celebration of his 80th birthday, the Sammy Yukuan Lee Lectures on Chinese Art and Archaeology honors the life and philanthropy of respected businessman, art collector, and Chinese art authority, Sammy Yukuan Lee. This series is presented annually by the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies with support from the Sammy Yukuan Lee Foundation, and in partnership with the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Sammy Yukuan Lee Foundation