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18.15 Uhr

Agency and Gendered Expression

Reading Ma Yuan's Attending Banquet by Lantern Light & Composing Poetry on a Spring Outing

Prof. Hui-shu Lee, UCLA, Center for Chinese Studies / Heinz Götze Visiting Professor at Heidelberg University

In the monumental landscapes of the Five Dynasties Period and Northern Song (tenth to twelfth centuries), figures, regardless of scale, can act as surrogates for the painter and often posit a significant viewpoint as what has been called the eye of the painting. Building upon this insight, it will be shown that the minutely exquisite figures in Ma Yuan’s seminal "Attending Banquet by Lantern Lights" not only provide critical visual cues for decoding the content of the painting but also subvert its conventional readings. Through a close analysis of the words and images of Ma Yuan’s meticulous construct in time and space, the complexities of intertwined court politics and art-making are unveiled, and the gendered expression of female agency compellingly manifested through the vehicle of the Three Excellences: poetry, painting, and calligraphy.

Hui-shu Lee is Professor of Art History at UCLA. She received her doctorate degree from Yale University in 1994 after first studying at National Taiwan University and working in the National Palace Museum. Her field of specialization is Chinese painting and visual culture in the pre-modern era, with a particular focus on gender issues. She also works extensively on representations of place, cultural mapping, and gardens. Among her publications are "Exquisite Moments: West Lake & Southern Song Art" (New York: China Institute, 2001) and "Empresses, Art, and Agency in Song Dynasty China" (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010). She is currently completing a book titled "Picturing West Lake: the Poetics and Representation of An Iconic Place".


CATS – Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies, Gebäude 4010

CATS Auditorium R.010.01.05

Voßstraße 2

69115 Heidelberg


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