News and Notes

ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA--NORTH ALABAMA SOCIETY

banner image: Moundville, Alabama

3.4.15

AIA TALK! Clocks at the Chinese Court 9 --April 7:30 PM

Dr. Catherine Pagani, University of Alabama, to give two talks on China on April 9.

"Art, Politics, and Patrimony in Twentieth-Century China"

12:45 in Wilson Hall 168 (Art History Lecture Hall)

The fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 ended two thousand years of imperial rule and ushered in a period of political, economic, and cultural instability. The resulting changes had a profound effect on Chinese art. In the first decades of the century, European influence on painting was strong; by mid-century, however, this influence shifted to the Russian socialist-realist style advocated by the Communist government. The political turmoil also affected the vast collection of art that was built by and had been the property of China’s imperial family. These objects took on increasing cultural importance long into the late twentieth century.

"Self-Sounding Bells, Sing-songs, and Glittering Gewgaws: Elaborate Clocks at the Chinese Court"
7:30 in Wilson Hall Theatre


The Chinese imperial fascination with elaborate European clocks and watches began in the early seventeenth century. By the mid-eighteenth century, the collection numbered into the thousands and included pieces made in Europe and China. While their mechanical technology was Western (introduced to the Chinese by Jesuit missionaries), their cases were a mixture of Chinese, Chinese-inspired, and European elements resulting in objects that were hybrids of East and West. These elaborate clocks not only offer a means of understanding Chinese imperial taste and how the emperor used art as a show of power, but also tell us much concerning the meeting of cultures in the Qing dynasty.

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