Lectures will be held at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE at 6.00 p.m., or with welcome drinks in advance, at 5.45 p.m. for 6.15 p.m., unless otherwise noted*.

Dates for Asian Art in London 2019 are 31st October to 9th November.

Monday 4th November
*The Bonhams/OCS Asia Week lecture at Bonhams*
101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR
Drinks: 5:30 pm for 6:00 p.m. lecture. No booking required.
Dr. Johannes Wieninger from the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna
Collecting Ming Ware: Ming Porcelain in Austrian Collections

This lecture will deal with the history of collecting Ming porcelain during the Habsburg era, from the 16th to the early 19th century. Inventory books from Ambras Castle near Innsbruck (Tyrol), end of 16th century, provide us with detailed information on the presence of contemporary Chinese porcelain and the way it was used. Some of these porcelains found their way to the imperial palaces in Vienna and later on into public museums. In the case of early porcelain cabinets of the late 17th century, some blue-and-white porcelain pieces from the end of the Ming period were reused. The large “Orientalisch-keramische Ausstellung“ (Oriental ceramic exhibition) with more than 2000 exhibits, organized by the Oriental Museum in 1884, showed the rich heritage of Asian ceramics in Austrian aristocratic collections.

Johannes Wieninger studied European art history at the University of Vienna (PhD 1980). He joined the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna in 1982 and was curator for Asian art from 1986 until 2019. The focus of his work (exhibitions and university lectures) is on intercultural relations between Asia and Europe. Major exhibitions were Japonisme in Vienna (1990 Vienna, 1994/95 Tokyo) and Global:lab – Asia and Europe 1500-1700 (2009 Vienna).

Tuesday 12th November
5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks
The OCS Asia Week lecture sponsored by Sotheby’s
Dr. Anna Wu
Chinese Wallpaper Global Histories and Material Culture

Dr. Anna Wu was awarded her PhD in 2019 by the Royal College of Art in London as part of the V&A/RCA History of Design Programme, for which she was supported by an AHRC doctoral award. Her research interests include Chinese export art and the global influence of Chinese design, particularly the influence of Chinese export wallpaper. Prior to embarking on her PhD, Dr. Wu worked as Assistant Curator for the Chinese collections at the Victoria and Albert museum where she curated displays for the Ceramics Galleries and the China gallery as well as temporary displays, including Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn and The Silent Traveller: Chiang Yee in Britain, 1933-1955 in 2012. Anna holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (M.Phil. Chinese studies) and the University of St Andrews (MA Joint Hons. English Literature and Philosophy). She is currently pursuing her research interests in America where she is now based with her young family.

Her research focuses on Chinese wallpaper of the type developed for western export markets from the late seventeenth century onwards. Despite the relatively small numbers in which they were exported, Chinese wallpapers exerted a significant influence on Western decorative traditions. Chinese wallpapers found popularity in Europe and North America throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries and there continues to be a growing global market for both antique and reproduction Chinese wallpapers throughout the world today, including in China itself.

The V&A museum holds an internationally significant collection of wallpapers and it was during the course of her work at the museum as Assistant Curator for the Chinese collections that she first became interested in Chinese export wallpapers. She was intrigued by the longevity of their unique aesthetic appeal and their fascinating hybrid qualities. Made by Chinese craftsmen, ostensibly for European markets, they reflect multiple cultural traditions and influences and provide unique insight into the mechanisms of global cultural exchange from the early modern period to the present day.

In her lecture Dr. Wu will share some of her doctoral research, which examines the social and cultural history of Chinese wallpapers in a global context. Using case studies spanning the eighteenth to twenty-first century, she will present a comparative investigation of their function and uses in Great Britain, North America and China.

Tuesday 10th December
5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Dr. Laurie Margot Ross
Visualizing the Silk Road: Integrating Commerce and Aesthetics in Colonial Java

Chinese traders were among the earliest foreigners to visit Java—an important island of Silk Road trade in present-day Indonesia. As far back as the Song Dynasty, Chinese traders brought in silk, pottery, and coins, returning home with spices and exotics. Indians and Arabs followed, with strong footing in the textile trade, and Europeans competing for dominance of the region. Each culture left its mark. Britain’s tenure in Java under Lieutenant-General Thomas Stamford Raffles, though brief (1811-1816), launched Euro-American interest in ethnographic collecting for subsequent generations.

Dutch control of Java lasted nearly 300 years, reaping considerably more of Java’s riches than its aromatics. Like their Chinese, Indian, and Arab predecessors, many displaced Dutch settlers married local women and raised families there. No wonder ‘syncretism’ and ‘Java’ are synonymous to anthropologists. How, then, to define the visual culture of the region? Art historians often privilege Indian aesthetics, pointing to the massive Hindu and Buddhist shrines erected in central Java—Loro Jonggrang and Borobudur, respectively. Less often considered are that the ceramics and silk from China, or miniature Qurans and talismans from the Hadhramaut—discovered on shipwrecks and excavated burial sites— contained magic properties that were implicit in their size. This paper examines how Javanese artists intuited, adapted, and transformed such disparate motifs as mandalas, serpents, Hindu kings, Sufi prophets, and those seeking to control them, into a distinctively glocal aesthetic.

Dr. Laurie Margot Ross is the Director of the research and curatorial firm, Glocal Matters in New York, which assists museums and other institutions in the development, documentation, and curation of their trans-regional art and visual culture collections. She earned her PhD in South and Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Ross has lectured extensively throughout the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and Indonesia. Among her recent projects was to curate an exhibition of the mask collection of Benedict Anderson (Imagined Communities) which he bequeathed to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (New York).

Dr. Ross is the author of The Encoded Cirebon Mask: Materiality, Flow, and Meaning along Java’s Islamic Northwest Coast (Brill, 2016), which was funded by the Social Science Research Council and KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (Leiden). From epigraphic evidence, Indonesian, Dutch, and American archives, and oral interviews, she demonstrates how masks and their use evolved over the centuries in Indonesia: from a popular entertainment, to a dance form incorporating Hindu and Buddhist concepts of devotion and detachment, to what it is today–an elegant translation of mystical Islam.

Tuesday 14th January, 2020
5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Sarah Piram, Iran Heritage Foundation Curator at the V & A Museum, London
Building a Museum for Iran: Cultural reform and modernisation at the time of Reza Shah  

Major cultural transformations occurred in Iran during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1925-1941). In 1928, the Iranian government appointed the French architect André Godard as the Director of the Iranian Archaeological Service (edāre-ye atiqāt-e kol). Godard became a lead figure in the study and valorisation of Iranian heritage in the 20th century. He designed and directed the National Museum in Tehran which inaugurated in 1937. The modernisation of Iran under Reza Shah is reflected in this Museum, through the building itself and the collections.

Sarah Piram is the Iran Heritage Foundation Curator for the Iranian collections at the V&A.  She studied history of art and archaeology at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and is now completing her PhD at Paris Nanterre University and the Louvre Museum, where she worked from 2015 to 2018.  Her research is based on the history of Iranian collections and heritage, as well as the architectural creation in 20th-century Iran. She published an article on the history of Iranian museums in Les Cahiers de l’École du Louvre, “S’approprier un modèle français en Iran ? L’architecte André Godard et la conception des musées iraniens” (2017).

Tuesday 11th  February, 2020
5:45 for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks
The annual Sonia Lightfoot Memorial Paintings Lecture sponsored by John Lightfoot
Dr. Malcolm McNeill, Chinese Painting Specialist, Christie’s London
Tales of Eccentrics and Exemplars: Text image relationships in Chan Figure Painting

This talk examines the relationship between image and text in paintings of figural subjects from thirteenth and fourteenth century Chinese Chan Buddhism (Chan is better known through its Japanese successor, Zen). In Song and Yuan China, monastic and secular artists produced a significant body of paintings depicting the Chan pantheon’s eccentrics and exemplars. These paintings were often inscribed by senior Chan clerics, who gifted the inscribed works to prominent disciples. These disciples included numerous monks who had travelled from Japan to study at the feet of Chinese masters. The majority of Chan figure paintings existing today survive because of this practice of collecting. In Japan, Chan figure paintings have come to be venerated as the predecessors to later Japanese Zen painting. This talk is concerned with their original Chinese context.

In his lecture Dr. McNeill will argue that these inscribed paintings combined pictorial and lexical content to retell important narratives. These visual narratives were adapted from prototypes in Chan hagiographies: collected tales of exemplars from the Chan lineage, and of eccentrics from the lineage’s periphery. Paintings of Chan figures and the inscriptions upon them communicated religious teachings to their viewers. They mediated the viewer’s relationship to the Chan pantheon. Moreover, they underscored the authority of the living members of the Chan lineage who had inscribed the paintings. This talk analyses the network of connections between painters, inscribers, subjects and viewers of Chan figure paintings.  In doing so, it addresses an under researched dimension of thirteenth and fourteenth century Chinese visual culture.

Malcolm McNeill is a Chinese Painting Specialist based at Christie’s, London, sourcing consignments for both Christie’s European and Hong Kong auctions. He holds a PhD and MA in Art History from SOAS, and a BA in Chinese studies from Cambridge. He was formerly an Assistant Curator in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, a Research Assistant at the British Museum, and a translator and tour guide at the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

Tuesday 10th March, 2020
Annual Woolf Jade Lecture
5:45 pm for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by the Woolf Charitable Trust
Robert Tang, Private Collector of the published Chinese Jades from the Cissy and Robert Tang Collection
In Pursuit of Jade: My Personal Journey

Tuesday 7th April
5:45 pm for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Peter Ting and Ying Jian
Blanc de Chine – working and making in Dehua

Currently at the V&A there is an exhibition about Blanc de Chine

Tuesday 28th April
The Dr. H. Y. Mok Charitable Foundation lecture on export ceramics sponsored by Edwin Mok
5:45 pm for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Prof. Dr. Christiaan Jorg
Aspects of Export Ceramics

Tuesday 16th June
AGM, lecture and reception
AGM starts at 5:30 pm followed by lecture and food and drinks reception
Dr. Edward Luper, Chinese Art, Bonhams
Art Objects and Nostalgia in the ‘Dream of the Red Mansions’ 

Tuesday 13th October
Rachel Peat, Assistant Curator in non-European works of art at the Royal Collections Trust
Most significant Japanese ceramics in the Royal Collection

Monday 2nd November
Asia Week lecture
Professor LV Chenglong, Deputy Director of the Antiquities Department at the Palace Museum, Beijing
Excavations and research of the Palace Museum into Chinese ceramics

OCS Asia Week lecture
Tuesday 10th November
Lu, Pengliang, Associate Curator of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Later Chinese Bronzes

Tuesday 8th December
The Sir Michael Butler Memorial Lecture sponsored by Katharine and Charles Butler
5:45 pm for 6:15 pm with welcome drinks sponsored by Woolley & Wallis
Helen Glaister on “Collecting in Public and Private: The Ionides Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain, 1920-1970.”  

Link to Previous Lectures