Patricia Berger: A Passion for Grapes—Thoughts on a Chinese Buddhist Painting


In this lecture UC Berkeley professor Patricia Berger considers Wen Riguan's early fourteenth-century Grapes, one of the most important early Chinese paintings in the BAMPFA collection (on view in Summer Trees Casting Shade). The artist was a well-known Buddhist abbot in the southern city of Hangzhou, equally renowned for a fluid use of the brush and an obsession with grapes. Berger will explore what Wen's focus on grapes tells us about his Buddhist practice and the reception of the painting as it made its way from China to Japan and ultimately to Berkeley.

Berger is a professor in the Department of History of Art at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on art as an instrument of diplomacy in thirteenth to twentieth-century China and Central Asia.