Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting (September 25-December 22, 2013)


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Berkeley, CA, August 15, 2013- The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) proudly presents Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting, on view September 25 through December 22, 2013. Featuring nearly thirty works, this exhibition is the first to bring together a genre of Chinese painting known as meiren hua, or paintings of beautiful women. Situating the works within the social and economic contexts of the High Qing period (mid-seventeenth to the late eighteenth century), the exhibition challenges the prevailing opinion that these subjects are high status women-either members of the court or other privileged women. By reading the visual codes embedded in the images, Beauty Revealed instead makes the case that these women are courtesans.

Borrowing seldom-before-utilized techniques from the West, including one-point perspective and heavy opaque colors, the artists, many of them unknown professional painters who painted on demand and for a fee, pursue a realism not previously seen in Chinese painting. Rather than the willowy beauty shown in a garden setting or surrounded by family among luxurious furnishings typical of earlier periods, these paintings generally feature a single, near life-size figure, often in a brazenly unladylike posture. Their garments tend to be low cut and transparent, and their bound feet exposed. For example, the direct gaze of the woman in Putting out the Lamp, addressed to the (presumably male) intended viewer, offers a suggestive undercurrent of greater intimacy, one of the hallmarks of this genre. Other codes of accessibility include the woman's relaxed posture with right leg drawn up under left, the open sleeves that reveal her arms, and the highly stylized extension of her right hand in a controlled gesture reaching to snuff out the light. Her expression engages the audience in a way never before seen in Chinese figure painting.

The backdrops further draw viewers into the women's world, conveying significant information about their wealth, taste, learning, and accomplishments. The women are depicted surrounded by everyday objects packed with erotic symbolism. The art has an immediate impact, inviting viewers to enter and enjoy another world, one perhaps longed for and unattainable.

In addition to several paintings from BAM/PFA's own collection, Beauty Revealed features loans from institutions and private collections from around the U.S. and Europe. It is organized into distinct sections that explore the intimate life of women within the garden, home, bath, and brothel. Curated by Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia M. White in collaboration with UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus James Cahill, the exhibition is accompanied by an exquisitely illustrated catalog with essays by Cahill, White, and noted historian Sarah Handler. The catalog entries are by Chen Fongfong, with contributions by Nancy Berliner and White.

Tours in both Mandarin and English, an illustrated talk by Cahill, a conversation between by Judith Zeitlin (University of Chicago) and Margaret Francesca Rosenthal (University of Southern California) about courtesan cultures in China and Italy, a presentation by Handler on furnishings depicted in the meiren paintings, a performance by internationally renowned musician Wang Fei on the qin instrument, and other related events will provide visitors with additional opportunities to explore and re-evaluate this previously misunderstood genre of Chinese painting.

SupportBeauty Revealed is organized by Senior Curator for Asian Art Julia M. White in collaboration with UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus James Cahill. The exhibition is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; an anonymous foundation; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Sheila Keppel; Jane DeBevoise in honor of Professor James Cahill; Mary Ellen Anderson; the Chan Foundation; Arnold and Jr-jye Chang; Jane R. Lurie; Judy Andrews and Kuiyi Shen in honor of Professor James Cahill; Asian Art Department, Bonhams; Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, in memory of Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson; and the UC Berkeley Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities. The exhibition catalog is made possible by contributions from Sheila Keppel, Grace Chang and Jennifer Chang Chernick, John and Julia Curtis, Hok Pui and Sally Yu Leung, and Howard and Mary Ann Rogers. Special thanks to our media sponsor World Journal.

Public ProgramsSunday, September 29, 2013; 3 p.m.
James Cahill on Meiren Paintings: The Discovery of a Genre
Learn about Qing dynasty paintings of meiren, or beautiful women, in this illustrated talk by UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus James Cahill, who has spent decades discovering and interpreting these enigmatic images.
Included with gallery admission

Sunday, October 6, 2013; 3 p.m.
A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Courtesans: A Conversation with Judith Zeitlin and Margaret Francesca Rosenthal
How do courtesans in Italy and China compare? What might this comparison reveal? University of Chicago's Judith Zeitlin and Margaret Francesca Rosenthal of the University of Southern California examine and compare courtesan culture and its representation in Qing dynasty China and Renaissance Italy.
Included with gallery admission

Saturday, October 19, 2013; 1:30 p.m.
American Sign Language Guided Tour
Expert sign language interpreter Patricia Lessard joins a UC Berkeley graduate student guide for an insightful tour of Beauty Revealed. No reservations required.
Included with gallery admission

Sunday, October 27, 2013; 2 p.m.
Guided Tour in Mandarin
Join a guided tour of Beauty Revealed in Mandarin with BAM/PFA J.S. Lee Memorial Fellow Chen Fongfong, a graduate student in art history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Included with gallery admission

Sunday, November 3, 2013; 3:30
Musical Performance on the Qin by Wang Fei
Internationally noted qin performer, scholar and teacher Wang Fei offers a recital on this classical Chinese instrument in the intimate surround of Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese paintings. Wang, founder and director of the North American Guqin Association, teaches guqin and guzheng in UC Berkeley's Department of Music.
Included with gallery admission

Friday, November 22, 2013; time to be determined
In tribute to James Cahill's fundamental insights regarding Chinese experiments with perspectival representation during the late-imperial period, the Institute for East Asian Studies will host a symposium on perspective in Chinese painting to accompany Beauty Revealed.

Participants will include Eugene Wang, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, History of Art & Architecture, Harvard University; Richard Vinograd, Christensen Fund Professor in Asian Art, Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University; and Nancy Berliner, Curator of Chinese Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Free admission

September 26 through December 22, 2013; Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Guided Tours
Meet in the Bancroft lobby for guided tours of Beauty Revealed led by UC Berkeley graduate students from History of Art and East Asian Languages and Cultures. No reservations required. See the online calendar ( for the complete schedule, including additional tours on October 4 and 5.
Included with gallery admission

CatalogBeauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting
Essays by James Cahill, Sarah Handler, and Julia M. White
Published by UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Distributed by D.A.P.
126 pages; 67 color illustrations
Hardcover; $49.50
ISBN 9780971939714
Available in the Museum Store in September 2013

About BAM/PFAFounded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley's primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA's mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”

BAM/PFA presents approximately fifteen art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum's collection of over 16,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive of over 14,000 films and videos includes the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.

Museum InformationLocation: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue across from the UC Berkeley campus.

Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Open L@TE Fridays until 9 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Gallery admission: $10 adults (18-64); $7 non-UC Berkeley students, seniors (65+), disabled persons, and young adults (13-17); free for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff, and retires, and children (12 & under).
Galleries are open for free to the public on the first Thursday of each month.

Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.


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Beauty About to Bathe, eighteenth century; hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk; 61 × 34¼ in.; private collection: Ferdinand M. Bertholet, Amsterdam.九月二十五至十二月二十二,二零一三


加州伯克利 2013年8月15日-- 加州大學伯克利分校美術館和太平洋電影文獻庫(BAM/PFA)榮譽呈獻,紅妝麗影:中國清代美人圖, 展期由9月25日至12月22日。這是首個展覽, 集中展出稱為“美人圖“的描繪女子形象的中國繪畫作品,數量近30件。一般認為,這些畫作所描繪的女性社會地位較高,是宮廷婦女或女性權貴。將這些作品置於盛清時期(十七世紀中至十八世紀末)的社會及經濟背景下解讀,這個展覽企圖挑戰原有的理解, 畫作中的視覺符號揭示, 所描繪的女子大多為名妓的形象,這一發現將打開審視和理解這一畫科的新視角。

借鑒了之前甚少使用的西方技法,如嘗試一點透視法和厚重的不透明色,這些繪畫的作者,大多為無名職業畫師,受雇於人而畫畫謀生, 他們在 畫面營造中國繪畫中前所未見的寫實主義。這些畫作所描繪的,既不是在花園裡的婀娜女子,又不像早期典型畫作那樣,女子置身於豪華裝潢之中而被家庭成員簇擁著,畫中描繪的是單個接近真人大小的形象,通常明目張膽地擺出並不淑女的姿勢。例如,在熄燈美人圖中,美人直視著擬定觀眾(很有可能是男性),釋放出暗示進一步親密的挑逗訊號,這也是這一繪畫類別的標誌特徵。其他寓意著可親近訊息的意象還包括她悠閒放鬆的姿態,她的右腿迭于左腿之上,敞開的袖口裡露出她的手臂,她極其風格化的右手為了熄滅燈光而矜持地伸向前。她的神姿以一種特別的方式吸引著觀眾,而這在之前的中國人物畫中是見所未見的。


除了加州大學伯克利分校美術館和太平洋電影文獻庫館藏的八幅作品之外,紅妝麗影展通過租賃聚集了來自美國各地甚至歐洲的不同機構和私人收藏中的作品。這次展覽劃分了幾個部份,分別呈現了女性在花園中,在家裡,在浴室裡和在青樓中的私密生活。紅妝麗影展覽由亞洲藝術資深策展人白珠麗(Julia White)和加州大學伯克利分校名譽教授高居翰(James Cahill)共同策劃。 此次展覽圖錄收錄高居翰(James Cahill),韓蕙(Sarah Handler),及白珠麗(Julia White)撰寫的文章。圖片說明由陳芳芳(Chen Fong fong)及楠希·白靈安((Nancy Berliner)、白珠麗共同完成.

本次展覽將提供英語及普通話導覽,高居翰(James Cahill)教授主持講座,芝加哥大學蔡九迪教授(Judith Zeitlin)與南加州大學羅森塔爾教授(Margaret Francesca Rosenthal)將共同探討中國及義大利的青樓文化,韓蕙(Sarah Handler)教授將以美人圖中描繪的傢俱為主題演講,世界知名音樂演奏家王菲(Wang Fei)將撫琴演奏。配合展覽的其他活動亦將為觀眾帶來探索和重新審視美人圖的機會,以消除對此類繪畫的誤解。

贊助紅妝麗影展覽由亞洲藝術資深策展人白珠麗和加州大學伯克利分校名譽教授高居翰共同策劃。此次展覽的部分資金來源於國家藝術基金;匿名基金;羅茲及李奧娜基金會 (the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation); 希拉吉寶(Sheila Keppel);瑪麗埃倫·安德森(Mary Ellen Anderson);Chan基金會(the Chan Foundation);Arnold and Jr-jye Chang; Jane R. Lurie; Judy Andrews and Kuiyi Shen in honor of Professor James Cahill; 寶龍拍賣行 (Bonhams)亞洲藝術部; Fred Levin and Nancy Livingston,The Shenson Foundation in memory of Ben and Jess Shenson;以及加州大學伯克利分校湯森人文中心 (Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.)。感謝展覽圖錄的贊助者Grace Chang 、Jennifer Chang Chernick、John 、 Julia Curtis、Hok Pui 、Sally Yu Leung、Howard 以及Mary Ann Rogers. 特別鳴謝我們的合作媒體 北美世界日報(World Journal).

公開活動2013年9月29日,周日; 3 p.m.
高居翰(James Cahill) 談美人圖:發現一種畫科
加州大學伯克利分校榮譽教授高居翰先生(James Cahill)將深入探討中國清代美人圖。高居翰先生(James Cahill)用數十年的時間探索和研究這些難以詮釋的繪畫作品。

2013年10月6日,周日;3 p.m.
跨文化視角下的名妓: 蔡九迪(Judith Zeitlin) 與卡羅森塔爾(Margaret Francesca Rosenthal) 對話
中國與義大利的青樓女子有何不同?這樣的對比將揭示什麼?芝加哥大學蔡九迪(Judith Zeitlin)教授將與南加州大學卡羅森塔爾(Margaret Francesca Rosenthal)教授,共同探討和比較中國清代及義大利文藝復興時期的青樓文化。

2013年10月19日,週六;1:30 p.m.
專業手語導覽由加州大學伯克利分校研究生派特麗夏(Patricia Lessard) 負責,對紅妝麗影展覽進行深入講解。無需預約。

2013年12月27日,周日;2 p.m.
普通話導覽由加州大學伯克利藝術博物館及太平洋電影文獻庫(BAM/PFA) 利榮森紀念交流計劃訪問學人陳芳芳(Chen Fongfong)負責,陳芳芳是香港中文大學中國藝術史專業的研究生。

國際知名古琴演奏家、學者和教師王菲(Wang Fei),將在明清繪畫的環繞下,演奏古代中國樂器。王菲是北美古琴協會的創始人,加州大學伯克利分校音樂系古琴及古箏老師。

2013年11月22日,週五; 時間待定
基於高居翰(Cames Cahill's)教授對中國明清時期畫家實驗透視法的卓越先見,東亞研究將就中國繪畫中呈現的透視問題,舉辦專題座談會。

美國哈佛大學亞洲藝術, 藝術史與建築學系汪悅進(Eugene Wang)教授; 斯坦福大學藝術及藝術史系文以誠(Richard Vinograd)教授;以及波士頓美術館亞洲藝術策展人楠希·白靈安(Nancy Berliner)女士將參與此次座談會。

2013年9月26日到12月22日,週四12:15 p.m,周日 2 p.m.
展覽導覽由加州大學大學伯克利分校藝術史及東亞文化系的研究生負責。無需預約。具體時間安排請查看官網 (,包括10月 4號和5號的導覽。

圖錄收錄高居翰(James Cahill),韓蕙(Sarah Handler),及白珠麗(Julia White)撰寫的文章。
ISBN 9780971939714

關於BAM/PFA加州大學伯克利分校美術館和太平洋電影文獻庫(BAM/PFA) 建於1963年,是加州大學伯克利分校主要的視覺藝術場館,也是全美規模最大,受眾最多的大學美術館之一。藝術及電影項目受到國際認可,BAM/PFA 提供了一個文化交流體驗的平臺,促進個人提升,加強社區參與,推進區域,全國及世界各種與藝術和創意相關的話題討論。BAM/PFA的使命是“通過藝術和電影激發想像,啟發理性對話”。


參觀資訊地址: 2626 Bancroft Way, 臨近加州大學

Posted by admin on August 15, 2013