In China, identical sets of figures, serial images, replications in archaic styles, and later copies were produced over a long period of time. New works were provided with ancient inscriptions; old objects could be inscribed anew. In modern times forgeries meant to deceive collectors proliferated. Duplication was integral to the production of sculpture from ancient times to the present. The study of duplication suggests a way to understand the history of Chinese sculpture as more than a series of unique masterpieces. But attention to duplication also raises many questions and issues for further study.
Stanley Abe, associate professor of art and art history at Duke University, will address “Duplication in Chinese Sculpture” when he delivers the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture in Art History on Thursday, March 23, at 4:10 pm in Cohen Hall 203. A reception in the Cohen atrium will follow his lecture.
Abe has published on Chinese Buddhist art, contemporary Chinese art, Asian American art, Abstract Expressionism, and the collecting of Chinese sculpture. He is now writing a narrative account of how Chinese sculpture came into existence as a category of “fine art” during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
He received the Shimada Prize for Ordinary Images (University of Chicago Press, 2002), a richly illustrated book that explores the large body of sculpture, paintings, and other religious imagery produced for China’s common classes from the third to the sixth centuries CE. The Shimada Prize is awarded for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and by The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies in Kyoto, Japan.
Sponsored by the Department of History of Art, the Goldberg Lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall, off 21st Avenue South on the Peabody campus and across from Medical Center East. For more information, call the department at 615.322.2831.
*Buddha, gilt bronze, dated 537, Eastern Wei Dynasty, h. 22 cm, Berenson Art Collection, Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.