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浮世清音 Transcending Transience(一套三冊)

晚明江南藝術與文化 Art and Culture of Late-Ming Jiangnan

Project Director: James C. Y. Watt; Curators and Editors: Maggie C. K. Wan & Jiang Fangting


English, Chinese , 2021/03 Art Museum, CUHK, Department of Fine Arts and Art Museum, CUHK

Tags: Art, Chinese Art

300 x 210 mm , 908pp ISBN : 978-988-19493-5-6

  • US$108.00


In Stock

Produced for the exhibition Transcending Transience: Art and Culture of Late-Ming Jiangnan, the current catalogue is directed by James C.Y. Watt, edited by Maggie C.K. Wan and Jiang Fangting, and features essays and entries written by researchers of the Art Museum and alumni of the Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Seven or eight decades prior to the demise of the Ming Empire, the Jiangnan area was no doubt blessed with prosperity, offering its inhabitants pleasures and luxuries like never before. Facets of this privileged existence can be glimpsed from the fine works and objects of art that define the period. Featuring over 200 objects from the period, the publication invites contemplation on the people and their possessions in a golden age that was the late Ming in a cultural and social context.

The lifestyles and cultural activities of the late-Ming middle class are spotlighted in this catalogue. The late-Ming middle class was a heterogeneous group that included artisans, merchants, rich farmers, well-born ladies, famous courtesans, literary leaders, playwrights, poets, thinkers, collectors and professional painters. These were the people who found themselves face to face with a dysfunctional government and little prospect in joining the civil service on the one hand, and a prosperous Jiangnan area, an extravagant consumer culture, an explosion of thoughts and ideas and relatively high social mobility on the other. They succeeded in establishing their unique cultural and social identity by taking everyday objects seriously, readjusting their activities and outlook, and innovating the themes and techniques of their works. Ever growing in number and attaching importance to things and the self, these city dwellers became a driving force behind the mass production of exquisite objects and distinctive art. What are included in this catalogue were created either by them or for them to give expression to their cultural aspirations.

The catalogue includes an introduction and three thematic essays. Under the five sections, namely “Obsessing with the Quotidian”, “Asserting One’s Individuality”, “Escaping through Art and Buddhism”, “Living in Elegance for Serenity” and “Putting China on the World Map”, there are 200 entries introducing exquisite works of art from the Shanghai Museum, public and private collections in Hong Kong, as well as overseas museums. 

James C. Y. Watt is Curator Emeritus of the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He is also the Director of the research and exhibition project “Transcending Transience: Art and Culture of Late-Ming Jiangnan”. He was the Founding Director of the Art Museum, former Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and the first J. S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He served as Curator at the Department of Asiatic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, before working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he assumed the chairmanship of the department in 2000. He curated a number of major exhibitions. Ground-breaking ones include The Chinese Scholar’s Studio: Artistic Life in the Late Ming Period (1987), When Silk was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles in the Metropolitan and Cleveland Museums of Art (1998), China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 A.D. (2004-2005), The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty (2010-2011). 


Maggie C. K. Wan is Associate Professor and Head of Graduate Division of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She is also the curator of the research and exhibition project “Transcending Transience: Art and Culture of Late-Ming Jiangnan”. She obtained her B.A. from the Department of Fine Arts, CUHK, and her D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. Her research interests focus on material culture of the Ming and Qing periods, history of Chinese ceramics and Daoist art. She received the Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education and the Young Researcher Award, CUHK. Her publications include “Grotto-heaven in West Park: Daoist Motifs on Jiajing Imperial Porcelains”, “Research on the Edition, Formation, and Images of the Frontispieces to the Daozang” and “Image of Song-Style Brocade: Honeycomb Octagonal Pattern on Canton Enamels and Export Porcelain of the 18th Century”.


Jiang Fangting, whose scholarly interests includes traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy as well as connoisseurship and history of collecting, received her Ph. D. in History of Chinese Art from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2017. From 2017 to 2020, she embarked on a curatorial career as Postdoctoral Fellow at the university’s Art Museum, where she made contribution to the research and exhibition project “Transcending Transience: Art and Culture of Late-Ming Jiangnan” and its accompanying publication and programming. During this period, she also participated in co-teaching in the University’s Department of Fine Arts. She is currently Associate Curator of the Hong Kong Palace Museum.

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