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SOAS scholar advises on paintings and politics in China for BBC’s Culture Show

17 October 2013

Dr Shane McCausland, Reader in the History of Art of China at SOAS, University of London acted as a consultant for BBC Two’s Culture Show on the painting and politics in China.

The scholar advised on the imperial painting academy under the late Northern Song artist-emperor Huizong (r.1100-1125), the rise of scholar painting and the aesthetic schism between court and scholar communities around 1100, and the values underlying the use of colour or monochrome media in later painting history.

Dr McCausland is due to appear on the show on 23 October talking about this history of Chinese painting, focusing on the V&A ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700-1900’. He has also written an essay for the exhibition’s catalogue on ‘Categories, genres and subjects in Chinese painting history’ which will be available at the show.

Shane McCausland pic

Possibly Emperor Huizong, Auspicious Cranes, about 1112, Liaoning Provincial Museum. © The Liaoning Provincial Museum Collection


Dr McCausland said: “It is a real positive that the BBC's Culture Show has chosen to focus on one of the world's great traditions of painting with this programme based on the 'masterpieces of Chinese painting' exhibition at the V&A opening soon. While the exhibition is the work of one curator, drawing on the traditional canon of art history boosted by some of the medieval Buddhist paintings in European collections, the programme affords the opportunity for scholars to contextualise some of the dominant themes of China's art history from the perspective of the contemporary discipline and as China's global stature grows.”

‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700-1900’ opens 26 October 2013– 19 January 2014 - more info.