Art Historical Fiction or Fictional Art History: Zhang Taijie, Baohui lu, and the Literary Making of the Past

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12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Dr J.P. Park (Oxford)
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In 1634, Zhang Taijie published a woodblock edition of A Record of Treasured Paintings (C. Baohui lu), an extensive record of his private painting collection. This book could be a very useful resource for historians of Chinese art as it provides accounts of many paintings by artists whose works are no longer existent. There is only one, major problem: the book is a forgery. But Zhang did not stop there: he also forged paintings to match the records in the volume. This paper asks how he was able to pull this off, and at a deeper level examines the historical and analytical irregularities that have been institutionalized in the study of Chinese art. This paper suggests to view forgeries of early modern China as a site of conflict and negotiation in the production and consumption of art invisibly shared between different social groups.

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J.P. Park's primary research focuses on early modern Chinese and Korean art, but he has also researched and published on a much wider spectrum of art historical topics, including print culture, cartography, literary criticism, and post-globalism in contemporary East Asian art. He is the author of 1) A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850) (University of Washington Press, 2018), 2) Art by the Book: Painting Manuals and the Leisure Life in Late Ming China (University of Washington Press, 2012), and 3) Keeping It Real!:Korean Artists in the Age of Multi-Media Representation (Workroom, 2012) as well as numerous articles on East Asian art and literature featured in major field journals such as Art Bulletin, Artibus Asiae, Archives of Asian Art, Orientations, and Third Text. He is currently completing a new book project, Reinventing Art History: Forgery and Counterforgery in Early Modern Chinese Art.