SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Jennifer Chih-Chieh Chang

BSc (CUHK), MPhil (CUHK)
  • Research

Overview

Jennifer Chang
Name:
Jennifer Chih-Chieh Chang
Email address:
Thesis title:
Intertextual Presentation of Individuality in Qing Biography Landscape: A Reinvention of Ming Wu School Sobriquet Painting (working title)
Year of Study:
1
Internal Supervisors

Biography

Jennifer Chih-Chieh Chang is a PhD researcher in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, under the supervision of Prof. Shane McCausland. Supported by Bei Shan Tang Scholarship, her doctoral research focuses on 19th-century Chinese literati landscape paintings in Suzhou. She is interested in the intertextual presentation of individuality seen in texts and images. While studying her MPhil degree in history of Chinese art at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), she was involved in two exhibition projects hosted by The Art Museum on-site, gaining first-hand research experience and writing catalogue entries for a dozen of objects, including calligraphy, painting, and jade. She also holds a BSc in cell and molecular biology, two gold medals of International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, and publications in biomedical engineering. Currently, she is conducting fieldwork in various institutes in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and US.

PhD Research

This project intends to identify, define, and analyse a new subtype of commemorative landscape, biography landscape, which has not yet been established in the academic discourse. Mounted as handscrolls, these artworks are consisted of landscape paintings attached with voluminous inscriptions dedicated to a certain individual, usually an official or intellectual, functioning similarly as a piece of biography. Based on the pilot study of 20 samples, many biography landscapes have a Suzhou origin, dated from mid-18th to mid-19th century. There are several critical research questions to be investigated, including the presentation, origins, commission, circulation, and function of these artworks. Their overall artistic style and content suggest reminiscence to sobriquet painting made by Wu School painters during 15th to 17th century. Are they really correlated? What may have been the implication behind such association? My hypothesis is that Qing commissioners may have attempted to use biography landscape as an instrument for promoting personal image and social status. Through reinventing the previous model into a self-defining index, they were making references to the celebrated Ming literati. Enriched with image and text, these biography landscapes, together with other relevant literature, impression, and imagination, form an intertextual meshwork from which agency thrives. The cultural significance of biography landscape shall not only be viewed within the scope of art history, but also be set in the dynamic social landscape, considering its role and participation in the 19th-century Chinese intellectual community.

Publications

  • 5 catalogue entries in The Late Ming Material Culture (Upcoming)
  • 6 catalogue entries in The Bei Shan Tang Legacy: Chinese Painting

Conferences

  • AAS-in-Asia 2020 (Upcoming)

Research

  • Chinese literati painting
  • Chinese literati calligraphy
  • Cultural and social history of late imperial China