The Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series

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The Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series


October 2015 – July 2016

The University of Alberta Museums with the generous support of the Mactaggart Fund is proud to present the inaugural Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series, Visualizing China's Imperial Order (1500-1800). This free lecture series features an international gathering of speakers and focuses on a time period when China underwent dynamic external and internal challenges to the imperial order. Historical changes in this period resulted in new regulations and structures, set however against a background of an apparent continuity of traditions. These historical changes have left their marks in historical records, but they have also done so on material objects.

Every material object has a story to tell, allowing us to make connections between it and the people who made, saw, or used it. Instead of turning solely to historical texts that have been the main resources for scholars of literature, the speakers in this series will explore China’s patterns of order and disorder by examining tangible items such as costumes, textiles, utensils, furniture, paintings, and other artifacts. This lecture series will feature objects from The Mactaggart Art Collection, which contains costumes, textiles and paintings dating from 1300 to 1911, and is a rich resource ideally suited to this experimental exploration of China’s imperial order.

The Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series consists of four sessions, each containing 3-4 lectures plus a panel discussion / debate in public. Fourteen leading scholars of late imperial Chinese history from over the world will share with the public their historical readings of individual items in the Mactaggart Art Collection.


Session 1: “Making China’s Imperial Order” – October 29 – 31, 2015 - Photos

Session 2: “Making Order Visible” – February 25 – 27, 2016 

Session 3: “Expanding China’s Imperial Order” – March 17 – 19, 2016 

Session 4: “Costume in Ming-Qing Daily Life” – July 16, 2016 

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The Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series organizing committee:

Janine Andrews – Executive Director - University of Alberta Museums

Dr. Timothy Brook – University of British Columbia

Dr. Lianbin Dai – University of Alberta – Postdoctoral Fellow