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The Mactaggart Art Collection Lecture Series

Visualizing China’s Imperial Order (1500-1800)


Session 4: “Costume in Ming-Qing Daily Life”


Saturday, July 16, 2016

10:00 am – 11:00 am 

Location: University of Alberta Museums Galleries at Enterprise Square - Idea Lounge

Guest Speakers: Prof. Huang-lam Chu  朱鴻林 (Hong Kong Polytechnic, Hong Kong, China)

Session is Full

Ancestor Portraits and Spirit Tablets in Ritual Veneration

Abstract

This presentation is about the historical argument over the use of portraits and the wooden spirit tablets in rituals venerating ancestors in China, including especially the occasions of making sacrificial offerings to the ancestors in ancestor halls on commemorative days and festivals, and present-day expressions of the argument in localities in mainland China and Hong Kong. Drawing on primary sources from different forms of writings in imperial times as well as data collected from recent fieldwork in the cities of Donguan and Shenzhen and in the New Territories area of Hong Kong, the presentation seeks to see how ancestor spirit tablets appear variously as costume-like objects which inform important aspects of the ancestors the tablets represent and the families they belong to. While showing how ritual protocols once state-sanctioned and officially promoted were differently understood and observed, it will also locate universals in the chaos of veneration expressions as practiced by Chinese in late imperial and modern times.

Biography

朱鴻林教授,美國普林斯頓大學博士,中國近世歷史文化學者,主要研究領域為明 代思想及政治、社會史,宋明理學經典及明人文集,近刊論著包括《朱鴻林明史研 究系列》五種(北京三聯2015-16)。現任香港理工大學人文學院院長、香港孔子 學院院長、鄺美雲文化及藝術教授、中國文化講座教授,長江學者講座教授。曾獲 頒香港中文大學校長模範教學獎、香港大學教育資助委員會/研究資助局傑出人文 及社會科學研究獎。朱教授為香港中文大學聯合書院資深導師。

Professor Huang-lam Chu is a scholar of the history and culture of late imperial China. His research includes the intellectual, social and political history of that period, particularly of the Ming, Neo-Confucian classics, and literary collections by Ming authors. His recent publications include a 5-volume collection on Ming history researches (Zhu Honglin mingshi yanjiu xilie by Sanlian/Joint Publishers in Beijing). Professor Chu earned his 1984 Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. He is currently Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Director of the Confucius Institute of Hong Kong, Cally Kwong Mei Wan Professor in Culture and Art, and Chair Professor of Chinese Culture at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, as well as a Chang Jiang Scholars Chair Professor of Pre-modern Chinese History. He is recipient of a Chinese University of Hong Kong Vice- Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award and a Hong Kong UGC/RGC Prestigious Fellowship for Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Chu is Senior College Tutor of United College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

11:30 – 12:30 pm 

Location: University of Alberta Museums Galleries at Enterprise Square - Idea Lounge

Guest Speaker: Prof. Chuan-hui Mau 毛傳慧 (National Tsing-hua University, Taiwan)

Session is Full

Beyond the Imperial Clothing Instructions: Female Dresses in Early Qing China

Abstract

Immediately after taking over China, Emperor Shunzhi (r. 1643-1661) ordered the Han-Chinese male population to take part in the Manchu hairstyle tradition of shaving part of the head and keeping the remainder in a plait. In order to assure a peaceful reign, however, Han-Chinese women were allowed to keep their own traditional dress and hair styles. At the same time, Manchu women were prohibited from dressing like their Han-Chinese counterparts.

In 1646, the Emperor issued the imperial clothing instructions regulating the forms, colours, materials and decorative patterns according to the social hierarchy, from the emperor, members of the imperial clan, nobles, and mandarins down to commoners. A woman had to follow the rank either of her father or of her husband, and for a widow, that of her son. During the reigns of Kangxi (1662-1722), Yongzheng (1723-1735), and Qianlong (1736-1795), the clothing instructions were modified, but the rules for women, both Manchu and Han-Chinese, were maintained to keep their ethnic customs and identities.

The clothing instructions seem monotonous, but literary descriptions, paintings, particularly textile collections reveal about the rich colours, motifs, materials and forms of women’s “fashions.” How did these women succeed in creating their fashions in spite of imperial rules? What were the circumstances for the evolution of clothing tastes? These are the questions to be discussed in this presentation.

Biography

Chuan-hui Mau is associate professor at the Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, and an associate member of the laboratory Identités-Cultures-Territoires (ICT, EA 337), and University Paris Diderot – Paris 7. Her academic interest focuses on history of exchanges between China and Europe.

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