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West Lake and the Representation of an Iconic Place

Hui-shu Lee

Chinese Art, University of California Los Angeles

Friday, October 13th

2pm Thomson Hall 317 

By focusing on a lengthy painting titled Panorama of Hangzhou on West Lake in the collection of the Freer Gallery, a detailed visual documentation of the splendor of the Southern Song (1126-1279) imperial capital Lin’an (present-day Hangzhou) as seen from the most celebrated Chinese viewpoint, West Lake, this talk will contextualize said image as Les Lieux de Mémoire (Site of Memory) and reflect on how the visual paradigm of West Lake established, transmitted, proliferated, and witnessed the splendor of Renaissance in the 18th Century Qianlong era and beyond. 

Hui-shu Lee received her doctorate degree from Yale University in 1994 after first studying at National Taiwan University and working in the National Palace Museum. Her field of specialization is Chinese painting and visual culture in the pre-modern era, with a particular focus on gender issues. She also works extensively on representations of place, cultural mapping, and garden culture. Among her publications are Exquisite Moments: West Lake & Southern Song Art (New York: China Institute, 2001) and Empresses, Art, and Agency in Song Dynasty China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010). She is currently working on two book projects: transference of gender persona in Chinese painting and representations of West Lake in visual culture of the post-Song era.