Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Tents as a Filter of Cultural Transformation: The Imperial Institutions of Art Productions in the Song-Yuan Transition

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Willow, First Floor

The Mongol conquest of China in the 13th century was a cataclysmic event for the arts. A fundamental shift in the cultural order followed, and the Chinese imperial language of visual and material culture experienced a complete transformation. For instance, the Mongol rulers constructed a new system of art production, which completely subverted the hierarchies of media and materials with which their Chinese subjects would have been most familiar. New theorizations of image making emerged, which demonstrated the radical departure from the Chinese tradition, either through negation or disengagement. This paper analyzes the shifts that the art-making institutions went through under the Yuan court’s leadership. In doing so, it explores various ways in which the Mongol imperial family could intervene in the history of Chinese art. The Mongol rulers were sensitive to the global dimension of their empire, incorporating artistic traditions from different corners of their state. At the same time, they constantly sustained explicit assumptions and preferences that were derived from their roots in the pastoral nomadic lifeway.

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