China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

(74) Overturning Old Ideas about Yuan Architecture

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Washington Room 1, Exhibit Level

The four papers of this panel explore how longstanding ideas about Yuan architecture, and thereby China under Mongol rule, can be overturned by 21st century discoveries, methodologies, and perspectives. The first two papers examine Yuan tombs that have become known in recent years. Steinhardt argues that despite the burial goods that point to a Chinese tomb occupant, the brick, dome-on-square structure and location identify a tomb as Muslim and for Yuan-period royalty. With a focus on actual burial structure and painted or carved building motifs, Lin’s paper reconsiders how a presumably enclosed and cohesive burial space was “deconstructed” in the Yuan period, and he then explains what a different conception of tombs the new construction reveals. Zuo turns to anthropological studies of contemporary vernacular timber architecture and exposes a technological regression that existed in Yuan architecture due, she argues, to social and economic causes. Yu investigates Xia Yong, a painter who takes architecture as his subjects and turns buildings into two-dimensional representations, to show how a Yuan artist redefined Song-period representations of architecture. This panel intentionally chooses four kinds of architecture—the brick structure, underground burial, timber-frame structure, and representations on silk—to explore the topic in the widest possible way. By challenging generally accepted views of these four manifestations of Yuan architecture, we seek to pose and suggest answers for questions about art, architecture and craftsmanship during the Yuan dynasty.

Presentations:

Nancy Steinhardt

University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

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Lala Zuo

United States Naval Academy, Maryland

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Nancy Steinhardt

University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

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Nancy Steinhardt

University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

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Wei-cheng Lin

University of Chicago, Illinois

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Lala Zuo

United States Naval Academy, Maryland

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Leqi Yu

University of Pennsylvania, California

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Keith Wilson

Freer/Sackler Galleries of Art, Smithsonian Institution, District of Columbia

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