China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The catalyst for this panel is an upcoming exhibition on Ming painter Qiu Ying (ca. 1495–1552), opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2020. Qiu Ying is one of the most celebrated and misunderstood painters in Chinese history. Eluding classification, Qiu’s oeuvre has mesmerized and confounded art historians for over four centuries, not only for his uncanny versatility and technical virtuosity, but also for the profusion of copies and forgeries that flooded the markets already in his own time. The silence enveloping the painter in official histories leaves a host of unresolved questions. Through Qiu’s enigmatic figure, this panel addresses broader curatorial and art historical issues of connoisseurship, artistic production in the Ming, and cultural exchange across socioeconomic divides. Individual papers reflect on Qiu Ying’s contemporaneous reception as a gauge for his creative freedom and restrictions (Einor Cervone), tease out unlikely influences in the artist’s style and brushwork (Wan Kong), and will take his magnum opus, Spring Morning in the Han Palace, as a case study in examining the role of playfulness in the creative process (Yeewan Koon) and the translation of poetic traditions into the visual (Wen-mei Hsu). We introduce the backstage of the curatorial research process for this ambitious exhibition and invite participants to engage in dialogue about the challenges of chronologizing, authentication and its implications, and the conceptual formulation of the artist as a historical figure. This intersection of the museum and academic spheres ultimately converges on the conundrum that is Qiu Ying.