Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Silk Road: Border Crossing (4/4) - duolecture in English

The Hellenistic East

Sculpture and the question of contacts between China and the Hellenistic East

This duo-lecture is English spoken.
This session brings together the worlds of Alexander the Great and
more specifically his Hellenistic legacy with that of the First Emperor of China
and his terracotta army. In this controversial but fascinating encounter, the
audience will be able to look at Qin Shihuangdi’s terracotta army from an
entire new and fresh perspective. The speakers of this session include an
expert on ancient Greek art and a specialist in the art history and archaeology
of China and the Silk Road.
Prof. Judith Barringer (University of Edingburgh) & dr. Lukas Nickel (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
Date and hour
zo 25.01.14   I   10:30 - ca. 13:00 (2 x lecture of 1 hour)
Auditorium, KMKG Jubelparkmuseum, Brussels
€ 8 / € 6 / free for members BIHCS/IBHEC, VED, DC en Per Musea

The Silk Road: Border Crossing
Hellenistic Sculpture East and West: Homogeneity and Diversity
Dr. Judy BARRINGER (The University of Edinburgh)
At the time of Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C., vir- tually the entire known world from Greece eastward was under his command, a patchwork of disparate cultures, languages, religions, terrains, and climates. When the Greek world finally fell under Roman control in 31 B.C., this Hellenistic period (c. 323-31 B.C.) had produced some of the most extraordinary works of sculpture from the ancient Greek world, when variety itself was a field of artistic exploration.
One can trace the stamp of Hellenism - its manifesta- tions, uses, and adaptations to local cultures–but as one moves further east, Greek flavor and style exert a less assertive influence: Hellenism is present but muted in deference to local needs, tastes, and traditions.
Judy Barringer received her Ph.D. in Classical Archae- ology from Yale University in 1990. She holds the position of Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology at the Univer- sity of Edinburgh, where she has been teaching since 2005.
Her scholarly work centers on the archaeology, art, and culture of Greece, particularly the intersection between art, myth, and religion, from the Archaic through Hel- lenistic periods. More specifically, she is interested in why images, particularly sculpture and vase painting, appear as they do and how they acquire meaning for ancient pa- trons and viewers from their physical and social contexts.
Her publications concentrate on vase painting iconol- ogy, myth and religion, social history, and contextual readings of sculpture in both public sanctuaries and pri- vate contexts. She has just finished a textbook, The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece, with Cambridge Uni- versity Press and is currently completing a monograph, A Cultural History of Olympia and its Monuments, c. 600 B.C.-400 A.D.
Sculpture and the question of contacts between China and the Hellenistic East
Dr. Lukas NICKEL (SOAS, University of London)
In 221 BC the western Chinese state of Qin succeeded in conquering the last of several competing polities in East Asia. Its ruler declared himself First Emperor of Qin, Qin Shi Huangdi. The event that was a turning point in his- tory and laid the foundations of China as we know it today.
To mark his achievements the First Emperor designed a new iconography of power. He melted down the weapons of the defeated armies and cast twelve giant bronze sculptures which he placed in front of his palace. Thou- sands more terracotta sculptures of soldiers, acrobats, and officials as well as bronze animals were made to equip the chambers of his gigantic tomb. This paper will examine the extraordinary role sculpture played in the self-presentation of the empire. As it was a new form of art in East Asia, there were no local artistic traditions to draw upon. However, at the time, public and monumental sculpture was widely employed in Central Asia, by the Greek colonies in Bactria and the other successor states to Alexander the Great’s empire. The question arises as to whether the Emperor did find inspiration and skills beyond China’s western borders? The lecture investigates to what extent the emperor’s unprecedented interest in sculpture may be explained by interactions with the con- temporary Hellenistic world.
Lukas Nickel researches the Art History and Archaeo- logy of China and the Silk Road. He has published on Qin and Han funerary art, Bronze Age archaeology, and early Buddhist material culture. Recently he began to concentrate his research on the early interaction between China and wider Asia. Lukas Nickel has taught at Zurich University, University College London, Heidelberg Univer- sity and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He is now reader at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 

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