Monday, 10 December 2012

The Printed Image in China

The Printed Image In China: A British Museum Collection and Its History
A lecture by Clarissa von Spee, curator Chinese and Central Asian collections, Department of Asia of The British Museum  held on May 11, 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Delve into the history of printing and papermaking—invented in China centuries before it was known in Europe—and gain further insight into The Printed Image in China, 8th--21st Century, an exhibition presenting over 130 Chinese prints from the British Museum's comprehensive collection. Works discussed include Buddhist prints from the Silk Road, colorful images used in folk rituals and festivals, imperial engravings, antiwar images from the Modern Woodcut Movement, and internationally acclaimed contemporary prints. 

Part of the exhibition held from May 5- July 29, 2012 at the MET

The Printed Image in China, 8th–21st Century
The exhibition was organized by the British Museum with the support of the American Friends of the British Museum.

Selected Artworks

The Printed Image in China, 8th–21st Century

May 5–July 29, 2012

Accompanied by a catalogue
According to current scholarship, printing on paper was invented in China about 700 A.D., making China the country with the longest history of printing in the world. The capacity for multiple duplications and the affordable price of the printed image have long made it an effective medium for mass communication in various cultural contexts.
A vehicle for disseminating the Buddhist faith and shaping its evolving canon in China, pictorial prints assumed a major role in folk rituals and festivals as their subject matter expanded to include auspicious or protective imagery. Printing grew into a significant art form in the early seventeenth century, when an affluent urban populace became avid consumers of culturally sophisticated commodities, including elegant prints. Woodblock-printed images have remained a vibrant medium for articulating nationalistic sentiments and sociopolitical commentary through post-dynastic China's periods of revolution and reform. They also reflect the intelligentsia's ambivalence toward Western-dominated modernization in art and society.
Encompassing more than a millennium of imagery and featuring some 130 pictorial prints from the British Museum's outstanding collection, the exhibition illuminates the production techniques, aesthetic principles, and thematic complexities of this distinctive art form.

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