Lecture by Dr. Stanley ABE

During the lecture

 To welcome Dr. Stanley Abe (professor, Duke University, USA), an expert in Chinese art history, as a visiting researcher to the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, the lecture by Dr. ABE was organized under the title of Imagining Chinese Sculpture from 2:00 to 5:30 PM on June 5 (Wed.) in a basement meeting room at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo.
 Dr. ABE’s lecture focused on the fact that the Western concept of “sculpture” did not exist in China until the 19th century. Instead, emphasis was placed on the text that accompanied three-dimensional objects. Tracing the history of this text, Dr. Abe noted that it was valued in different ways and was intended as a gift or treated as an art object. Since the dawn of the modern age, that text gained new value as a work of art when it was collected by Westerners and Japanese who visited China.
 After the lecture, a discussion took place with comments by Dr. TANAKA Shuji (associate professor, Graduate School of Education, Faculty of Education and Welfare Science, Oita University) and OKADA Ken (Head of the Institute’s Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques). The discussion revealed that China and Japan attached different value to three-dimensional objects prior to encountering the Western European concept of “sculpture,” and the social status of the individuals who produced those items also differed. In China, the term “sculpture” strongly connotes an object produced after the dawn of the modern age.
 The discussion brought up topics such as variations not only in the acceptance of Western culture, but also in the modern shaping of the plastic arts, and the historical and economic contexts that led to those variations. The lecture had 48 attendees and was a success.

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