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Portrait-Objects: Amoy Chinqua and the Early 18th Century Export Clay Portrait

Thursday Lecture Series, Ambivalence

dateMay 6, 2021 timeThursday, 12:30pm EDT locationVirtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Amoy Chinqua, Figure of a European Merchant, 1719, polychome unfired clay and wood

Some of the more unusual artifacts to emerge from the flood of export products made in China for a vast foreign market, includes the painted unfired clay portraits of European merchants made by Chinese artisans. Produced from the beginning of the eighteenth century through the first half of the nineteenth century, these curious objects occupy a territory between throwaway novelty, polished craft, and purported portrait, between representation and simulacrum. The interesting ambiguity of these portrait-objects corresponds to their status as transnational products serving multiple purposes for their makers and customers. This talk will focus on the works of the earliest known maker of such portraits, the Chinese artisan Amoy Chinqua (active 1716-20), and the origins and logic of the export clay portrait.

Speaker: Roberta Wue, UC Irvine
Associate Professor of Art History

Please note that registering for this event will sign you up for the entire Thursday Lecture Series for the Spring 2021 semester.

Organized by SOF Fellow Tingting Xu.

Talks in this series will be followed by discussion, including a Q&A session with the audience.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.

Photo Caption: Amoy Chinqua, Figure of a European Merchant, 1719, polychome unfired clay and wood, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Louis V. Bell, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, and Rogers Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and several members of The Chairman's Council Gifts, 2014.569