Online public lecture: The Mechanics of Change: The Aesthetics of Chinese Ceramics in the Northern Song (960-1127) and Early Jin (1127-1234) Dynasties by Prof. Dr. Sabrina Rastelli

Alina Martimyanova's picture

Dear colleagues, 

We warmly invite everyone who is interested in Chinese ceramics to attend this online public lecture organized by the Section for East Asian Art at the University of Zurich:

The Mechanics of Change: The Aesthetics of Chinese Ceramics in the Northern Song (960-1127) and Early Jin (1127-1234) Dynasties
Prof. Dr. Sabrina Rastelli (Ca'Foscari University)

Friday, 11th December 2020, 18:15–19:15

Song dynasty (960-1279) ceramics are often considered the most accomplished in the history of this material in China, although in recent years the market has favoured later wares produced at Jingdezhen for the imperial house of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) periods. Song manufacture was indeed impressive in terms of quality, variety and quantity, as reported in many literary documents written over the centuries by eager connoisseurs and confirmed by archaeological excavations carried out since the 1950s. The approach adopted in this paper rests mainly on archaeological data, that is, it will analyse production in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries relying on excavated evidence to understand the mechanics of aesthetic change. For too long the appreciation of Song wares and the interpretation of archaeological results have been subordinated to scholarly writings, which can offer some guidance but are not consistent. Song records are scarce and tend to be rather concise; Ming and Qing texts are more numerous, but less reliable, as the time gap is wider and rather than reflecting the appreciation of ceramics in the Song dynasty, they mirror the admiration that later connoisseurs had for Song wares – or what they thought was Song. As such, it is a very interesting phenomenon, worth studying in relation to appreciation and collecting in the Ming and Qing dynasties, but it should no longer be applied to interpret Song ceramics.

Sabrina Rastelli is Associate Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, in the Department of Asian and North-African Studies, where she has been teaching since 1999. Her research interests range from ceramics to art history, funerary art and contemporary art. Recently she has focused on Song dynasty ceramics, particularly their aesthetics and the concept of the five famous wares; she has published the first of two volumes on the history of Chinese art (“L’arte cinese I. Dalle origini alla dinastia Tang [Chinese art I. From the origin to the Tang dynasty]”, 2016); she is consultant of the Treccani Institute (editor of the Italian Encyclopaedia of Sciences, Letters and the Arts founded in 1925) for the Chinese section of the new encyclopaedia on 20th century world art which will be published in Spring 2021.

The lecture will be held in English, is open to the public, and will take place online via Zoom. No registration is required. To attend the lecture, click here  
>> link:

In case of questions, please contact the Section for East Asian Art History: or refer to the website of the Section for East Asian Art (Institute of Art History, University of Zurich):